Factors Affect The Culinary Career Development Management Essay

After studied the course of Contemporary Issues in Hospitality and Tourism Development which this course gave many interesting new ideas on the research topic and more focus on the issue of the culinary career. According to the issue , this project aims to explore the driving forces and trends in the culinary career in the modern era in Thailand, which found that most of the executive chef in 4-5 stars international hotel in Thailand are foreigners, that is the major issue in the Thai chef industry of Thailand, that have to analyze the factors influencing the culinary career development into a higher level position as, Executive chef, Chef de cuisine, Head chef in 4-5 stars international hotel, such as, competences, creativities, culture, knowledge, skills, and innovative. This project will be useful as a guidelines of the important factors for most of cooks for opportunities and self-improvement in kitchen department as “Executive chef” that will provide the important indications to hotels for building a good brand image and good quality of food service, give curiosity and developing the active attitude that encourage cooks to love their occupation and build their dynamic experience. That seeks to address this issue in hospitality industry by using a qualitative research method, case study, focus group, and in-depth interviews of senior executive chef, Kitchen staff.

Keywords: Foreigner executive chef; Competences; Skills; Opportunities;

Culinary career development

Statement of the problem

Today, the hospitality industry is more and more competitive. Chefs must be able to create and innovate to attract new customers by understanding their satisfaction and sophisticated demands. More than ever before, restaurant consumers in particular are looking for new and unique experiences. To meet this challenge there has recently been more emphasis on innovation in the culinary service industry, even on the notion of “culinary creativity” (Horng & Hu, 2008), and on the importance of innovation competency (Fisscher et at, 2001).(Ulrich,1996). Said that understanding human resources competencies was the core of the emerging HR profession. Other studies emphasized the importance of chefs’ occupational competences (Birdir & Pearson, 2000). Moreover, in order to provide new and more innovative products and services to customers, there is an emerging consensus that innovative competence is a key factor in any chef’s or restaurant’s success. There are many obstacles to become a professional chef, “Executive chef” training of food preparation and hygiene is seen to be essential, a chef “must be able to work quickly and effectively under pressure and have appropriate motor skills and manual dexterity” (Lee-Ross,1999 p.344), then the culinary technical without continuously practical will not progress. In the kitchen, it’s hot and uncomfortable, and cooks have to be attentive about the quality of food product consistently. There does exist “a long tradition culinary authoritarianism” (The Sunday Time, 4 November 2001 p. 15). Gordon Ramsay (World famous chef) insists that “a kitchen has to be assertive, boisterous, aggressive environment, or nothing happens” (Hollweg, 2001, p.9). That why some leave from this career because they cannot endure with the conditions and attitudes.


1. Why most of the Executive chef in 4-5 stars international hotel in Thailand are foreigners?

2. What are the factors that promote and encourage the cook to a higher position as Executive chef in 4-5 stars international hotel in Thailand?

3. How the cook can add value to their culinary career?

4. What are the important factors that could cause skills and competences shortage in culinary career development?

5. How the government and private sector can participate and promote to develop the culinary career by upgrading the ordinary cooks into a higher position as “Executive chef”?

Context and Justification for the project

Research context

The researcher will use qualitative research method by using in-depth interviews with creative culinary artists, kitchen staff, and content analysis of innovative competence, coding and compressing information, a grounded theory will be used to analyze the data and develop a descriptive model of innovative culinary competency. According to a grounded theory consists of a set of systematic procedures that seek to inductively derive a theory about a particular phenomenon (Strauss & Corbin, 1997). The project will be credibility by participants provided documents such as award certificates, news reports, photographs and written autobiography.

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Definition of terms

Below are various titles given to those working in a professional kitchen and each can be considered a title for a type of chef. Many of the titles are based on the brigade de cuisine (or brigade system) documented by Auguste Escoffier, while others have a more general meaning depending on the individual kitchen.

Executive chef and head chef, Chef de cuisine

This person is in charge of all things related to the kitchen which usually includes menu creation; management of kitchen staff; ordering and purchasing of inventory; and plating design. Chef de cuisine is the traditional French term from which the English word chef is derived. Head chef is often used to designate someone with the same duties as an executive chef, but there is usually someone in charge of them, possibly making the larger executive decisions such as direction of menu, final authority in staff management decisions, etc. This is often the case for chefs with several restaurants.

Sous-chef de Cuisine (under-chef of the kitchen) is the second in command and direct assistant of the Executive Chef. This person may be responsible for scheduling and substituting when the Executive Chef is off-duty and will also fill in for or assist the Chef de Partie (line cook) when needed. Smaller operations may not have a Sous-chef, but larger operations may have several.


The expediter (in French: AHYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Aboyeur&action=edit&redlink=1″boyeur) takes the orders from the dining room and relays them to the stations in the kitchen. This person also often puts the finishing touches on the dish before it goes to the dining room. In some operations this task may be done by either the executive chef or the Sous-chef.

Chef de partie

A chef de partie, also known as a “station chef” or “line cook” is in charge of a particular area of production. In large kitchens, each station chef might have several cooks and/or assistants. In most kitchens however, the station chef is the only worker in that department. Line cooks are often divided into a hierarchy of their own, starting with “first cook”, then “second cook”, and so on as needed.

(Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 2011)

Outline of methodology


Data collection will during for 6 months, by visiting four-five star hotels in 4 regions of Thailand. All interviews follow a prescribed interview schedule to ensure that all of the issues were discussed. Guaranteed confidentiality, inform to the hotel owners and General Manager of hotel about the purpose of the project and the in-depth interviews will be conducted using semi-structured, open-ended questions. Each interview, which lasted about 2 hours, included questions on subjects’ individual backgrounds, the competencies used to create an innovative culinary, that is the ways to obtain an ideas for innovative works and factors influencing the culinary career development .


The participants for this project will be well-known creative culinary artists, executive chef, kitchen staff from four-five star hotels, the these 20 participants will be divided into two groups, group A: well-known creative culinary artists, executive chef, group B: kitchen staff, in order to collect the background information about their work in the field of culinary career.

Data analysis

This research will be adopted by a grounded theory approach for analyzing the qualitative data (Corbin and Holt, 2005). The triangulation of varied data will be used to increase the validity and reliability of this research (Liamputtong and Ezzy, 2005). The data analysis will be conducted based on the transcriptions of interviews, related documents, and the research field notes, which included summary notes, timetables, field journal entries and reflections. All the interview data will be transcribed and coded. Data coding and grouping were ongoing processes, along with the data-collecting process. As the process of re-coding and re-grouping proceeded, the analyzed data will be re-clustered. In the final stage, key issues common to all the culinary artists will be identified and duplicated items will be eliminated. The meaning and context of this research will be constructed through a process of qualitative analysis (Liamputtong and Ezzy, 2005).Then the nature of the culinary career, the factors that influence the development of culinary career, and the “context” will be categorized and analysis using the LISREL program before conclusions.

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Literature review

Culinary competency

The study of competency is important step toward the professionalization in the culinary career development. There are many definitions of competence or competency. Competence that can be the concept of intelligence, with the components being skills, knowledge, judgment, attitudes and values, ability and capacity (Birdir & Pearson, 2000, p. 205). Some research has suggested that the job competency is an underlying characteristic of a person which results in effective and/or superior performance in a job (e.g., Boyatzis, 1982).But Others said that competence relates to work tasks, results and outputs, and includes knowledge, skills and attitudes. The American Compensation Association’s (1996) survey of 217 companies revealed the following significant insights. Of those companies using competencies for staffing, 88% used competency-based interviews for hiring/selection decisions, and 62% developed or acquired competencies specifically for training or learning programmes. In relation to performance management, 90% used competency-based performance appraisal data for employee development. Regarding compensation, 64% reported that pay increase decisions were affected most by change or growth in competencies. According to McLagan (1996), competency models can be used as the criteria for the following: training curriculum design; recruitment, selection and assessment; coaching, counselling and mentoring; career development and success planning. McLagan (1997) argued that competency relates to work tasks, results and outputs, and the characteristics of people doing the work: knowledge, skills and attitudes. Successful restaurant businesses create repeat and loyal customers by providing unforgettable experiences. Based on competence definitions in earlier literature, the term competence used in this study is defined as skills, ability, knowledge and other attributes that make a successful chef.

Culture competency

Culture is an important element that will add value in cooking for chef to create innovative new products in the melting pot culture, both locally and overseas to be used in cooking by trying to sent a meaningful way culture through food, culture, art history and aesthetics of different countries and social landscape that can be broadcast over the plates. This will demonstrate the ability of a chef who can create new knowledge in the new style preparation by the combination of skills, techniques, and food preparation culture in the various types of cooking, including create understanding and positive attitude toward different food culture.

Aesthetic competency

The creation of art and color to foods that sustain a sense of eating, just not only feel good but also help to relieve the pressures of everyday life. And fulfilling poetic flavor and aesthetics while eating that play a psychological role. The chef must be creative and know how to add value to the food. Understand the trends and economic activity that drives the innovative new way of cooking, including basic concepts. Knowledge with a new line of art and stylishness, and a positive attitude towards food, beautiful presentation, which affects the culture of the human diet.

Product competency

View of marketing and commercial risks with innovative products, which are necessary to insure the risks associated with the commitment and creativity of the chefs make the food. Thus, to create such an attitude must be caused by the perception of the chef about the movement of the market at present, it is essential that the chef must have the ability to create new products. The knowledge and know-how to offer products that are authentic. It has the ability to create a commercial market. Principles of the ingredients properly, and how to invent new recipes. These results support the results of Horng and Lin (2009), the product must have good taste and most importantly, a recognition of the food market. The dietary habits of people today will focus on the importance of health and environmental protection. The chef must understand the market trends in the future as well.

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Service competency

Skills and expertise in food preparation, the principles of professional chefs, chef must have an understanding of consumer psychology and assessment, and should understand the importance of the delivery of food, atmosphere and new ways of providing services. Such as Skills of flambé dessert services, human relationship with customers, can make claims and accept complaints from customers that can occur at any time, Knowledge about food and beverage matching, the ability to communicate with customers and a positive attitude towards service. These results support studies related to the new concept of dining experience (Gustafsson, Ã-ström, Johansson and Mossberg, 2006), in the process of service delivery, the chef must know how to use wine in the food to keep taste and distinguished. Thus knowledge and principles in adding new services is essential for modern chefs.

Management competency

Chefs will be able to handle, development of innovative applications such as knowledge management, innovation process, knowledge of current and future trends of food, the ability to collect and manage data as a positive attitude to change and crisis, and especially the ability innovation management during the development of innovative cooking, experience in the service market, it is important for the service and tourism industry because experience does not exist at the core of products and services offered by businesses (Schmitt, 1999). Thus, to understand what the customer is considered will be the important element to point out the direction in product development that is compatible with the customer needs.

Creative competency

Chefs must have the individual creativity that is the important key for the innovative process, such as an express creativity, knowledge of basic culinary science, the ability to use divergent thinking, a positive attitude to developing new ideas and optimism. These results are compatible with those of Horng and Hu (2008), and Horng and Lee’s (2009) according to the study about culinary creativity. I agree that creativity during the development process is very important key to be successful and have the competence of finding and solving problems in their culinary career.


The result of this research will be the important key and provide more factors for cooks and Thai chef on the solving the issue of culinary career development into a higher position. But this issue should also be helped and supported by the Thai government by giving the opportunities to the ordinary cooks and chefs to upgrade their positions, such as, inform and promote them by support the budget for going to training on the kitchen department in other countries, which are well-known for “Culinary Art” and “Standard Hospitality Service Quality”. Such as, French, Switzerland, United Kingdom, The United States of America, and etc.

This will be useful for them to correctly cooking and learning the real nature of food ingredients that can increase their knowledge, skills, competency, food culture, and other experiences, which will prove their talents and will proudly be accepted by the “Executive chef association” in the International Hotels of Thailand.

Conceptual framework

Research Design

Qualitative Methodology

– Case study

– Focus group

– In- depth interview

Explore culinary career development model


5. Review the goals and decision continuously


1. Identify the preference and competencies


2. Identify and research the options


4. Develop the action plan


3. Narrow search and focus on the goals

Activities of research project

First year 2012

Second year 2013

Third year 2014

Sept.- Feb.

Mar.- Aug.

Sept.- Feb.

Mar.- Aug.

Sept.- Feb.

Mar.- Aug.

Develop Research Proposal

and obtain approval

Develop and test questions

Develop and test tool

Obtain participants

Administer instrument

Ongoing data collection and analysis

Final collection of data

Research Report

Project plan

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Type of Paper
Number of Pages
(275 words)