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Professional references from culinary arts instructors could help you find a job as a chef

by Olivia DeWolfe
CulinaryEd Columnist
February 15, 2011

Chef jobs require good letters of recommendationWhether you're still a few months away from your culinary-school graduation or you've already received your diploma, chances are you're probably thinking about your first job, where it might be, and how you are going to land it. As a newly-trained chef, you may be wondering how to make your abilities come through as you look for your first job. You can do this through a job application that includes letters of recommendations from professors in your culinary arts school and from any others that can speak to your skills.

Everyone has to start somewhere. For many professional chefs, including Nancy Silverton and Emeril Lagasse, success in the culinary arts world came after culinary school. While many culinary schools can teach you how to cook, it usually takes more than that to prove yourself. Whether you've graduated from a traditional or online culinary arts degree program, this is where letters of recommendation can prove helpful.

Culinary instructors know best

A good culinary instructor understands the expectations chefs can encounter in the workplace. Your instructors have watched you practice and demonstrate your abilities in many arenas of the culinary arts: cooking and baking, leadership and communication, business and finances. Take advantage of the knowledge your culinary instructors have about you when it comes time to apply for a cooking job, and ask them to write you a letter of recommendation.

  • Choose culinary instructors with whom you had a good rapport and whose opinion you respect.
  • Let them know what kind of job you're applying for so they can tailor the recommendation to fit.
  • Give them plenty of notice so they're not rushed.

A recommendation from someone of high caliber and professional reputation can add depth and status to your application, and could increase your chances of earning the chef job you want.

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