Cooking for a Living: Becoming a Chef

Learn what chefs do and how a person can become a chef.

Teaching Objectives:

  • Students will be able to list several places where a chef might work.
  • Students will be able to describe the main responsibilities of a head chef.
  • Students will be able to name other staff members that might work in a kitchen and describe the responsibilities of each.
  • Students will be able to explain how a person can become a chef.

Suggested Grade Level

5th – 8th Grade

Lesson Excerpt:

Chefs work in restaurants, hospitals, schools and other places where people are fed. Some work as caterers or as personal chefs for individuals. A chef’s job is to prepare meals, but chefs do much more than cook. A chef must decide what goes on an establishment’s menu. They must also choose the best ingredients for preparing meals. The best ingredients not only make the food taste good, but are also not too expensive. If a chef wants to make a dish that requires an expensive ingredient, he or she must consider whether customers will be willing to pay for that ingredient.

Chefs are also in charge of buying ingredients. They purchase meat, produce, spices and other ingredients from suppliers. Decisions on what and how much to buy depends on the size and type of establishment for which the chef works. For example, an expensive seafood restaurant does not require the same ingredients as a small pizzeria.

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