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About Culinary Programs:
There is a variety of degrees and levels of training in culinary programs. There are cooking schools, baking schools, pastry schools, management programs, and more. You can get certificates, diplomas, associates degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and even attend online programs. The variety is endless, therefore it’s good to research and compare cooking schools and programs before you choose one to attend. Important factors to note in choosing a culinary program are the culinary degrees offered, facilities available, cost, class sizes, reputation, and how quickly you can finish a course of study.
Online culinary education is usually meant for individuals planning on starting a restaurant management or hospitality management career. These classes are focused around business principals and understanding. They usually do not require cooking classes. Occasionally these programs require an applicant to have already completed a culinary program and to have cooking or baking skills. Often they require you to have earned an associate’s degree in culinary arts, pastry arts or hospitality and restaurant management from an accredited school. Online degrees are usually bachelor’s degrees that advance previous learned skills. The plus side of online education is that it provides flexible learning on a schedule that can fit your busy home and work life. You can continue working as a chef or manager while obtaining a culinary arts degree online.
What are Culinary Program Specialization Options?
There are many different specializations of culinary programs. Specializations focus on both management and cooking aspects of culinary arts. The following are some of the most popular culinary program specializations available at schools around the nation.
Baking and Pastry Arts: Pastry arts programs are designed to prepare future chefs in the art of successfully preparing pastries and other baked goods. In these programs you’ll receive specific training for pastry making, as well as basic fundamentals of the culinary arts. You’ll learn cooking principles, sanitation, and management skills. Class time will be spent preparing cakes, pies, and other baked goods, as well as working with dough, icing, and other ingredients used in making pastries. Some pastry schools specialize in French pastry, focusing on food like breads, cakes, tarts, ice creams, sorbets, chocolate candies, sugar candies, jams, sugar sculpture and chocolate sculpture.
Catering: Caterers bring the restaurant or other food service straight to the client. Typically, caterers provide food and beverages for weddings, parties, graduations, and other special events. Catering programs offered by culinary schools help turn you into a successful caterer through teaching culinary skills, customer service and people skills. Many caterers find success running their own businesses after completing these programs.
Culinary Arts: These degree programs emphasize progressive cooking techniques and trends. You’ll receive practical training in modern kitchens so you’ll be prepared for a future as a cook in upscale, culinary art restaurants. Programs in culinary arts focus on foundational cooking skills and techniques, from basic cuts to managing a menu. After learning the basics you’ll combine these skills with your own unique creative cooking flair. International culinary art programs teach how to make International cuisines and use ingredients and techniques from around the globe. Culinary art programs also give you the opportunity to delve into specialty areas like baking and pastry, garde manger, and à la carte. You’ll be able to prepare yourself for entry-level positions such as an assistant baker, grillardin, line cook, pantry cook, or prep cook at places like caterers, resorts, hotels, restaurants, and more.
Culinary Management: Typically culinary management programs are for students who have already completed accredited cooking courses or programs, completed an approved apprenticeship, or currently hold culinary certification. Culinary management is not a degree in cooking. Instead it’s designed to develop successful culinary managers by teaching the skills necessary to address critical issues encountered in cooking fields and occupations. These educational programs provide students with business courses including human resource management, accounting, marketing, communication and leadership, hospitality law, and ethics. It also involves courses in food and beverage operations, cost controls, purchasing, customer service, and management. Culinary professionals who have both management and food experience usually design these programs.
Food and Beverage Management: This program offers a wide array of food and beverage theory and practical experience for success in the food industry. Typically you’re in both classroom and kitchen settings for food and beverage management. You learn a variety of different culinary training skills, such as: knowledge of wine, liquor, beers, ales, and cordials, alcohol control laws, bar supervision; and more. You also learn different management topics and skills such as sales forecasting; menu development; food and beverage cost controls; labor costs and scheduling; dining-room supervision; purchasing and inventory control; product costing and pricing; restaurant computer applications; guest check control; accounting for restaurants and bars; profit and loss statements; and restaurant law, including case studies and legal issues. Through this program you can become the manager of a restaurant or bar, or you can start your own business.
Hospitality and Tourism: The hospitality and tourism business, focused in the culinary arts, has a worldwide competitive environment. It’s among the world’s largest and fastest growing industries. Therefore, getting a degree in hospitality and tourism will put you above the average person seeking a job in this field. These programs offer a strong background in business courses like accounting, information technology, economics, management, marketing, and human resources. They also offer life skills and culinary knowledge, which are both in high demand by hospitality and tourism industry employers.
Hotel and Restaurant Management: Hotel and restaurant training is typically meant for students who have culinary art training, and who want to manage a hotel, motel, resort, or restaurant. Curriculum teaches both knowledge and experience of hotel and restaurant management. Management courses are included in the curriculum, such as leadership, accounting, marketing, communication, and more. Often an internship experience is also a part of hotel and restaurant management programs.
The Different Types of Culinary Programs
If you’re aspiring to become a chef or baker, then your best option is to get a culinary program degree. A culinary degree will provide you with vital cooking skills that you can only find in educational programs. Degrees will also teach you about ingredients, food preparation, as well as skills like timing, making recipes for hundreds of people, and cost control when purchasing the best quality ingredients.
There are multiple different certificate and degree options within the culinary arts. The program and degree option that you choose should help meet your specific career goals. The following are some degree options within culinary programs:
Certificate Programs: The quickest way to get a culinary arts education is through a certificate program. These provide you with a background in culinary arts and help you gain practical experience for an entry-level job. Curriculum is based on learning hands-on cooking and baking skills. You can get a certificate in numerous specializations, including: baking and pastry arts, culinary arts, culinary management, and wine and beverage. Admission to certificate programs is typically based on academic and work references, as well as a high school diploma or GED.
Associate’s Degree: An associate’s degree is the next step up from a certificate in culinary arts. These are typically 2-year degree programs that give you more experience and make you more employable. You can get 2-year degrees at many culinary art schools as well as community colleges or technical schools. Curriculum is usually focused on hands-on cooking and baking skills, safety and sanitation, management, and nutrition. You also have more options of specializations with an associate’s degree. Typically, admission to associate degree programs is based on academic and work references and previous work experience, and most programs also require a high school diploma.
Bachelor’s Degree: A bachelor’s degree is one of the highest degrees you can get in culinary arts. It’s the most advanced degree and is best if you’re planning to own your own restaurant, be a restaurant manager, or be a top chef at a fancy restaurant or resort. These are four-year programs that focus on many aspects of culinary arts. Typical curriculum focuses on business, finance and management, cooking and baking skills, food science, and high-end food preparation. Admission requirements include high school diploma or GED, a satisfactory high school GPA or previous college GPA, SAT scores, personal essay, and professional and academic references.
Apprenticeship Programs: After you’ve completed a certificate or degree in culinary arts than you should consider an apprenticeship program. Apprenticeships provide you with real-world cooking experience that you need before going out on your own. Typically apprenticeships involve hands-on learning from a skilled professional while working in a hotel, club or restaurant. You usually need high academic and work references, as well as previous education at the high school level or higher. These programs can be highly competitive, so the more training or experience you have the better off you’ll be.
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