What to Study to Become a Chef

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what to study to become a chef.

A lot of professions require one to obtain a degree or a respective certificate in order to build their career.

Sure, in many fields these days, the document stating that you are a real specialist matters less than experience, as well as skills checked during interviews and test tasks. However, it’s the knowledge that you need. 

Unfortunately, the curricula for the most widespread degrees are not that good or well-accepted among students. The more abstract the area of knowledge is, the more chances you will have to complete some senseless tasks. And even if there is a good curriculum, there will always be students who consider some parts of it useless. 

In both cases, the students may end up checking essay services on essay writing. However, it’s different from when you aim to become a chef and opt for cookery courses or an internship.

Mind that such studies are not the same as those with business, marketing, or literature degrees. When it comes to developing and honing your cooking skills, you can’t just pay for essay, submit it to your teacher, and get a good grade (and job, subsequently). You need to be well educated in many areas to develop your skills from the very first year of your studies.

So, we’ve prepared a list of subjects and areas you need to study to make a decent chef. Be ready to be surprised about some of them!

Your Competitors

Not really a subject, but this is the core of a proper business. Analyzing how your competitors operate helps you find both your and their strengths and weaknesses and use them to your advantage. 

Your criticism of someone else’s cookery may open your eyes. You might find out that you actually make the same mistakes without noticing them because it’s harder to criticize yourself adequately. In addition, there are always chances that you missed something in your menu when coming up with a list of dishes and your competitor didn’t.

Use it together with the competitor analysis, which you can complete yourself or delegate this task to a more skilled person.


Well, let’s actually talk about the subjects and areas of cooking you need to be educated about. The first one is culture, or, to be more specific, when talking about the world of cooking, gastronomy.

Food is all about national cuisines. If you lay claim to the authenticity of your Italian pizza, it should be cooked accordingly. The dough shouldn’t be too thick, the sauce should be made from fresh ingredients and not slow-cooked before being applied to the dough. Also, the toppings should be classical.

Nowadays, if you order a pizza, you might see all kinds of toppings and ingredients available. However, it’s typical for American pizza. Italians are more strict in their choice of ingredients. So, if you don’t want to disappoint your clients, make sure you live up to your claims. Learn the origins of recipes, their historical background, and so on.

A true chef should be aware of all kinds of cultural intricacies to come up with a proper serving, too. Most nations have different traditions when it comes to appetizers, alcohol, the order of serving dishes, etc. So, in order to not create the impression of an ill-mannered person, dedicate your time to cultural studies.

It also concerns literature. This one may sound unexpected at first, but if you think properly, this is actually a part of a culture. Besides, a chef is a person responsible for developing new menus, which requires a creative approach. And creativity and diversity of one’s ideas directly depend on how well-educated they are.

Biology & Chemistry 

Chemistry knowledge plays an important role in cooking in general and a special one in patisserie and confectionery. To make a particular type of dough or a proper frosting for cakes, it’s not enough to just mix ingredients as someone told you. You should know how:

  • the environment affects the dough
  • to whip eggs faster
  • what temperature is ideal for this and that ingredient for it to get mixed with others just like you need, and many more details

All this knowledge is also important for you to create dishes that are safe and sparing for human digestion. If you don’t want your visitors to think you poisoned them or that you just can’t really cook, make sure you know what combinations of products to avoid. Maybe mixing some ingredients makes your dish one of the tastiest in the world, but stomach aches will probably erase all those good memories about your cooking.

Safety & Sanitation 

We also hope that you don’t want to actually poison your visitors. That’s why the rules for keeping the kitchen clean and safe must be followed. The same concerns storing the products, which requires various conditions. 

Besides, meal prep is widespread in the restaurant business to make the raw products get stored a bit longer and in a clean environment. Yet, first, you need to know how to make and keep the latter clean, manage the products, so they don’t get expired, and so on.


The areas aspiring chefs should be proficient in require time and are not that easy. So, it’s not only about cutting, mixing, and cooking the products but also about the constant improvement of knowledge, search for better solutions, and creativity. 

The intricacies of combining ingredients lie in the knowledge of chemistry and biology. Being aware of the cultural background and context behind a traditional dish is the key to its proper preparation. So, make sure you know at least these basics before starting to build your career as a chef.

For more tips on making food easy, Ask Chef Dennis!

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.


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