How to Turn Cooking into a Career

For more than two decades, Xavier Villada had spent countless hours in the hectic film and TV industry. But while the glamorous life of Hollywood North was fun at first, he wondered what a career in the culinary arts would be like. So finally one day he called it quits and turned to his passion, baking, and enrolled himself in culinary training. He hasn’t looked back ever since.

Villada’s decision is one that many food-lovers have probably thought of at one time or another, especially after a tough day at the office. If you have a penchant for preparing delicious dishes in the kitchen or whipping up amazing desserts in your spare time, it’s hard not to get dreamy-eyed when thinking about a potential career-making your passion a reality.

But where does one even start?


Sure, working in a kitchen gives you hands-on experience, or hocking your goods at a market is instantly gratifying. But if you’re looking for a real culinary career, on the job training is where you’ll learn all of the basics and what it actually takes to take your skills to that next level—whether that be as a chef, a recipe developer, a food entrepreneur or any other gig in the food industry.

“My formal training was geared around the traditional French methods for every aspect of cooking,” Villada says. “So by the end, you are most certainly ready to move on as a professional cook or otherwise. The French method is the standard of the industry and the formal training is to make sure you’re ready for it.”
In the end, Villada didn’t want to work in a professional kitchen right away—he opted to bring his brand of baked goods to a local market over the summer and fall where his speciality cinnamon rolls were an instant success. And now he’s looking to take that venture to the next level, something his formal training allows him to do.

“The training prepared me to be able to have the skills and the confidence to start my career as a baker,” he says. “It has moved my career forward 100 per cent. I went from no career in the industry to now a baker and maybe tomorrow as a cook and the day after that as a caterer… The job potential is ongoing.”

He notes that no matter what aspect of the industry you’re hoping to pursue, it’s important to tackle the basics first and that only a place like culinary training can prepare you for the high-stakes and rewarding future potentially in store.

“I don’t think you can become a chef without the course it,” he says. “I most definitely recommend it to anyone thinking of pursuing a career in the field.”

Sounds like an appetizing first-course career choice to us.

Brought to you by the Ontario College of Trades.

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