8 Skills That Make You A Chef (or Just About Any Other Biz Leader)

I’ve always had difficulty explaining to friends and family the way in which a smooth, well run kitchen actually operates — there’s a lot of moving parts, and it’s a thing of beauty to watch your team power through a weekend night in such organized chaos. From a distance, I suppose the average restaurant kitchen looks like a bunch of folks doing the same exact thing, almost like an assembly line, but if you actually pay attention, you see that everything is pieced together a certain way for a reason.

You have to be able to cook your ass off to be a chef, but just because you can doesn’t mean that you are one. Like most starting out, I was pretty average when I started working in the kitchen, and over time I got better to the point where I got to be pretty good, and now I’d call myself a great cook… and a chef. Notice, how becoming a chef doesn’t graduate you from being a cook, instead, it compliments it and is part of the repertoire.

So, the real question is — how does a great cook become a chef?

I think a chef is someone who can cook their face off, while at the same time, having the ability to manage, lead and create a successful kitchen operation — restaurant or otherwise. One of the main problems is that the hands on, technical part of the job, which most of us enjoy most, requires a drastically different skill set than the other essential components of the job. So, yes, there are obvious hands on skills and techniques required, but a whole host of others, as well.

Chefs are different than just about every other creative professional, because of the fact that to express our creative vision, we have to manage and put so many other entities in place. We are unlike other artists whose work directly links back to the work they create — a writer, writes — a painter — paints, and an actor — acts. We have a slew of variables that are ever changing that affect what we put out that arr essential to properly manage. With that being said, these are the talents and skills I think you need, if you want to be a chef:

8 Skills That Make You A Chef