Crafting cooking careers around the world: Career management of Chefs

Nathalie Louisgrand, Katharina Chudzikowski

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper seeks to enhance our understanding of how young craftsmen craft their careers. They have been trained in a famous high-end French culinary and hospitality schools and work as chefs. We do so by exploring how they view their careers and if they deploy career management practices and analysing how these practices relate to and reproduce field-wide templates for chef careers. Over the past decade, craft and craftsmanship has been flourished and rediscovered by academics which leads to a growing body of research into craftsmanship. Craft can be defined as “a skill of making things well” (Sennett, 2008, p. 8). Craftsmen in Haute cuisine have to combine a high demand of crafting with codes, (Ferguson, 1998; 2004) norms (Fauchard and Von Hippel, 2008), and language. These competences are difficult to transfer as conceptualised as tacit and embodied in practices (Gomez and Bouty, 2011). In the field of haute cuisine, chefs are noted for their creativity (Svejenova, Planellas and Vives, 2010) but at the same time are also constraint to apply norms and maintain conformity (Burrow, Smith and Yakinthou, 2015; Gill and Burrow, 2018). Careers in this sector are associated with a strong emphasis on self-directed careers (Fine, 2008) and mobility, but also on the importance of professional experience (Ferguson, 2004). To craft a career successfully, also prospective chefs as creative workers depend on the personal networks a creative worker can command (e.g. Grugulis & Stoyanova, 2012; Randle et al., 2015), the creative capability ascribed to them by their professional community (e.g. Alvarez et al., 2005), and workers’ ability to actively market and manage themselves (e.g. Bain, 2005; Scharff, 2015). Also craftsmen can actively engage with the industry or field context they find themselves in to shape a career path that allows fulfilling their creative ambitions (Jones et al. 2016). But evidence of the everyday practices with which creative workers manage their careers in relation to those paradigms deemed important (creative ambition, reputation, social capital) is still limited. This paper seeks to fill this gap with an exploration of craftsmen’ career management practices. It identifies the career management practices that they exhibit, and analyses the typical templates they relate to and reproduce in doing so. Specifically, we focus on strategies they adopt to further advance their career, in the hospitality professions (Wang, 2013).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2019
Event35th EGOS Colloquium: Enlightening the Future: The Challenge for Organizations - University of Edinburgh Business School, Edinburgh, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Jul 20196 Jul 2019


Conference35th EGOS Colloquium
Abbreviated titleEGOS
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom
Internet address


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