Being a Chef is an amazing honour. It means that there has been hundreds, if not thousands of hours spent slaving away in a kitchen, to be of service to customers. If you go anywhere in the world, Chefs are seen as Rock Stars of food, and some even having celebrity status. Way back when, the trade was passed down from generation to generation. Like any other trade where you work with your hands, for example being a Blacksmith, the skills and techniques was kept in the family and basically taught to whomever was next in line.
We live in such a competitive world these days, if you want to be recognised, you cannot work on raw talent alone, you need the papers behind your name to prove it. Would you go to a Doctor that wasn't trained, or studied at a proper University, do you think he would have the right to give himself the title of Doctor if that wasn't the case? It goes for the Chef industry as well. South Africa is one of the few countries in the world where one can basically, still get away with it, but with all the legislation coming in, QTCO and the Department of Higher Education and the Department of Trade and Industry is in the process of acknowledging that the Chef industry, is now seen as a proper trade. Cooperative training/learning are the magic words. Basically what this means is, a Qualified Chef will firstly demonstrate how something is done, and then assist you in doing it yourself. And practice, makes perfect from then on....
What is important about this process, is that it all depends on yourself and how motivated you are at the end of the day. What you do develop, without even realising it, is discipline and a work ethic, that you might not find in many other industries. But it takes time to get there, and if you are looking for immediate gratification, look somewhere else, because like anything in life that's worth it, becoming an amazing Chef, takes time; putting in the blood, sweat and tears.
No wonder the Chefs Association of South Africa has asked that a basic Chef Course be changed to a 3 year qualification, and that you can only be called a certain kind of Chef, i.e. Chef Tournand, Chef de Partie, Chef de Saucier, Executive Chef after a certain amount of years, working your way up through the ranks. Like any other industry would expect you to do.
Yes, we all know you can figure out how things work by just watching a Youtube video, but unfortunately, that just won't cut it if you would like to be taken seriously in this industry, and if you would like to perhaps go work overseas in some Michelen star restaurants or on Cruise liners, for large Hotel Groups or get other opportunities to go work abroad. Remember, nothing is set in stone, and things can change in a blink of an eye, and you might not have a choice but look elsewhere for work. Make sure you have something legitimate to fall back on.