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Career and Education Opportunities for Chefs in Chicago, Illinois

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for chefs in the Chicago, Illinois area. There are currently 5,810 working chefs in Illinois; this should grow by 11% to about 6,460 working chefs in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for chefs are expected to grow by about 0.2%. Chefs generally direct the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, or other foods.

The income of a chef is about $15 per hour or $32,150 yearly on average in Illinois. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $18 per hour or $38,770 per year on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Cooking, people working as chefs in Illinois earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Cooking nationally. People working as chefs can fill a number of jobs, such as: chef de froid, menu planner, and garde manger chef.

There are eleven schools within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a chef, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. Given that the most common education level for chefs is a high school diploma or GED, it will take only a short time to learn to be a chef if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Chef

Chef video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, chefs direct the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, or other foods. They also may plan and price menu items, order supplies, and keep records and accounts.

Chefs order or requisition food and other supplies needed to insure efficient operation. They also instruct cooks and other staff in the preparation and presentation of food. Equally important, chefs have to check the quantity and quality of received products. They are often called upon to check the quality of raw and cooked food products to insure that standards are met. They are expected to inspect supplies and work areas to insure conformance to established standards. Finally, chefs monitor sanitation practices to insure that employees follow standards and regulations.

Every day, chefs are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for chefs to analyze recipes to assign prices to menu items, on the basis of food and overhead costs. They are often called upon to meet with sales representatives so as to negotiate prices and order supplies. They also manage equipment purchases and repairs. They are sometimes expected to recruit and hire staff, including cooks and other kitchen staff. Somewhat less frequently, chefs are also expected to formulate and supervise the food preparation and cooking efforts of multiple kitchens or restaurants in an establishment such as a restaurant chain or hotel.

Chefs sometimes are asked to record production and operational data on specified forms. and meet with patrons to consider menus for special occasions such as weddings and banquets. And finally, they sometimes have to supervise and direct efforts of cooks and staff working on food preparation.

Like many other jobs, chefs must be reliable and be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Dining Room Attendant. Facilitate food service. Clean tables, carry dirty dishes, replace soiled table linens; set tables; replenish supply of clean linens, silverware, and dishes; supply service bar with food, and serve water, butter, and coffee to patrons.
  • Fast Food Cook. Prepare and cook food in fast food restaurants with limited menus. Duties of the cooks are limited to preparation of a few basic items and normally involve operating large-volume single-purpose cooking equipment.
  • Food and Beverage Supervisor. Supervise workers engaged in preparing and serving food.
  • Institutional Cook. Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.
  • Personal Chef. Prepare meals in private homes.
  • Restaurant Chef. Prepare, season, and cook soups, meats, or other foodstuffs in restaurants. May order supplies, keep records and accounts, price items on menu, or plan menu.
  • Short Order Cook. Prepare and cook to order a variety of foods that require only a short preparation time. May take orders from customers and serve patrons at counters or tables.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Chef Training

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has 2 areas of study related to Chef. They are:

  • Baking and Pastry Arts/Baker/Pastry Chef, one to two year which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Culinary Arts/Chef Training, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated eight and fifteen students respectively in 2008.

College of Lake County - Grayslake, IL

College of Lake County, 19351 W Washington St., Grayslake, IL 60030-1198. College of Lake County is a large college located in Grayslake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 16,359 students. College of Lake County has a less than one year program in Culinary Arts/Chef Training which graduated seven students in 2008.

Saint Augustine College - Chicago, IL

Saint Augustine College, 1333-45 W Argyle, Chicago, IL 60640-3593. Saint Augustine College is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,275 students. Saint Augustine College has 2 areas of study related to Chef. They are:

  • Cooking and Related Culinary Arts, one to two year which graduated 48 students in 2008.
  • Culinary Arts/Chef Training, associate's degree.

Robert Morris College - Chicago, IL

Robert Morris College, 401 S State Street, Chicago, IL 60605. Robert Morris College is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,555 students and an admission rate of 79%. Robert Morris College has an associate's degree program in Culinary Arts/Chef Training which graduated 114 students in 2008.

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago - Chicago, IL

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, 350 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60654-1593. The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,900 students and an admission rate of 48%. The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago has 2 areas of study related to Chef. They are:

  • Baking and Pastry Arts/Baker/Pastry Chef, one to two year which graduated 20 students in 2008.
  • Culinary Arts/Chef Training, associate's degree which graduated 55 students in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has 2 areas of study related to Chef. They are:

  • Baking and Pastry Arts/Baker/Pastry Chef, less than one year which graduated 5 students in 2008.
  • Culinary Arts/Chef Training, one to two year which graduated 6 students in 2008.

The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago - Chicago, IL

The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, 361 W Chestnut, Chicago, IL 60610. The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,053 students. The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago has 2 areas of study related to Chef. They are:

  • Baking and Pastry Arts/Baker/Pastry Chef, associate's degree.
  • Culinary Arts/Chef Training, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated seventy-six and zero students respectively in 2008.

Joliet Junior College - Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431-8938. Joliet Junior College is a large college located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,088 students. Joliet Junior College has an associate's degree program in Culinary Arts/Chef Training which graduated thirty-one students in 2008.

Kendall College - Chicago, IL

Kendall College, 900 N. North Branch Ave, Chicago, IL 60622. Kendall College is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,958 students and an admission rate of 99%. Kendall College has less than one year, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree programs in Culinary Arts/Chef Training which graduated sixty-six, ninety-one, and twenty-five students respectively in 2008.

Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has 2 areas of study related to Chef. They are:

  • Baking and Pastry Arts/Baker/Pastry Chef, one to two year which graduated 4 students in 2008.
  • Culinary Arts/Chef Training, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated one and nine students respectively in 2008.

City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College, 6301 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60621-2709. City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College is a medium sized college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,873 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College has 2 areas of study related to Chef. They are:

  • Baking and Pastry Arts/Baker/Pastry Chef, less than one year which graduated 24 students in 2008.
  • Culinary Arts/Chef Training, less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree which graduated thirty-five, eleven, and nine students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Correctional Foodservice Professional: A key purpose of the Certified Correctional Foodservice Professional certification is to develop the highest standards in.

For more information, see the American Correctional Food Service Association website.

Preventing Disease Transmission: A two-hour training module for employers and employees who, while on the job, may be exposed to blood or other body fluids that could cause infection.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.

Quality Coffee Certification Program: The purpose of QCCP is to provide operators with sales tools and knowledge that will help them begin or enhance their own quality coffee program for their customers.

For more information, see the National Automatic Merchandising Association website.

LICENSES

CHEF, EXECUTIVE/KITCHEN MANAGER

Licensing agency: Illinois Gaming Board
Address: Willard Ice Building, P.O. Box 19474, Springfield, IL 62794-9474

Phone: (312) 814-4700
Website: Illinois Gaming Board

CHEF, SOUS

Licensing agency: Illinois Gaming Board
Address: Willard Ice Building, P.O. Box 19474, Springfield, IL 62794-9474

Phone: (312) 814-4700
Website: Illinois Gaming Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.