Culinary Arts are a hot area in terms of job opportunities and income potential. While there are many self-taught or family-trained cooks who have made it big on the international restaurant scene, it is not a path that is easy or to be expected. Formal training can be a big help and so, if you are interested in a career as a chef or in the hospitality industry you should explore the idea of an Associate degree or Bachelor degree. These kinds of degrees help students acquire a strong foundation in technique and theory and this is critical for any successful career in the food industry or in hospitality management.
Culinary arts programs tend to cover a variety of areas such as restaurant management, bakery and pastry, professional catering and beverage management. The courses are an indication of the aim of a lot of these courses the idea is to make the student well-versed in all aspects of food and hospitality management to qualify them for jobs inside a restaurant kitchen and for positions running a resort or managing a catering service.
It is worth noting here that the most common degree for those interested in Culinary Arts is likely to be an Associate degree. Even many long-established culinary schools such as the Le Cordon Bleu Institute does not offer a Bachelor degree. Culinary Arts is getting more formalized in recent times and so there is now a movement to have levels of degrees also. So there are some schools that offer a Bachelor degree in Culinary Arts and these tend to focus on management. Some options in Bachelors degree in Culinary Arts are "Hotel, restaurant and institutional management" and "Bakery and pastry management." In some schools the course work is varied but students are expected to do a minor in Business Management to get their Bachelor's degree.
Given the manner in which these Bachelor's degrees are structured it is important that you have a clear idea of what you want and that you choose a program that builds on your areas of interest. Ideally, you should feel well-informed about all aspects of Culinary Arts and feel like an authority on your area of specialization.
If you are a full time working professional or if you already have life commitments that make it hard to make full-time school or to relocate to attend a culinary school, online education is a great option for those considering a career in Culinary Arts. Many highly-structured and well planned Culinary Arts degrees are available online now. All you need is a computer and Internet connection to get started on an exciting career path.You can do a little bit of research to find a Bachelor degree program that helps you in your journey to be a professional chef or restaurateur. Make sure that you check the accreditation of the online school even as you are busy comparing programs and prices.
To earn your Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts you’ll need 120 credit hours of course work. Usually courses are taken in 3 hour classes (3 credits). You’ll have an opportunity to take elective courses to add to your general education requirements.
- Different Styles of Cooking
- Restaurant Concepts
- Hospitality Industry
- Menu Planning
- Culinary Arts Management
- Food Costs and Control
- Wine and Cuisine
- Food and Beverage Operation
- Event Management
Catering – Become a caterer by either working for another company that offers catering services or open up your own business.
Executive Chef – As an executive chef you’ll be in-charge of the kitchen and create the menu as well as run the staff.
Nutritionist – Help others with their nutritional needs including preparing planned meals for clients.
Food and Beverage Manager/Director – In hotels and resorts they will have food and beverage managers that run restaurants and bars for the property.
Restaurant Manager – Every restaurant will have a manager in-charge of staffing and the overall performance of the restaurant.
Cookbook Writer – With your experience in the kitchen some culinary arts majors turn to writing either for cookbooks or internet blogs.
Personal Chef – As a personal chef you’ll design dishes for your clients. Some personal chefs work directly out of the clients home where others prepare the food at a remote location and have it delivered daily to their client base.
Fast Paced: I think one of the biggest shocking things about the culinary industry is it is extremely faced paced. When graduates get their first job they are often taken back by the speed of a real kitchen. During school you take your time but in a fast-paced kitchen things move at lightning speed. You’ll need to learn to do tasks as fast as possible.
Always Learning: When you start your job you’ll be working with a lot of different people from all walks of life. Some might have zero formal training yet 10+ years of work experience where others like you might have just graduated. In order to advance within your job you’ll need to always be learning. The ability to increase your skill level makes you more desirable for other kitchens. Turnover is pretty high so chefs are always looking to get hired at another restaurant for higher pay and to work with better trained chefs.
Career Path: When you first start out you’ll be expected to put in long hours. The first few years you’ll still be training and learning how to do things properly so expect to put in 50-70 hours per week in 10 hour shifts.