“If you are not busy being born; you are busy dying!!”

Bob Dylan the influential American singer-songwriter, author, and painter penned the above lines and it is one of the most powerful statements that I have ever read or heard. (He uses these words in one of his songs too... It’s Alright Ma!)

A profound statement no doubt and I wonder what meaning it holds for you? For me it serves as an inspiration to reinvent myself time & again and that is what has aided me progress ahead in all walks of my life.

We all have dreams and aspirations. Well most of us do and it should be so, or else life becomes meaningless, without a purpose so to say. Without a direction, it would not matter which side of the bed you got up from and how your day advanced. You could be well whiling away your time doing nothing of significance and go to bed not having accomplished anything much at all.

However, for the majority of us who have an inclination to development from where we stand today, re-modelling and revitalizing our lives is of utmost importance. Keeping in mind our future success and what we envision for ourselves, the way to achieving the same is by doing whatever it takes to take us a notch higher and closer to where we wish to see ourselves.

And whilst this holds true for all aspects of your Wheel of Life, I would like to focus on the career facet and what you could do as a Chef to align yourself to the targets that you have  set for yourself.

Model your future by considering the following points:

 

1. Grow up the ladder

You could be a chef who is just starting out, or someone who has already been working in the kitchen for a while; the next milestone for you would be to aim for the next level in the kitchen hierarchy. Identify what you must add to your skill-set to get you that position. Could be a qualification that is missing on your CV that keeps you from moving up. Learn, upgrade and get scaling.

2. Add a new skill

Yet another scenario could be that you have the required qualification to get you that promotion, but you could be lacking on some cuisine specific knowledge that could give you the possible edge over the others. Take up any specialized course training or the next level of qualification that will give your career that push you have been waiting for. You could even consider traveling to a new destination for a couple of days or weeks to learn the local cuisine in all its authenticity.

3. Know your mission 

Then again, for some of you the bigger goal might be migrating to more promising shores. With countries like Australia and Canada that are always on the lookout for skilled experts in the F&B space and open their boundaries to welcome good talent, this could be your gateway to a completely different and exciting life. Countries like USA & Spain have impressive paid internship opportunities for chefs that could be valuable learning, some great cross-cultural exposure and perhaps a new portal to explore the possibilities therein.

Getting employed on-board cruise lines is another well remunerated lucrative option that also allows you to travel the globe whilst you work.

4. Set a Career Timeline

Once you know what is it that you are aiming for, set a time frame to achieve the same. You would not want to miss out on the chance of a breakthrough only because you did not plan the journey well.

5. Get a Mentor

A mentor will help you identify the way ahead and guide you to get on the right track. Your mentor should be preferably from within the food industry itself as he would then know the in and out of the industry buzz. It is also important to choose a mentor who has extensive network and the connections to direct you and set you on the best course as per your career & life goals.

 

Now that you have chartered out your career & life trajectory, the next logical step is to put the plan into action. Research and reach out to professional entities which have an authority in the domain; that way you are assured that your money and time are not wasted in activities that lead you nowhere.

That leads us to the most critical point in the decision-making. Where to go?

Tough choice that one, but if the entity has all the apparatus in place to mould and hone
you as a chef and going forward provides you with fruitful solutions leading you to your
goals, it can’t go wrong.

The International Centre for Culinary Arts, Dubai is one such school that checks all the indicators listed below, ascertaining that you have opted for the finest.

 

1) Accreditations & Recognitions

ICCA Dubai has an Accredited Centre status from City & Guilds, London. City & Guilds qualifications are a global benchmark for vocational excellence, integrity & quality assessment and comes along with the City & Guilds Europass Certificate Supplement. ICCA also has a “Recognition of Quality Culinary Education” by the World Association of Chefs Societies (Worldchefs). The Worldchefs recognition provides a competitive advantage and assures employers of a candidate’s quality culinary education.

ICCA Dubai is an official licensed KHDA institute. The Food Safety & Implementation training programs are conducted in collaboration with Highfield UK and are recognized by the Dubai Municipality, Government of Dubai. The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), Ministry of Education, and the National Qualification Authority (NQA) UAE, recognize all programs delivered here.

2) Location & Facilities

Located in Dubai, which is the considered the hub of World Class Hospitality, gives its students the exposure and the opportunity to work in some of the finest hotels & resorts. The state-of-the-art facilities built in Dubai Knowledge Village, the world’s only Free Zone dedicated to learning excellence, and has won the Interior Design of the Year for Public & Educational Sector  - Commercial Interior Design (CID) Awards 2014.

 

3) Chef Instructors

With a cohort of Chef Instructors from across the globe and who carry years of invaluable experience working in the industry as stalwarts in their own right, they not only teach but also guide the students to carry on the legacy that they have in turn inherited from their mentors.

4) Curriculum & Training

The intensive Vocational Education Training (VET) program of 620 hours of intensive guided learning in Classical Continental Cuisine and industry-centred training is delivered by City & Guilds London certified trainers.

At the end of the program the students are awarded the City & Guilds London - Level 2 Diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking (Culinary Arts) (8065-02). The Advanced Diploma, City & Guilds London - Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Food Preparation and Cookery Supervision (8065-04), is for those who aspire to set up a restaurant, cafe and helps one to progress into a supervisory post within the Food Production industry or even become successful Entrepreneurs.

 

5) Specialization Options

With an array of courses being offered at the ICCA, the student has the choice of adding a
niche skill to his repertoire in addition to the Professional Diploma. Sugarcraft, Artisan Bread
& Chocolate, Pizza are some courses that can be additionally taken to up-skill oneself.

6) An Opportunity to Study & Work in the Business Hub of the World

When it comes to Tourism & International Business, Dubai is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world because of its thriving hospitality with an impressive track record for its consistency in high occupancy rates and expansions.

The hospitality industry of the UAE is all set for a new phase of exponential growth with the World Expo coming up in 2020. This said will be further opening new doors to endless possibilities within the industry.

 

7) The ICCA PATHWAYS Program

The ICCA PATHWAYS Program is a way of enabling opportunities for Chefs world over. Be it Work Placement in Dubai, Internship opportunities in the USA or Spain, Skilled Migration to Australia or Canada, Openings on board Cruise Liners, or as a stepping stone to further Education in Switzerland; PATHWAYS is a one-stop hand-held program which ensures that your dreams turn to reality.

The Program additionally entails all aspects of employability training such as technical knowledge & skills learning & reinforcement, interview preparations, personality development - all round grooming & poise, industry attitude & confidence building, and trade test taking to help the Chefs trained to seamlessly integrate, effectively deliver and succeed in their choice of progression.

A dedicated PATHWAYS team ensures persistent support to aspirants at all times.

 

8) Strategic partnerships

ICCA Dubai has entered into strategic partnerships with many world leading Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s), Suppliers and Training Resource Providers, to help provide the highest quality Industry Standard training and expose student chefs to latest technology and international operation trends.

 

9) Awards Won

ICCA Dubai has to its credit the following awards that make it the choice of school for many wanting a culinary career.

  • International Centre of Excellence Award-Middle East – City & Guilds Lion Awards 2016
  • International Centre of the Year Award – City & Guilds Lion Awards 2016
  • Cooking School of the Year - The PRO Chef Awards 2016
  • Best Digital Initiative of the Year - The ASBU BroadcastPro Award 2016
  • Caterer Middle East Power List 2016: Mr. Sunjeh Raja - ICCA Dubai's CEO & Director
  • Training Champion - The PRO Chef Awards 2014
  • Caterer Middle East Power List 2014: Mr. Sunjeh Raja - ICCA Dubai's CEO & Director

 

10) Industry Influencers

The ICCA Dubai Annual One Million Dirhams, Continuing Education Award executed in strategic partnership with The Emirates Culinary Guilds (ECG) and supported by World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) is the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Program.

The objective of this internationally renowned and much acclaimed initiative is to annually train talented & deserving, but financially underprivileged young chefs in the Industry.

Driven by innovation and striving for excellence, ICCA is all about leadership and is more than just a school… This is where lives happen!!

If you are not yet where you want to be, it’s time to reinvent yourself. Inertia inevitably leads to stagnation, and that eventually spells doom. As old wisdom goes… Stir up the waters to catch some fish!!!