We all love to eat well-prepared meals, but not everyone can make tasty meals that satisfy our cravings. If you’re one that prepares delicious meals that get your loved ones, friends, and colleagues craving for more, then you might want to consider becoming a chef. If you also have a passion for cooking and striving to gain mastery in preparing different dishes, becoming a chef would certainly be a breeze.
So, how can one become a chef in Nigeria?
Becoming a chef in Nigeria requires getting a certification from a recognized catering school or any tertiary institution that offers catering programs. It would help if you also put everything you learn into practice as well as developing the right mindset.
However, there are other vital things to consider to cruise through the path smoothly. So, if you’re wondering how you can become a chef in Nigeria, this article contains everything you need to become a successful chef in Nigeria and beyond. Let’s get started!
Who is a Chef?
A chef is one who is professionally trained and certified in various aspect of cooking, which includes directing activities in the kitchen, taking part in cooking as well as overseeing the entire process of making food in a food establishment. By this, it is clear that to become a chef; one must be trained professionally.
Also, note that as a chef, you must not necessarily handle the cooking, but you can be saddled with the responsibilities of directing the affairs of the kitchen to ensure a good turnaround. However, there are different types of chefs performing different functions in an organization, which you shall learn as you read on.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Chef in Nigeria?
As you have read above, a chef requires training and certification to be termed a chef. It could be a Bachelor’s Degree, Diploma, or just certification. And this involves taking a course either in the university or in a catering school. Note that such a school must be recognized by law to award either bachelor degrees, diploma, or any other certification to show that you’re qualified to be a chef.
Basically, attending a catering school is ideal. As you already know, you may not acquire enough practical skills in the university as one who wants to become a professional chef, competing with other experts out there. Your qualification will also set you up for success when you are out prospecting for jobs. Employers want to get the best hands that are well versed in practical and not just theory.
You can also decide to take a course online. There are a variety of platforms to take a culinary course online – they include Coursera, Udemy, Lynda, etc. You might be lucky to find that the course you want to go for is free, as some of these platforms offer free online courses. However, the downside of taking online courses is that you may struggle to convince your employers in Nigeria, who may not believe in your knowhow. Of course, being a chef requires more practicality. You should rather enroll for a course in a well-known catering school in Nigeria. Below are some popular catering schools in Nigeria:
List of Popular Catering Schools in Nigeria
- Yetkem institute of hotel management and catering
- The sense of taste
- Crumbles chef academy
- Lick and sweet catering school
- Culinary academy
- Field of skills and dreams VTE academy
- National Institute for hospitality and tourism
- Prettydreams school of catering and events management
- Wavecrest College of hospitality
- Cakes and kitchen affairs ventures catering school
- Double portion limited
- Spronks cocktails and bartending school
- Victory catering school
- Max kitchen catering services and culinary school
These schools are all located in Lagos, Nigeria.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Chef in Nigeria?
The duration of becoming a chef depends on the school and course duration. If you’re enrolled in a university for a bachelor’s degree, it usually takes 4 – 5 years. However, it can be shorter if your admission process is via direct entry; 3 – 4 years. And for diploma and certificate programs, it usually takes 9 to 12 months.
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So, ascertaining how long it will take to become a chef depends on the qualification you want. It can be shorter if you go for a diploma or certification, which is offered by most catering schools in Nigeria. However, you stand a good chance of becoming a senior chef with a bachelor’s degree. It all depends on your preferences.
Can I Become a Chef Without Going to School?
You might be a good cook with great enthusiasm in the culinary art, but it is impossible to be addressed as a chef or even enjoy the benefits of a chef without going to school. That is because a chef requires training in school and certification. During this time, they are trained in different aspects of cooking, which include safety in the kitchen, hygiene, etc. This is to ensure that their service to the public is free of health dangers and the likes.
So, the best you can become without going to school is a cook. You can be self-trained or trained by a chef to become a cook.
What is the Difference Between a Cook and a Chef?
A cook can be anyone, not professionally trained, but prepares food for an organization or hired by individuals to manage the kitchen. Meanwhile, a chef is someone who is professionally trained, holds a bachelor’s degree, diploma, or any certification, and is employed by a professional body to prepare food and overseer kitchen activities.
A cook might possess all the knowledge as a chef, but the difference lies in the professional certification acquired by the chef, who is deemed to have a higher understanding. In some settings, cooks work under the supervision of chefs.
Do Chefs get Paid well in Nigeria?
The food industry is a lucrative one, such that its workers are well paid. So, yes, chefs are well paid. In 2015, a famous chef in Nigeria – Chef Akintunde Adeshina, known popularly as Chef Shine, in an interview with The Nation Newspaper said he makes money more than an accountant as a chef.
According to SalaryExplorer, an executive pastry chef in Nigeria usually earns around 150,000 NGN per month. With the lowest perked at 79,300 and highest at 227,000 per month.
How Expensive is a Culinary School in Nigeria?
The tuition fees of culinary schools in Nigeria depends on the schools and programs. Most catering schools are privately owned, and the school management decides their tuitions. The tuition ranges from 20,000 NGN to 160,000 depending on the program of study. The tuition is less expensive if you go through a public school.
How Many Types of Chefs are there?
It is important to note that there are different categories of chefs, and each playing different roles. So as you are getting ready to begin your journey of becoming a chef, here are the different types of chefs:
- Head/Executive Chef: The head or executive chef is responsible for overseeing all kitchen activities and management of staff. He ensures everything is done correctly and as planned.
- Sous Chef: The sous chef is the direct assistant to the head chef. He plays similar roles as the head chef but acts under his supervision. He only takes full responsibility for the kitchen when the head chef is away.
- Station Chefs: The station chefs are also known as line cooks or chefs de partie. These chefs are saddled with particular food preparation tasks. They are mostly found in restaurants and are charged with the duties of preparing different foods based on their expertise.
- Specialized Chefs: These categories of chefs give rise to many other chefs. It means chefs that are specialized in different foods preparation. These chefs are found in different restaurants, preparing meals based on their specialties, following the restaurant’s food menu. Specialties of these chefs include sauciers (sauces chef), rôtisseurs (roast meats chef), poissonniers (fish chef), entremetteurs (vegetable chef), and pâtissier (pastries and desserts chef).
Other Things You Need to Become a Chef
While the significant path to becoming a chef is enrolling in a course in school, there are other things you need to consider to become a successful chef:
Develop the right mindset
You already know becoming a chef is worth the time, and they’re a lot of benefits. So, you ought to be positive as you begin the journey. Free your mine off negativities such as would I get a job upon completion of training, or would I become a good chef at all? Such thoughts can get you distracted. Focus on doing the right thing, develop more passion for cooking, and focus on your learning.
While you’re taking your lessons, ensure you try out everything you learn. Cook more than you have ever done. This will help you gain mastery of what you’re being taught. Arrange for group cooking and ask for feedback after all. Honest feedback will help you get on track if you’re not doing some things right. Make yourself available for cooking, cook for your friends, family, or anyone you can easily ask to help cook for them. It enables you to hone your skills.
Get your cooking equipment
You know you have to cook always, and of course, you need the right cooking equipment. So you have to invest some amount of money into buying the equipment. Don’t get it wrong! You don’t have to empty your bank account to buy the equipment, a little of the right equipment can help you start.
READ ALSO: 25 Best Kitchen Equipment You Need in 2020
If possible, get a scale of preference and buy the items in order of importance. Ensure you get the equipment you will need in your everyday cooking.
Explore other learning resources
Do not rely on your study alone to acquire all the knowledge you need to become a chef. It is best to explore different learning materials to keep you at the top of your game. There are a lot of learning materials online – research, read, watch YouTube videos, and, more importantly, put them into practice. This way, you can be current with recent happenings in the culinary world.
Becoming a chef in Nigeria is attainable, but not without following the right measures. As you can see, we’ve taken time to put down the basic things you need to become a chef and also attempt some frequently asked questions about becoming a chef in Nigeria and beyond.
So if you’re looking to become a chef, you already know professional training is required, where you’d be issued a certification afterward – to function as a chef. Take your time to look out for a school that offers the best training, explore other learning materials, define your area of interest, and cook always!
Got any other question about being a chef? We’re happy to hear from you, leave a comment via the comment section and we’ll respond as soon as possible.