Technically, a person can become a chef without any formal education by working up through the ranks of kitchen staff. However, many aspiring chefs complete two- or four-year culinary degrees at a community college, technical school or culinary school to improve their career opportunities.
A culinary education allows a chef to gain experience in kitchen health and safety, menu development and food preparation. A typical culinary program also includes an internship experience where the students work hands-on in a restaurant kitchen. Along with education, chefs can develop creative abilities and business acumen by working as a cook or sous chef with a veteran chef.