The internationally renowned chef, Gordon Ramsay, has revolutionized the world of culinary arts. What makes this celebrity chef so popular? His passion for food, obsession with health, and raw talent polished through hard work in the kitchen.
The food industry offers many diverse and exciting career opportunities to individuals with a culinary education. You don’t have to become a chef to be a part of this dynamic industry; culinary arts include restaurant management, finance, hospitality, food production, baking and pastry making, and more.
- Culinary Art Schools
- Culinary Arts Schools Online
- How to Enroll in a Culinary School
- Career Prospects
The food industry has become more competitive than ever. Changing consumer tastes, cultural amalgamation, and demand for healthier foods are constantly shaping the culinary sector. Having a strong passion for cooking is just one of the things you need to succeed as a professional in this industry. It is equally important that you equip yourself with culinary education, skills, and knowledge. Many interested in joining the food industry are turning towards colleges for culinary arts. These institutions offer specialized degree programs and training needed to pursue a career as a chef, cook, or any other related profession. Here are some of the degree programs you can enroll in:
Associate Degree in Culinary Arts
This is an undergraduate two year program, designed to prepare students for entry-level jobs in culinary industry. The program teaches students about the fundamentals of cooking and emphasizes on the practical aspects of the profession. The first few semesters will highlight the basics of cooking and food science. Further in the program, students will be given the opportunity to develop, reinforce, and apply cooking skills in kitchen labs. Gaining hands on experience is an important part of the program. Here are some of the courses covered in the program:
- Culinary math – will introduce students to standards of measure and unit conversion related to the food industry.
- Nutrition – will cover the basic principles of nutrition. Students will learn about basic nutrients, food labeling, menu development and nutritional analysis of recipes.
- Food safety – will highlight the federal and state regulations regarding food production. Students will learn about facility and food sanitation, HACCP procedures, food-borne illnesses, and legal guidelines.
- Meat identification, fabrication, and utilization – will help students learn how to identify different types of meat, cuts, and structure.
Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts
Students preparing for a career as a professional chef will need at least a bachelor’s degree. This is a four year program that combines theoretical learning and extensive training in the field of culinary arts. The program will provide students the opportunity to learn about the multi-faceted culinary environment and develop cooking skills in a wide range of cuisines and management.
Students will spend time learning about the industry, rules and regulations, and cuisines. Having a sound understanding of the basics of food science is important. During training, students will practically apply theories, develop cooking skills, and experiment with different cooking styles. This phase of the program is typically covered in kitchen labs. Here are some of the courses offered in the program.
- Culinary theory and sanitation – This course will focus on food service and sanitation practices. Topics such as culinary professionalism, basic kitchen tools, and culinary weight measures are covered.
- Advanced culinary theory – In this course, students will be introduced to the practical applications of culinary mathematics, recipe yields, food cost calculation, food service mathematics, and recipe costing.
- Dining room service – Students will develop skills relevant to dining room serving. Topics such as the following are covered: table service, practical applications, and theoretical applications of service.
- American regional cuisine – This course will cover various American cuisines, cooking methods, and food textures. Students will learn about different flavor combinations, impact of immigration on food culture, and development of cuisines.
Master’s Degree in Culinary Arts
Undergraduate students seeking more advanced job positions in culinary arts will need to earn a master’s degree in the field. This is a two-year graduate program that focuses on advanced culinary knowledge and skills. Students will cover a range of courses that will help them build a strong foundation of culinary knowledge. Alongside theoretical learning, the program will also include training and practical application of cooking skills. Here are some of the courses covered in the program.
- Contemporary cuisines – Students learn about European, American, and Asian cuisines. Topics such as contemporary menu trends, cross-cultural influence, and plate presentation are covered.
- HR in hospitality industry – How to supervise food operations and demonstrate effective leadership skills.
- Beverage operations management – This course will provide students with management skills that apply to beverage services in the industry.
- Menu planning and merchandising – Students will learn about the basic principles of menu planning and food service operations. Topics such as layout and design, mix analysis, menu planning resources, and menu items selection are covered.
Students looking for a flexible and convenient way of earning a culinary degree can opt for online learning. Many schools have added online culinary programs to their academic offerings. Online programs can be tailored to meet individual needs. The coursework is generally covered via videos, tutorials, classroom conferencing, and online lectures. Some online culinary schools offer hybrid programs in which students take a few classes on-campus.
You will need to have a high school diploma for enrolling in an associate or bachelor’s degree program. The requirements for masters programs will differ and depend on which school you want to enroll in.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, chefs and head cooks made a median annual income of $42,480 in 2012. You can also start your own food business and work as a self-employed chef.