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What really makes a great chef?: 7 inspiring quotes & tips from famous chefs

What makes a great chef? There are many qualities a chef needs if they want to stand out as exceptional. There is more to being a chef who knows all the chopping techniques. There are special traits and experiences that can help transform you into a great chef. The best way to create a list on how to be a great chef is to get advice from the best, so we’ve got some amazing quotes from famous chefs.




Be a perfectionist - Giada De Laurentiis

Have aspirations - Marco Pierre White

Experiment - Jamie Oliver

Travel - Graham Elliot

Be a respectful leader - Heston Blumenthal

Be willing to work as part of a team - Gordon Ramsay

It’s never too late - Julia Child


Be a perfectionist


“I’m into very colourful food. Obviously lots of flavour, but I think we eat with our eyes first, so it has to look great. The presentation has to be great.”

Giada De Laurentiis


Along with taste, appearance is very important. When you’ve worked in 5 star restaurants, you understand how important presentation is. Cooking and preparing food is more than just that, it’s an art too. If you’re looking for ways on how to become a great chef, you need to practice and perfect your techniques.


All famous chefs specialise in an area of cooking, find where you shine and perfect it!





Have aspirations


“I can’t imagine anything worse than trying to impress a girl with dinner. To be honest, I’m always impressing myself, not other people.”

Marco Pierre White


Just because you’ve been promoted to head chef doesn’t mean your career journey stops there. You need to keep pushing boundaries and have the passion to keep on going. Stay true to your aspirations and focus on your own goals. If you’re not cooking to impress yourself, then what’s the point in being a chef?



“Real food doesn’t have ingredients, real food is ingredients.”

Jamie Oliver


To be a great chef, you have to be willing to experiment. All the great chefs are willing to try something new and push the boundaries in what they know.







“My Dad was in the Navy, so we moved around a lot. That led to me seeing myriad cultures and cuisines. I have been excited about eating and cooking for as long as I can remember.”

Graham Elliot

Although this isn’t an essential experience for successful chefs, it is an excellent opportunity to develop your skills. Travelling around the world, gives you the chance to try new techniques and experience different ways in cooking.  

Be a respectful leader


“I haven’t raised my voice for eight to ten years in the kitchen. And I won’t have anybody shouting. If I hear of anybody having a go at anyone else, they’ll get disciplined.”

Heston Blumenthal


There is a stereotype that head chefs shout and scream at their colleagues. That’s a common misconception about chefs. In real life, the best chefs are able to communicate with their teams effectively. Shouting, doesn’t improve work performance or encourage respect. Successful chefs summon respect naturally and are willing to assist their colleagues.  





Be willing to work as part of a team


“There’s a bond among a kitchen staff, I think. You spend more time with your chef in the kitchen than you do with your own family.”

Gordon Ramsay


Working in a kitchen means you will quickly establish strong bonds with the people you work with. It’s important you’re able to work together if you want to be a great chef. Successful kitchens are only successful because each member of the kitchen staff can work together effectively.



It’s never too late


“I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.”

Julia Child


It’s never too late to become a chef. If you have a passion and all the qualities we have mentioned above, you have the potential to be an exceptional chef.


Along with the right qualities, you need to look the part. We’ve created a guide on what clothes and shoes chefs need to wear. Check out our shop to buy your chef shoes.






Do you know what type of chef you want to be?

Deciding what type of chef you want to be can be difficult, especially when there are so many different types of chefs out there. So, we created this free Complete Guide to Chef jobs which outlines every job in the industry. It includes individual profiles, salary expectations and much more.



Tags: Life @ Work
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