From the kitchen to the front desk and behind the scenes of the office administration, the hospitality and culinary industries are more than just a challenge it’s an adventure! Learning to dodge flying knives, out of hand customers and managing working hours is a skilled art that makes this career path both challenging and all so adventurous.
 
Ruth Paulsen from the International Hotel School (based in South Africa), gives us the lowdown of both the hospitality and culinary careers market and why they are so well sort after!  

Chapter 1: Starters….
 
1. The Culinary industry, does it take more than just a fancy hat to cook up a storm in a kitchen?  
“Yes of course, the hat is there for hygiene purposes but learning the skill of cooking and working your way through a kitchen from the bottom up is something that takes ambition and commitment”.
 
A kitchen is made up of a Chef of a Kitchen (Chef de cuisine, executive chef and head chef), a Sous-Chef de Cuisine (works under the chef of the kitchen), an Expediter (who relays orders from the dinning room to the kitchen), a Chef de partie (a specialised chef), a Commis (the apprentice) and of course the kitchen assistant (because someone has to peal potatoes!).
 
2. The hospitality industry, what is it and how does it work?
“This is separate to the cuisine/culinary industry, it’s more the service and business side of the industry. Learning how to run a hotel to managing customers is not easy and it takes solid study and practice”.
 
3. Salaries, it’s a question that dictates peoples choices into choosing a career how does this leverage when one enters the hospitability or the culinary industry?
 
“This is variable because both industries are so vast and dependant on so many factors, however rewards are there to be achieved if one puts in hard work. So the more you put in the more you will get out and the faster you will progress. These are industries for people willing to put in the hours”
 
4. Qualifications, practical experience and international opportunities, how does this all work in the hospitality and culinary industries?
 
“There are many ways to enter either industry, studying for a qualification is extremely popular, doing a traineeship (which allows you to work and study at the same time) and of course getting your hands dirty by working in the industry from the start to learn as you work. International opportunities are abundant and if you have a solid qualification that is properly accredited the world is at your feet. At the same time having a good set of work experience behind your name is also another positive selling point. From a South African perspective, we find a large number of students are coming from overseas to learn the trade of either the hospitality or culinary industry in South Africa. Which is great for the country as it’s a representation of the standard of the industries in the country. So if you want to learn skills here that can take you abroad then South Africa has the platform to make this happen. The fact that foreigners are using South Africa as their training ground is a testament to this.”
 
Hotel School_pro5. Are these industries becoming first choice career options or are the standard career paths that universities position an individual towards still overshadowing these industries?
 
“At times yes, however its really the individual who stands to benefit if they are serious enough in wanting to pursue a career, whether it’s a university or private institution, its about self fulfillment and being the best you can be. So if you can motivate yourself and your investors (people supporting you towards your career choice) then it’s really a mindset ahead of a financial or opportunity set of challenges.”
 
6. Seriously is the hat in the kitchen really necessary?
“Yes and most of the time there is an apron to go with it as well!”

Find out more about the Hospitality industry at the International Hotel School on www.hotelschool.co.za