Culinary career attracts young Vietnamese

An increasing number of young people in Vietnam these days are opting for a job or even starting up their business in the culinary field. Statistics show that this is a highly potential field at the moment, yet it also poses various demands for those wishing to pursue culinary jobs.

Young cooks are displaying their dishes in a tourism festival in Ho Chi Minh City
Young cooks are displaying their dishes in a tourism festival in Ho Chi Minh City

Obviously, many films lately from Hong Kong (China), Taiwan (China), Korea, Japan, and Vietnam have demonstrated the success of chefs thanks to their hard-working spirit. This has greatly inspired the public, changing their attitude towards the job that is traditionally regarded as a low-income one mostly for females.

According to Nguyen Truong Giang, a cook specialized in Vietnamese dishes and owner of a restaurant in To Hien Thanh Street of District 10 in Ho Chi Minh City, being a cook or a chef is truly a challenging job which requires much passion.

Giang shared “Despite graduating from a culinary school, I still had to begin my career with very simple tasks like preparing vegetables, fish, or chicken, washing dishes, before I was allowed to cook my first dish. No matter how strenuous it was, I found great satisfaction in pursuing my dream job.”

Another cook named Hoang Truong Dung commented that being a cook means always being under high pressure, especially in holiday periods like Tet Holiday. He added that the prepared food must ensure high quality and sanitation as well as beautiful appearance and quick time. In other words, a cook has to perfect everything related to the ordered dishes. To fulfill that requirement, a cook needs excellent physical and spiritual conditions.

Discussing about the preference on culinary career of the young, Dr. Le Minh Thanh, Deputy Dean of the Tourism Department in Hoa Sen University, said that the market demand for this field is especially high, seeing that the Vietnamese tourism industry is significantly growing. Good food is one of many ideal factors, along side with beautiful landscapes and interesting culture, to attract international holidaymakers to Vietnam.

Sadly, human resources training for this field is not satisfying although there have been several staff order from international restaurants.

Cuisine expert Tran Thi Hien Minh shared that the status of a cook in the society is upgrading day by day. Cooks are now able to earn a handsome income. A newly graduate from a culinary school can receive a salary of VND6 – 7 million per month (approx. $256 – $300) while an experienced one can earn VND20 million a month ($854), not to mention various kinds of tips and bonuses. Working for a foreign restaurant, a chef can get $2,000 per month.

What matters is that young people in this field need to carefully consider the market requirements as well as their own potentials and ability, being patient to begin at the lowest position.

Ms. Hien Minh affirmed that many restaurants or businesses feel frustrated with newly graduates due to their carefree attitude and impatience to start from a low position just to gain more experience. They quickly switch to other workplaces whenever they feel unsatisfactory with their salary.

She therefore advised that these people should first upgrade their own soft skills and professional knowledge or language ability to impress employers and gain more attractive opportunities.

Many cuisine experts agree that a cook is like an artist since they are able to provoke various senses at the same time. That is why culinary careers are increasingly appreciated by the public and able to attract a great number of learners.

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