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Millie's Guide to Culinary Arts

Millie's Guide to Culinary Arts

Article written and edited by Yevgeniya Medvedenko and Nadya Soetomo.

Do fluffy cheese soufflés make your heart skip a beat? If they do, you might want to take a deeper look into culinary arts!

From making a chocolate sponge cake to an elegant plant-based dish, Yevgeniya Medvedenko (@eugeniafood_), a Grand Diplôme-qualified cuisine and pastry chef from Le Cordon Bleu London, shares her journey of becoming a gastronomy chef in Millie’s Guide to Culinary Arts.

Culinary arts is a field that studies the art of preparing, cooking, and presenting food. But to Yevgeniya, it’s more than that. Culinary ART stands for Ambition, Resilience, and Teamwork — not just sauté and serve.

For a successful career in the culinary world, you need a combination of resilience and perseverance in the face of tough challenges. Long hours in the kitchen and high-pressure environments mean you need to keep a level head and a calm demeanor.

Myths about culinary school

Myth #1 You are a bona fide food expert after graduation

FALSE: Like any field of work, being an expert requires you to constantly expand and develop your knowledge in your profession. In the culinary field that translates to keeping up with the latest food trends, meeting new people in the industry and catching up on new food technologies.

Myth #2 Professional chefs are paid a high salary

FALSE: The annual average salary for chef-related roles in the UK is £29,000 for Commis Chefs. Although this does not leave you rolling in dough, if you’re genuinely passionate about being a part of the industry, the numerical value shouldn’t bother you too much and there is always room for growth.

“Don’t let your paycheck define your happiness.”

What are my career options after graduating with a degree in culinary arts?

There are many career paths you can choose to pursue after studying the culinary arts. Here are some career options you may choose to pursue:

  • Restaurant-based

Either focusing on cuisine or pastry, the first step to working in a restaurant is applying for a Commis Chef position. This is the typical promotion process in most restaurants:

Commis Chef → Chef de Partie → Sous Chef → Head Chef → Executive Chef

If the chef titles above disinterested you, you could be a Baker or Chocolatier in a restaurant, a patisserie, or a chocolate shop!

  • Personal / Private Chef

This profession requires you to have strong self-motivation as you will be working independently. As the name suggests, personal or private chefs design their own menus and determine their own working schedules based on individual clients.

  • Catering

Catering provides not only main dishes, but also mini menus like finger foods and bite-sized desserts to clients. Caterers usually take orders from large events, thus you can also interact with people other than your main client when providing your service (a bonus to expand your catering business!).

  • Restaurant and Hospitality Publicist

Publicists are invited to restaurant launches and events to taste the food, note the place, and spread the word through their favorite social media platforms for promotion purposes.

  • Food Writer

Food writers sample the aroma, taste, cooking techniques, even the correlation between elements of a dish to be written and published for evaluative purposes.

  • Specialty Food Buyer

Being a specialty food buyer means you purchase certain types of food for clients and companies with specific needs. This job involves finding feasible solutions constrained by clients’ financial status and negotiating with both clients and suppliers to seal a mutually satisfying deal. It requires you to be very knowledgeable about food quality standards, ingredients’ seasonality, and more.

  • Food Service and Artisan Food Producer

This role involves producing ready-to-eat products like jams or cheese. For instance, if you love honey and there are no honey producers in town, you can create your own honey brand to cater to your personal preference — and serve your community as well!

Tip: If you're just starting out in your career, don't compare yourself to renowned chefs like Gordon Ramsay! Everyone was a beginner at some point. The journey to the top might involve tears, burns, and cuts, but with time and perseverance, you'll get there.

Find more specialized tips and advice from Yevgeniya about the culinary world in Millie’s Guide to Culinary Arts!