A Guide to Growth: From Culinary Student to Professional Chef

A Guide to Growth: From Culinary Student to Professional Chef


By Jenny McCoy—Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts


My trajectory from culinary school graduate to my current roles as an ICE Chef Instructorauthor and entrepreneur didn’t follow the most conventional route. But luckily in the food industry, that’s okay. The more one gets to know other chefs and food professionals, the more you realize that there are many different paths to success in our field.


As a high school graduate who enrolled in culinary school on a whim, I certainly benefitted from spending time with seasoned professionals who shared their tips for succeeding in this business. So, in turn, I'm sharing my advice for those just starting out in the industry—to help you navigate the beginning of your career and find positions that best fit your strengths:


1. Choose a Path That Suits Your Learning and Working Style


Not sure what your “style” is yet? Try taking a Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory or a Myers Briggs Personality Test.


I took a hiatus from cooking in my twenties to pursue my bachelor’s degree. In doing so, I spent a lot of time studying leadership and was introduced to these tests. They really helped me understand myself as a student and as an employee. Give them a whirl! If nothing else, it’s always fun to self-reflect.