How to become a chef in India

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‘Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with complete abandon or not at all.’ An artist’s work is to please the eyes just as a chef’s work is to please the taste buds. The creation of a dedicated, talented chef is no less than painting a portrait. If you love cooking to an extent that you cannot find someone to eat all that you cook if your mother keeps scolding you for hogging the kitchen and making a simple curry in ten different ways, welcome to the club!

There are quite a few types of chefs that you can choose from:

1. Commis chef – works as an assistant or cook that caters to the chef in preparing food. This can be seen as a wonderful opportunity to up your game and improve your cooking skills along with experience and exposure that goes a long, long way.

2. Pastry chef – use icing, different toppings and come up with your own innovative ideas to decorate desserts like pies, cakes and pastries.

3. Chef de Partie – also known as a line cook/station chef, oversees a section of the kitchen like pastry, butchery, vegetables and has other chefs working under him.

4. Bakers Chef – concoct and craft baked foods using their expertise of the right ingredient in the right amount and decorate the dish as well. They work to make quality baked goods appealing.

5. Saucier or Saute Chef – a specialist who oversees the complete process from procurement to delivery, especially of sauces. He also prepares soups and gravy needed for a particular dish.

6. Sous-Chef de cuisine – the under-chef of the kitchen works directly under the head chef. He is the second in command, takes care of specific operations and executes the plan according to the instructions given.

7. Chef De Cuisine or Head Chef – head of the kitchen/master chef not only cooks but also plans the menu, chooses the ingredients, selects and inspects the cooking ration. Decides on food-related issues and supervises the overall process in the kitchen.


Ways to become a chef in India:

Informal Way

It is not pertinent for you to have a formal education to become a chef. This may take a long time but anything is possible with utmost passion and dedication. Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, Rachael Ray are some of the celebrity chefs without having any formal education in the culinary field. To begin with, joining a good restaurant as a commis chef will give you the right exposure, experience and opportunities to become a perfect chef.

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Formal way

India has culinary courses available after higher secondary (12th std) till diploma, degree, and masters. All of these courses are vocational and include compulsory internship/apprenticeship as a part of their curriculum.

Diploma: To get into a good culinary school, a diploma always comes in handy. Even for culinary exposure, employers seek a basic diploma in culinary. A basic diploma after your 12th standard can be a basic step for you to become a chef. Diploma courses may vary from one and a half years to two and a half years, including part-time or full-time, free or paid internships. Some diploma courses are also available after 10th standard like Diploma in-

  • Food Production
  • Diploma in Catering Technology
  • Diploma in Bakery and Confectionery, etc.

Get a degree (BA in Culinary Arts) in culinary arts for three to four years

Post a bachelor’s degree, you can continue with a master’s (MA) in culinary arts. Though formal education is not necessary, this could help you achieve your goals in culinary arts easily. You can pursue degrees like Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts, Bachelor of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, B.Sc. in Hotel Management and Catering Technology, etc.

Getting Practical Exposure Post-Internship

A formal degree is just the beginning of a long journey, your practical work starts with working as a commis chef. It gives you the right kind of exposure under a talented chef and also comes with professional networking opportunities helping you to build a good rapport with colleagues. 

Getting Certified as a Chef

Like a formal degree, certification is not compulsory to be a chef in India but it may add to your growth and help in acquiring important chef positions faster. It also casts up more disciplines and specialities to your profile. A diversified portfolio leads to greater rewards and opportunities.


With the growing popularity of Indian cuisine along with Indian chefs earning prestigious Michelin stars and other recognitions, Indian culinary has created a prominent place on the global culinary map. India has many restaurants started by celebrity chefs have inspired and influenced today’s youth to take up this profession by choice. 

– Aishwarya Ojha 

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