An ideal candidate for a chef position has several years of experience in the food service industry. Many begin as line cooks and spend years learning skills from a head chef. Some employers also prefer a candidate with experience in a supervisory role. Candidates can also participate in mentorship programs where they work closely with a senior chef. Individuals who work in high-end restaurants can spend as many as 10 years working under another prestigious chef. Paid apprenticeship programs are also available, where candidates learn skills on the job for approximately two years.