Being a student in culinary school is both demanding and rewarding. Graduating requires hard work, a positive attitude, and real skills. Below are four tips that can help you develop positive habits and attitudes that will be valuable in the classroom as well as the post-graduation kitchen.
- Be Clean and Organized
Culinary school instructors will show up to class expecting students to be ready to work. You'll find the most successful students get to class early to set up their work stations. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare. Have a checklist of everything you need for each class. Make sure your knives are sharpened and all utensils are in working order. Clean your station if it isn't already spotless. Always start with a fresh set of work clothes and towels. Use any downtime during class to clean your station and put it back in order.
- Be an Enthusiastic Part of the Team
Working in a bustling kitchen involves closely coordinating of a lot of people's work. Each member's tasks are vital to the end result. Start now to develop a friendly, cheerful, and helpful attitude toward others. See your fellow students as teammates, not competitors. Some of your classmates will have already worked at restaurants. Watch them work, and ask their advice. They can show you some of the tricks of the trade.
- Volunteer Whenever You Can
Helping out at events, demonstrations, and classes puts you next to experienced chefs. You'll learn a lot about the real world of cooking. You'll also develop a reputation as someone who is reliable and hard-working, which are invaluable traits in the culinary world.
- Be Willing to Learn from Everybody
Be willing to learn from all your teachers. Two instructors may show you different ways of doing something. Learn both ways, and practice them. The more skills you have, the more resources you will have for success down the line. Finding a mentor is also ideal. If you can develop a close relationship with one teacher, you will have the guidance of someone who is looking out for you. Be grateful to that person, and let them know you appreciate him or her. Don't lean on the teacher or expect special treatment, though. That's far from helpful. A mentor is there to direct your efforts in the best direction for the best results.
Success in culinary school is within your reach if you apply this advice to your everyday cooking experiences. Develop a habit of cleanliness and organization, and no one in the kitchen will have to worry about whether your station is functioning well. Put your best face forward, and you will see smiles in return. Keep your eyes and ears open, and continue learning as you work your way up the ladder after graduation. Be the best that you can be, and your success in culinary school will open the door to the kitchen of your dreams.