Become a Banquet Chef: Education and Career Roadmap

Mar 09, 2020

A high-pressure career as a banquet chef is one option for those who enjoy hard work, managing employees and the creativity of preparing food, planning menus and developing recipes. The chef manages the kitchen staff in a food preparation establishment, orders supplies and ensures the facility complies with food safety and sanitation regulations.

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Should I Become a Banquet Chef?

A banquet chef is the culinary genius behind the meal at a banquet. In addition to designing the menu, the banquet chef is responsible for the upkeep of their kitchen, managing their staff, and purchasing ingredients.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Associate's degree minimum; bachelor's degree program available
Degree Field Culinary arts or restaurant management program
Experience On-the-job in culinary arts or food management
Certification Professional certification available, such as Certified Executive Chef
Salary $51,422 (2020 median for chefs)


Stesp to Become a Banquet Chef

Step 1: Obtain Training in Culinary Arts

Students may seek culinary arts training in a community college, culinary arts institute, or a technical school. Some professionals obtain an undergraduate degree in hospitality management to prepare for a career as a chef.

An associate's degree in culinary arts consists of classroom training on nutrition, food safety, sanitation, and management. Students spend time in a professional kitchen practicing cooking skills and techniques and also learn menu planning, food storage, purchasing, and inventory control methods.

A bachelor's degree program includes the same courses as an associate's degree, but also includes an education in business management, finance, accounting, and marketing. Associate's and bachelor's degree programs both require students to complete an externship in a professional kitchen.

Step 2: Obtain Food Service Management Training

Individuals with culinary training or cooking experience can complete food service management and hospitality training to learn the skills necessary to manage a banquet kitchen. Courses in a management program may include hospitality accounting, hospitality management, menu planning, and purchasing.

Step 3: Gain Experience in the Field

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many chefs start in entry-level kitchen positions and acquire additional skills through mentorship and on-the-job training. Banquet chefs can receive training in food service, menu planning, and managing a kitchen staff under the direction and supervision of a skilled banquet chef.

Step 4: Seek Advancement Opportunities Through Certification

Individuals working in the field can seek advancement opportunities by obtaining certifications. The American Culinary Federation provides certifications for chefs, educators, and those specializing in pastries.

The requirements for the Certified Executive Chef certification include a minimum of a high school education and 150 hours of continuing education. However, those without a high school education can obtain the certification by completing 250 hours of continuing education courses. Candidates for certification must also complete mandatory courses in food safety, nutrition, and management and have a minimum of three years of chef experience.

Aspiring banquet chefs need at least an associate's degree in culinary arts or food management as well as experience in the field, and professional certification can lead to advancement opportunities.

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