Getting Yourself Out There!
Most people know that being a good cook, and being a chef, are two different things. But being a chef, and being a superstar chef, are just as different from each other.
There are certain skills that make a chef stand out from the others in this very competitive field.
Want To Skip Ahead?
- Top Notch Cooking Skills
- A Head For Numbers
- The Ability To Build A Brand
- Lead With Emotional Intelligence
- A High Standard Of Excellence
- Grow With Circumstance
- Are You The Next Cake Baking Superstar?
- Never Compromise On Quality
- The Power Of Online Reputation
- Become A Cake Baking Star!
If you want to be a superstar chef, ask yourself if you have the following things.
And if not, how you can develop these skills to build your career:
Top notch cooking skills
While anyone can follow a recipe, and most good chefs can improvise a fantastic meal. It takes a truly superior chef to be able to master every technique in a stressful, tense kitchen.
You should be able to lead your sous chefs in any cooking technique or style that they come across. And you should be able to do it no matter what the chaos may be around you.
A thirst for knowledge in all the areas of cooking will be vital. Because you’ll need to be constantly learning new things to be a great chef.
As a superstar chef, you can’t wait for others to offer you the chance to learn something new, or to require you to develop a new skill.
If there is a skill you want to add to your abilities, you have to be proactive about learning it yourself, however you need to.
Whether that means going to school, seeking out a mentor, or just doing a lot of practice and tutorial watching. Investing in your own skills is very important for becoming a star in the cooking industry.
A head for numbers
One thing that super star chefs can do is tell you at the drop of a hat. How much a plate should cost based on the ingredients and prep time that went in to each element on the plate.
This takes the ability to standardize recipes and serving sizes, understand market price fluctuations, and more.
It’s something that a chef who is running their own kitchen should always be able to do to keep the kitchen running on budget. It’s also the best way to ensure that all the inventory gets used correctly to keep the kitchen on budget.
You should also apply this skill in other ways. For example, super star chefs are always collecting data on what meals and ingredients sell when.
So that they can best capitalize on the trends for their kitchen.
Having a good head for business numbers is vital for keeping a kitchen successful. Especially in an industry where success is often measured in much smaller margins.
The ability to build a brand
Kitchens today are more than just places that produce food. They are part of the overall customer experience of a restaurant, a hotel, or any other venue. And the chef isn’t just an invisible employee, they are a brand ambassador.
Every meal that comes out of the kitchen tells part of the brand’s story, and a good chef. – A super star chef – is someone who understands this, and understands how to use their presence in the kitchen to help build the brand of the venue.
This also means that you can’t just stay in the kitchen. But must get out there and be a public figure.
One of the things you’ll need to build a brand as a chef is a point of view when it comes to your food. You need to know who you are as a chef.
And how you communicate that through your food. That doesn’t mean you stick to only one cuisine, or a specific flavour group, or any other limits.
But it does mean that people should be able to identify who created their meal when they eat it. If your point of view is strong enough, it’ll be easy for diners to see “you” in the food.
Your vision for raw ingredients and how you’ll turn them into complete dishes.
As well as the nitty gritty of your choice of ingredients in the first place, or the techniques you use to cook them, all plays a part in your point of view as a chef.
It will take time to develop this, and it will grow and evolve over your career. This is a good thing! But taking the time to develop a central point of view will help you begin to create a lasting impression on your diners.
The ability to lead with emotional intelligence
You’ve seen celebrity chefs on the TV yelling at their staff and making waves, like rude bulldozers that stop at nothing to get the job done.
But this isn’t how super star chefs really succeed in the industry.
Those shows are designed that way to get viewers. In the real world, it is very important for the chef to be able to lead the kitchen in a way that keeps everyone motivated. Developing good emotional intelligence to relate to the people around you is critical.
Operating a kitchen can be a chaotic nightmare. Or it can be a finely tuned machine. In order to keep everyone on the same page, they all need to feel as though their part is important and valued.
This means that you, as the chef, must work to provide them this feeling of value, and that means using emotional intelligence.
Not everyone feels valued in the same ways. Some people thrive on more discipline and clear expectations, while others need recognition and freedom to make errors.
A high standard for excellence
While it’s important to see what each part of your kitchen needs and offer it to them as best you can, it’s also critical that you set and maintain a very high standard.
To be a superstar chef, you need to stand out from the crowd, and that means that you can’t afford to let anything less than excellent out of your kitchen.
But a high standard for excellence starts at the top, with you. You need to ensure that you are doing everything up to your own standards the first time, and then hold your team accountable to that.
This does mean that you’ll need to be the hardest working person in the entire building. But if you want to be a super star, you’ll have to put in that work.
And if you don’t want to put in the work, then there’s a good chance that a chef who simply showed up more than you will eventually outshine you.
Good organizational skills
You likely already know that chefs must be extremely organized. Everything must be in its place for the kitchen to work. But this goes beyond the kitchen and into other areas of your life.
If you want to be a super star, you need to be systematic with everything.
You should always be looking for ways to do things more efficiently, with more productivity, and without sacrificing quality. Organizing your time will be particularly important as a super star chef.
You’ll have to find ways to balance cooking with brand building, for example. And you will also need to be a leader in the kitchen, at the same time as you are working to provide a great diner experience.
You’ll be wearing a lot of hats, so keeping all your tasks and time organized carefully is essential for managing it all.
The ability to grow with circumstance
One thing that all chefs must do is pay attention to the circumstances that are changing the way people eat. Everything from politics to pop culture affects the way that humans eat, so you have to keep an eye on how the industry is being shaped.
Food trends and cooking styles are important things to keep tabs on, but also pay attention to things such as the economic climate. This could impact things like the cost of your ingredients, the ability of diners to consume certain dishes, and more.
You’ll have to be able to predict how shifts in the big picture will impact your kitchen.
And as you predict these things, you must be able to grow and change with the diners. If you are so rigid in your planning that you can’t change your menu or learn a new technique to better suit what is in demand at the moment, you won’t be able to break free of “chef” in to “superstar chef” realm.
Become a superstar chef
Developing your career beyond the moment you first put on your chef whites takes time. But if you have a strong vision for what you want to say with your food, and great business sense, you could very easily become the next superstar chef.
Many new chefs don’t realise the importance of their non-cooking skills. Being a good business person, and being able to develop an excellent brand story, are vital for becoming a super star.
So while you are learning all the cooking techniques that will draw diners to your food, be sure that you are also considering the other skills you need to become a superstar chef.
Could you be the next superstar cake baker?
Do you dream about quitting your day job to bake cakes? If so, you aren’t alone. Many cake baking addicts daydream about becoming the next superstar cake baker. With their own reality show or national brand name, and some even accomplish it.
But how do you go about breaking into the industry? How do you really become a “superstar” in the baking world?
There are many paths into the world of baking as a profession. But no matter what path you take, there are some things that you’ll encounter along the way.
These tips and things to consider will help you find your own footing. As you discover how to build the super career you’ve been dreaming of.
The self-taught vs. Pastry school
One of the first things you’ll encounter is the question of whether you should attend pastry school. The fact is that many of the superstar bakers you see – on TV, behind major brands. And in the history books of cooking – actually did not go to pastry school.
Many did, however, go to some sort of related school. For example, a lot of the TV personality bakers who make amazingly beautiful wedding cakes were first graphic designers or artists.
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. If you are the type of person who thrives in school, and you have the time to dedicate to perfecting the craft in classes. Then maybe school would be a great thing for you.
However, if you are already a self-taught baker who is getting great reviews from the few side jobs you’ve taken on. Maybe you’d be better off building your reputation now.
Remember that anything you can learn in pastry school, such as how to make the buttercream, you can google. But you can’t always build the same network in the wild that you can in school. So, there are pros and cons to both decisions.
Make friends in the vendor industry
For most people who are starting a cake baking business, weddings and other major events like that will be your bread and butter. That means that you’ll be involved with things where other vendors will also be on hand, like caterers, event planners, florists, and so on.
Making friends with these people can be a great way to give your business a boost. And word-of-mouth spreads very quickly in these small niche industries.
It’s also a good idea to get to know the other cake vendors around you. You don’t have to be friends with what is ultimately the competition. But remember that you can learn from each other.
One thing that you may run into if you are creating wedding cakes, for example, is that a bride may bring in a picture of a cake from another vendor.
Copying cake designs is actually a big no-no in the industry, so be sure that you can offer a unique take on the design. Or that the original creator of the design is okay with you doing the modelling.
Never compromise on quality
If you want to be a superstar chef cake baker, your cakes can’t just look good. They also have to taste great. At the end of the day, people will remember the taste of the cake just as much, if not more, than they remember the way it looked.
To that end, every superstar baker out there will tell you the same thing: never, ever compromise on the quality of your ingredients.
For startup bakers, that can be a difficult position to take. Not only are quality ingredients more expensive to purchase. They also drive up the cost of your cake, making it harder to attract more customers.
But the fact is that word-of-mouth about your completely amazing cakes will eventually make up for the lower sales to start. There are other ways to save money in the kitchen that don’t sacrifice the quality of your product.
The power of online branding
Even if you are focused on creating your cake baking career in a small local area. Don’t discount the power that the Internet can have for your cakes.
‘Start an Instagram account to show off your work, or connect with other superstar bakers on Twitter. Start a blog where you show off your expertise in the baking world. Or make a Facebook page for your business. Better yet? Do all of these things!’
Cake baking is a visual business, which is excellent for online marketing, where visual content is king. Be sure that you’ve got a good online presence so that your creations can be shared far and wide. This is one of the key steps to becoming a true superstar in the field – getting noticed beyond your local sales.
Another reason to have a good online presence is that it allows you a place to make those “practice” cakes worth it. If you’ve been wanting to try a new technique or a new style, and haven’t gotten the order for it yet, you can practice it anyway and then post it online.
The attention you can get online can make the supplies and time more than worthwhile.
Find a specialisation and stick to It
Want to be a real superstar chef ? Then you need to know what it is that sets you apart and stick to that. That doesn’t mean you can’t try out new things and offer a variety of services.
But if you are known for your old-school piped flowers, or for your spectacular 3D sculpting, or for your photo-realistic frosting designs, stick to that speciality and make it your own.
Just about anyone can learn how to bake a great cake if they have patience and an Internet connection. But by building your speciality skills, you set yourself on the path for true recognition in the field.
Don’t do it all yourself
One thing that you see often when bakers start to gain a little bit of notice is that as their popularity rises, their productivity decreases. This is because the more people see you, the more they want to interact with you. The stars of TV baking shows often find themselves doing a lot more interacting. On social media, interviews with the media, answering questions, and creating marketing materials, then they do baking.
Remember that you don’t have to do everything yourself. In fact, you shouldn’t. Once you get to the point where your cake success has gotten you to superstar status, hire someone to handle your social media accounts.
Get an accountant to take care of the business end of things. Whatever you do, just don’t stop baking! That’s what you got into this industry for the first place.
A great example of what this tip means is Buddy of TV’s Cake Boss. He had to create an entire infrastructure of support for his website so that he could get back to baking cakes.
This system now tracks every aspect of his business from the moment an order arrives to the moment the customer leaves a review. It took some time, but he reported later that it led to him getting 60% more efficiency out of his day, so it was well worth it.
Many people are involved in your cake baking reputation
One thing that startup bakers don’t realise is just how much chance there is for error between you and the customer. The person who takes the order, the supplier who gets you your ingredients, you making the cake.
The person who decorates the cake, and the person who delivers the cake, are all part of the process. Sometimes you may have more than one of those roles, and other times you may not even be involved at all for a client if you’ve got a busy bakery.
The point is that your reputation as a baking superstar depends on more than just you. It’s always a good idea to surround yourself with people whose integrity and attention to detail you trust.
Be sure that you track mistakes and resolutions in a way that will enhance the customer experience at all times.
Also be sure that you have a place to collect customer reviews, such as a Facebook page, so that everyone can see how much other people love your service and products.
These customers reviewing your products are also part of the people involved in building your reputation! Consider them a part of your extended team and treat them as such.
Become a cake baking superstar chef
While there are a lot of things to learn about the cake baking industry, there’s nothing holding you back from becoming a superstar. There is almost nothing people love more than delicious desserts that are also beautiful.
So if you’ve got a knack for creating tasty flavour combinations, an eye for gorgeous art, or the patience to learn the trade, you could definitely become a superstar chef. Take the tips from above to heart and get started creating your dream.