Know the industry you're getting in to
Focus on the food, learn as much as you can about all the different ingredients in the world, build knowledge through researching. See your career ahead as a journey as a road to discovery.
The industry is not easy. However, if you put in the work, the long hours, the respect, the courage and the drive, you will learn and cook every day. It is a very rewarding industry.
There are going to be some very tough days ahead. Days that you would want to quit because of a hard day, possibly with people screaming at you. And some people that just put you off of the industry. But don't give up!
Build your knowledge constantly
In my journey so far. I have worked for a lot of people and chefs that have influenced and motivated me to be who I am today, while on the other hand I have been building knowledge, skills, techniques and learning about all that the food industry has to offer. If I see something that I don't know how to do, I try to apply to work at the place where I can learn this new skill and build my knowledge.
Step out of your comfort zone
For example, cheese - I didn't know anything about cheese until a head chef position opened at a cheese shop. Even though it was completely off the road that I was on, I wanted a new challenge, and I had a hunger to learn. I applied for the job and I managed to get invited to an interview. At first, the owner was sceptical of my age, so I said that I would work one month free to show that I have what it takes and that I am an extremely fast learner. Within 3 days, I was hired. Because I did my research, I was able to study cheese and build my knowledge - I studied different techniques and styles of how to cook with cheese, and it paid off.
Be a positive influence
They say that 1 year with a great chef is better than 10 years with a good chef. And that is true - unless you stay with a chef for 10 years that has a positive impact on you and who influences you to be better every day, someone that allows you to grow within the business. Then this isn't true.
Explore new roles
As a young chef, you can choose to work for a Michelin star, 1 Hat, a Plate or a 5-star restaurant which every you think will challenge you, but that you also have to have the hunger and drive to rise to the challenge. You can also choose something completely different after working as a chef for at least 4 years. You may look to the sea and work for a cruise liner, this involves very long hours, but you travel, work extremely hard, and you are well paid, which makes it worth it. After 2 to 3 years on a cruise liner, you can take that one step further and become a private yacht or super-yacht chef. This is basically the same, but you get paid a lot more.
You might want to try food photography, food styling, food journalism. You may want to become a private chef, an island chef, a train chef or an in-flight chef. The point is that the world is a big place and there are opportunities everywhere. If one comes up while you are working or you are looking for one, make the choice to take it.
Make the most of being a chef
A chefs job is not to stay in one place forever - it is to explore the world, discover, create a journey, work for free, learn, build your experience as much as possible, teach people in different countries and if you get the chance, make a difference and give back. But most of all respect the ingredients - stay green, and use only sustainable ingredients if possible. Try to get involved in farm to table restaurants and live a great, rewarding life.