Every week, Zikoko will share the hustle stories of Nigerians making it big in and out of the country. With each story, we’ll ask one crucial question in several ways: “How you do am?”

Sola Ajao’s hustle story taught us one thing: You can do what you love, and become a baller while at it. She took her love of cooking to Boston, US and has made a profitable business out of it.

If you also have a passion for the kitchen arts, this guide will take you step-by-step on how you can make money from it too.

Image source: Pexels

First off, what does it mean to be a chef?

You might know how to throw down a mean plate of noodles and egg, but that’s not all there is to being a chef. A chef is a professional cook who knows all there is to know about food preparation, cooking techniques, recipe creation and even kitchen management. You could say a chef is someone who knows their onions; pun very intended.

It’s a good pun. Admit it.

Is there a difference between a chef and a cook?

Yes. Anyone can pick up tricks from how their mum or Iya Basira down the street make Ewa Agoyin and become a cook. A cook follows established recipes to prepare meals.

Chefs are also cooks, but they most likely had to undergo some form of training to understand flavours and create recipes from scratch. They put in the work and, in some cases, have the qualifications to match.

Not this kind of “putting in the work”, sha.

What are the qualifications needed?

Many chefs and cooks start out self-taught, but if you want to make a legitimate business out of it like Sola did, you’ll need evidence of formal training like diplomas and certificates. You can get this from taking a course in a registered culinary school.

Don’t confuse a culinary school with a catering school, though. Those train people who are interested in the catering business, which involves learning how to cook for mass distribution. Think, owambes.

So, how do you become a professional chef in Nigeria?

There are several culinary school options to choose from. The duration of training varies depending on what you’re training for. For example, training to be a sous chef (the second-in-command in a kitchen) would probably take less time than training to be a head chef.

If you need help making a choice, take a look at some popular culinary schools in Nigeria.

Red Dish Chronicles
Crumbles Chef Academy
Topkraft Culinary Academy
CMK Culinary Institute
Abuja Culinary School

How do you make money as a chef?

This is probably the reason you’re reading this article in the first place, and honestly, we respect it.

As a chef, you can make money in a number of ways:

As a job: That’s the major point of getting the  required certifications. Qualified chefs are well sought-after in high-end restaurants.

As a side hustle: You can also decide to offer catering services on the side for the million owambes that happen every Saturday in Nigeria. There’s also the option of offering personal chef services to individuals and corporations.

As a brand: Building a visible personal brand is a great way to make sure you stay in demand. If you’re on Instagram, you’ll know some companies now choose to take on celebrity chefs on Instagram as brand ambassadors. Secure the bag, boo.

    Does “chef” refer to a male or female?

    Can only a specific gender eat? No? Well, that answers the question. Anyone can be a chef. It’s not a gender-specific noun. Now, go forth and cook up a storm.


    March 9, 2023 9:00:00

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