A mentor can be invaluable in helping you follow your path and find your place in the culinary world. Experienced mentors can serve as inspiration and help chefs avoid mistakes and bad habits. Many chefs have such good experiences as mentors who also become mentors to future cooks. Escoffier students have access to cooking instructors who often act as mentors to students after they graduate.
They can also access the Escoffier Alumni Association, where fellow graduates offer mentors to each other and share stories and advice. That's why these steps of education, experience, and mentoring will be repeated many times throughout your career. In terms of education, a chef may choose to take a specialized course to expand their knowledge of charcuterie or advanced baking. Or they can read cooking books and watch videos on YouTube to learn new skills.
And for mentoring, there's always someone who knows more than you or has more experience. Your mentors will change and grow along with you throughout your career. Chef training is a delicious activity that lasts a lifetime. While the paths to excellence may vary, they are all a combination of education, experience and mentoring.
Whether you choose to study on the job or start your career with an education at a culinary school, it's simply a matter of how quickly you want to achieve your goals. You can follow one of several paths to become a chef. Many chefs learn their skills on the job. They make their way through the ranks of a restaurant and are gradually promoted from lower-ranking kitchen positions.
Others receive formal training in private culinary schools, community colleges, or university culinary arts programs.