Culinary Arts – A satisfying career option – Interview Shubha Shree Surendra #BlogChatterProjects

Everybody need not be an Engineer or a Doctor! The mindset that only mainstream careers mean something, is wrong. The whole month of December, I am looking at alternative careers that can be satisfying as well as rewarding.

I caught up with a 21 year old student pursuing culinary arts. You might wonder what that is! I had the same thoughts, so I did a bit of research online.

What is culinary arts?

In really simple terms, culinary art refers to the process of cooking and arranging food. How many of you thought about ‘MasterChef‘? I know, I did! It piqued my interest, so I decided to do an interview with her. Following are the excerpts from it.

Today we interview Shubha Shree Surendra who is pursuing culinary arts at the North Shore International Academy, Auckland, NZ.

What kind of background is required to apply for this course?

Education wise- you could be anything above a 12th pass student. There are age groups from 17 to 50+ at this institute.
but most importantly- one must have LOTS of patience, determination, physical and mental strength for this course.

Are there entrance tests? when should one start preparing?

Not really, most institutes do not require any prior knowledge or technical skills for this course. However, interviews and cover letters play an important role in fixing yourself a spot at any skill-based institute. Questions are usually based on how passionate you are towards the course as well as WHY you chose this field.

What is the course structure like?

The course that I am doing is a LEVEL 4 And 5 in culinary arts (Doing both levels is optional, but recommended if you want a decent position in the industry).
this is a 2-year course, consisting of 4 terms. You will be taught A-Z of culinary foundation through the 2 years – right from holding your knife to presenting a completed dish.

difference between hotel management and culinary arts?

The culinary arts refer to professions that involve preparing and cooking food. Culinary artists often are compared with restaurant managers in both education and career scope. Generally, the major differentiating factor for culinary artists and hotel management students are the specific college programs, the type of training and experience involved and the actual duties associated with each job. A culinary arts program will have subjects like nutrition and sensory evaluation, American cuisine, international cuisine and meat science. Management programs, in contrast, focus on educating individuals on how to operate the restaurant from a business management perspective.

What are the career prospects?

At the end of 2 years, you will be a certified chef, capable of working at any restaurant/hotel- positions may vary with experience, skill, etc. Other job options could be a personal chef, food stylist, cookbook author, food scientist, and so on.

some tips for students looking for a similar course?

Being a chef is not as easy as people presume, it involves a lot of physical and mental dedication every single day. For a chef, the holiday season is the busiest so forget partying during New year’s or vacationing during long weekends- this is when you’d be expected to show up in the kitchen. Do not join this profession if you are not passionate/interested in cooking; a lot of people I know have ended up choosing this course because they think they have no other option or they want to give this a “try”. Take my word, you will not be happy if you cannot give this your 100%.
what some people also don’t know is that cleaning and maintenance of hygiene plays a major role in the kitchen so expect to wash dishes when you enter the industry- that is how you grow and learn.

The kitchen is a hot, loud, noisy, busy but extremely satisfying place with a high swear-word frequency: be mentally prepared.

Can these courses be done in India? what should a student look for while choosing an institute?

India has several schools/colleges that offer a course in hotel management but only a handful that offer a mainstream culinary course.
Personally, I did not enjoy my experience in the culinary college I studied at, in India. Most Indian schools have a different approach with the education system, but then again- it’s just a personal opinion. There are 100’s of wonderfully talented chef’s that Indian schools have produced as well.
My advice before choosing your school would be: RESEARCH. Do thorough research of the school you choose. Ask questions, do not hold back. One tip would be to ask previous alumni- the ones who are not mentioned on the college website, if you want honest answers.

What is the process of applying for foreign universities and what should the student keep in mind?

Pretty much the same goes for any institute across the world. Do thorough research before choosing what fits your criteria and vision. Few things to keep in mind:
– know your rights, rules and regulations of the country before choosing.

  • If you wish to work during your study period, find out visa restrictions and availability of jobs.
  • Research everything about the country- from cost of living to future opportunities (if you wish to stay back).
  • Most students apply for universities/ colleges through an agent- I did too. It is a much faster and easier way of application as they help make sure all criteria are met and processes complete.
  • Most countries require test of language. Exams like IELTS/TOEFL, etc can be attempted, based on what the country accepts.

Last Thoughts

I hope this was an informative interview, the way it was for me. And I sincerely hope this will help more students and parents choose from the various career avenues that are now available.

Are you following your passion and have chosen an alternate career? Or maybe you know someone who has. Connect with me on nehatambe.dm@gmail.com or fill in the form below!Have any queries or wish to add more information or share this post? Share it with #LearnNotEducate

Making money from Food Blogging – Guest Blog for #FreelancerFriday


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Making money with food blogging

My Journey as a food blogger started somewhere in 2012 when I had already left the corporate world and started full-fledged consultancy. Friends who came over on weekends to taste the new dishes which I curated with my own twists often appreciated it and asked me to start food blogging. This brought in the idea of starting Fashionablefoodz. I initially started Fashionablefoodz.net and switched over to fashionablefoodz.com in the last 2 years or so.

To be honest, nothing comes free or easy. So I had this difficult patch for the first two years. I wondered often if there was ever going to be any income which I would generate from my Blog? Now when I sit back and see the journey, I feel that content plays a major role in selling your blog. The initial period was when IU only populated content on my site and wrote guest posts. This got me a good amount of back-links. I also started socializing a bit at events and ceremonies revolving around blogging. Since I am more of a Lifestyle blogger than a pure Food blogger, I tried my hands at other things too like a bit of fashion posts, Movie reviews and Travel posts apart from my niche of Food, fitness and Nutrition.

My Experience as food blogger

Two years down the line after starting the blog and with some dense content, I got my first break when a company approached me to put up a Food related post which required using and describing their product and offered me money for the services. I think that was the beginning of commercial returns on my Blog. I in turn stuck to my honesty and have been upfront with all my clients telling them clearly that I will write an honest review of their product. 99% of my clients have not just appreciated this but in fact welcomed this. They offer me extra money for consultancy on improvising the nutrition quotient, I advise them on enhancing the taste and the flavors by adjust the proportion of certain ingredients and spices. So it is more like a well woven story which I have with my clients.

I take pride to tell that I have been associated with my client for over 2 years now and they trust my judgments on putting up posts.  Barring a few occasions where the clients have wanted to introduce a freshly made tagline or something, never have any of them actually interfered in my work and given me complete freedom. This bonding is needed to leave a mark in the Industry. Today, I blog full time and make decent money to run a household.

 

Trends in food blogging

Food Industry has got diluted in last couple of years.  There are so many aspiring, directionless new comers who have come in. They write for free or for peanuts. They do free food reviews just for some free food. Their reviews on Zomato and other platform speak about their knowledge of food (“Wow, the food was awesome, Wonderful experience at Hotel XYZ, I was there and the food was good with beautiful ambiance and sincere staff who served well”) Surprisingly some restaurants who are wanting shortcut to success often try these bloggers making them give a 5 Star rating for a free meal. Eventually when customers taste the food and write the reality their ratings drop down drastically.

Hence a class difference has been created. One is the Blogger class who has developed skills of writing, giving in depth feedback keeping Nutrition and other aspects in mind when it comes to food blogging. The other is just generic class. The choice is up to us, as to how we wish to pitch ourselves.

Advice by Baba UK

My Tips for the people who want to join Blogging Industry are these:

  • Make content rich blog. This may take time but original and good content will always attract masses.
  • Always use Hashtags and keywords. This will help your blog ranking climb up faster.
  • Visit other blogs, read their content to get a fair idea where you stand. Comment if you like their posts. They too will come back some day to check yours.
  • Never work for Free for any client. Remember, you are taking this up as a profession, not a hobby.
  • Always follow senior bloggers on social media. You may get lucky to tie up with them on some projects soon.
  • Never copy paste content just for populating your site. Readers are smart and clients are smarter.
  • Be honest and patient. Both Honesty and patience pays. I say this by experience.
  • Last but not the least, stay away from fake limelight which gives momentary glamour but no money.

Over to you

If you are planning to be a serious blogger, try and follow the tips which I gave above. If you are not, then ignore my post. 😀 It is definitely not easy to make money on your blog as soon as you start. Especially when it is a Food Blog, but the satisfaction which you get after writing genuine posts and giving genuine feedback for a review, is much above all. So sit down, make up your mind and if it says a big YES to Blogging, go for it. Success will follow.


About the Author

Utpal Krishna (UK)

I am born and brought up in Mumbai, graduated from the Mumbai University and worked in the corporate world for about 20 years. I quit the corporate world in 2012 and started Full time consultancy in Content management and Food. As a certified nutritionist I have helped many stay fit and also work with corporates from time to time for their Food related content requirements. I run a blog at http://fashionablefoodz.com which is well known by now. After doing voluntary social service for over 10 years, I decided to start a NGO and in April 2017, Being The Real Human came into existence (http://beingtherealhuman.com) 

I am participating in the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Challenge