In recent times, dining out has become a trend. India is witnessing decent growth in the hospitality industry, specifically in metro and urban cities. People frequently visit hotels, restaurants, and clubs to try different delicious cuisine from various continents. Such hotels serving different continental cuisines are becoming popular among customers. Thus, chefs play a crucial role in the hospitality industry and also get astonishing perks when associated with good hotels. 

If you are among the ones who love cooking and dream of making it your profession while being a part of the hospitality industry then the article covers all the information regarding becoming a master chef and chef courses across India. 

What is a Master Chef?
A master chef is referred to as the chef de cuisine. It is an occupational title given to the main chef in the hotel or restaurant. According to the American Culinary Federation (ACF), one becomes a master chef if he qualifies below requirements:
Graduation from an accredited culinary institute
5 years of experience as a certified culinarian
Certified sous chef test passed
3 years experience as a sous chef
3 or more years of experience as a chef de cuisine
An ability to pass a rigorous ACF exam
Testing for the certified executive chef (CEC)
Two recommendations from certified master chefs
Ongoing education and testing along with several years of work experience
The certified master chef test passed 

These are the standards for a master chef set in America that take rigorous testing and exams of chefs willing to become a master chef. 

Becoming a Master Chef in India:
Like before, a master chef does not need decades of experience and be the most senior in the kitchen. Now, anybody can become a master chef with fundamental education,  with 4 Ps:
Practice and 
Candidates dreaming of becoming master chef needs to develop these skills and stay devoted to their career goal. Though candidates have big dreams, they should be supported with adequate education, training, experience, and skill set. Learning from accredited institutes and training or internship from top-class hotels are essential for candidates to start a great career ahead. 

Though the candidate gains basic culinary knowledge, to maintain particular opportunities and look forward to better opportunities, candidates need to develop their skill set such as problem solving, presence of mind, decision making, experimentation, and most important scientific knowledge of culinary arts. In the next section, let’s discuss chef courses offered in India and the eligibility criteria for these courses. 

Chef courses in India: 
Candidates willing to become a master chef in India need to complete 10+2 or equivalent education that makes them eligible for chef courses available in India. There are different chef courses offered in India by hotel management institutes across India. Certificate, diploma, and bachelor courses are available in cuisine art in top hotel management Institutes in India. Some of these courses include:

Craft certification course in food production
Craftsmanship course in food and beverage services
Craftsmanship course in food production and patisserie
Diploma in culinary arts
Diploma in bakery and confectionaries
Diploma in food and beverage services
Diploma in kitchen management
Bachelor of Arts Honors Culinary arts
Postgraduate diploma in culinary arts
Bachelor degree in catering technology and culinary arts
Bachelor of Arts (honors) culinary arts
Postgraduate diploma in culinary arts
Diploma in food & beverage service
Diploma in bakery and confectionery

While pursuing a course, the candidate should develop skills in other related fields like general management to benefit from specialisation. Some of the hospitality institutes in India offer master’s degrees in culinary arts. Candidates can develop skills based on their interests and capabilities, institutes India, so one needs to have an inborn love for food and to cook along with an experimental mind. Home science, chemistry, and nutritional knowledge are crucial for a chef while experimenting and preparing innovative dishes so that dishes become tasty and healthy. 

If a candidate or working chef professional is looking for specialization, they should opt for a certification or diploma course in nutrition besides the regular chef course. It will make the chef skilful while adding a strong educational background to the profile. These courses also boost the confidence of the candidate while working, experimenting, and serving different cuisines to guests and customers. 

There is a wide range of chef courses offered in India across several hotel management institutes. A few institutes collaborate with nearby or top class hotels to give candidates expert advice, lectures, as well as internships in such hotels. It helps candidates to gain practical knowledge and boost their confidence to work perfectly in hotels. Apart from getting educated, the candidate should develop essential skills through hotel management programs that include, but are not limited to,
Food production through theory, experiments, and practicals
Communication and soft skills
Housekeeping and general management
Business ethics
Human resource management
Public relations
Event management
Management and managerial skills
Nutrition science
Food science and technology
Travel management
Entrepreneurial  skills

These skills will help candidates to manage the work hassle-free and easy. 

Eligibility Criteria for Chef Courses in India:
If you are passionate about food and cooking, and thinking of changing your passion into a profession, then you must first educate yourself to represent your passion in a correct way. Several culinary art institutes are offering various types of chef courses across India. These courses have different eligibility criteria, as discussed below:

Short term (certificate) course: The duration of certificate courses lies within six months to a year. Candidates willing to pursue such culinary certificate courses must have completed the secondary school certificate (SSC) with a minimum of 40% marks. 

Diploma course: These courses are taught in detail compared to short term courses. The duration of these courses is one year. A candidate must be at least cleared their higher secondary certificate (HSC) with a minimum of 40% marks having English as a compulsory subject. Yes, the candidate must learn English while entering the hotel management industry!

Degree (graduate) course: Many hotel management and culinary art institutes in India offer three year graduate degree courses in culinary arts and science. Candidates willing to take admission in the culinary art graduate course must have completed HSC with a minimum of 50% marks. Some of the institutes also hold their own entrance test to test the eligibility of candidates for a degree course. 

Post graduate (PG) diploma course: These courses offer specializations in different branches of culinary art. It adds value to the candidates’ profile, making them a better career option in a particular discipline. These courses generally have a duration of 6 months to a year. Candidates must have completed a degree course while applying for a PG diploma course. 

Post-graduate (masters) course: Candidates interested in adding specialization to their specific subfield apply for a masters course. These courses include detailed study, training, internships and skill development within the particular subject area.

Though several institutes and expert chefs already provided online courses before the COVID-19 pandemic, the pandemic accelerated online education. Apart from offline or in-campus culinary courses, many institutes offer online masters courses to candidates. Though the hotel industry was affected due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was one of the vital support for people staying alone and away from families. 

Becoming a master chef is a dream of many candidates who are passionate about the food industry and cooking. It is a long-term process of developing oneself as a master chef. Though experience plays a critical role in becoming a master chef, having fundamental education, training, and specializations are important to fulfill the criteria to be a master chef. 

Several culinary art and hotel management institutes have been established in India in recent years due to the significant growth in the hotel management and hospitality industry in India over the past  few decades. These institutes have evolved and advanced themselves with changes in the hotel industry. They provide advanced education, adequate training, and internships to their students to prepare them for the dynamic and vast nature of the culinary arts and hospitality industry. These institutes also offer online courses for distance learning and create a platform to learn and develop skill sets remotely.

Candidates and professionals who dream about being a master chef should add several certifications, degrees and years of experience to their profile to be eligible for being a master chef. The article discussed several chef courses offered in India and their eligibility criteria, creating a base for entrance into the hotel industry. 

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