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Job Description of a Tandoori Chef

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a tandoori chef. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties, and work conditions to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

Tandoori chefs use clay ovens known as tandoors in baking and cooking. These chefs often have experience or training in Indian cuisine, particularly in creating marinades and rubs. Chefs typically learn their trade through experience, though culinary programs and classes are available at the college level.

Required Education Cooking experience and knowledge
Projected Job Growth* 5% between 2012 and 2022 (Chefs and head cooks)
Median Salary (2013)* $42,490 (Chefs and head cooks)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description of a Chef

In general, chefs instruct and oversee a kitchen staff in food preparation and production for a restaurant, cafeteria, or other food service facility. They might determine a restaurant's menu, adjust item pricing, develop new recipes, purchase culinary supplies, cook, and/or manage the restaurant.

Chefs and other workers involved in food handling must observe safety and sanitation procedures. They also might help reinforce federal and state mandates regarding health codes. Chefs implement guidelines in keeping utensils, food equipment, storage chambers, and cooking areas clean. They also check the freshness and quality of ingredients to prevent contamination and food-related illness.

Chefs might talk with customers to gauge their level of satisfaction and evaluate the quality of service that the establishment provides. They might deal directly with businesses or individual clients who want to organize catering and banquet activities for corporate events, birthday parties, weddings, or other celebrations. Additionally, chefs coordinate with the kitchen staff to create new dishes. They also might train kitchen personnel in cooking techniques, food garnishing, and presentation.

Work conditions for chefs include potential dangers, such as hot ovens and stovetop pans, slippery floors, and sharp knives. Chefs might work long hours, including weekends and evenings, because of morning food deliveries and the planning and preparation of meals during the day.

Tandoori Chefs

To become a tandoori chef, individuals must learn to cook using a tandoor, a brick or clay oven commonly used in Indian-style cooking. The tandoor, which is heated by charcoal or gas, may have rounded sides and stand as high as five feet. Traditional tandoors usually are placed outside because of the heat and smoke; however, some modern tandoors have ventilation systems that allow them to be used indoors.

A tandoor cooks by quickly searing and sealing the outside of food items such as fish, meat, and bread. Traditionally, food items are dyed orange and marinated in dry spices or a sauce. Tandoori chefs must take special care in ensuring that food is cooked evenly since the temperature in the tandoor can vary from bottom to top. Tandoori-cooked food not immediately consumed is usually kept under a heat lamp or refrigerated for later use.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of chefs and head cooks, including tandoori chefs, is expected to grow 5% between 2012 and 2022, which is slower than average. The BLS also reported the median annual salary earned by chefs and head cooks as $42,490 in May 2013.

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