Culinary Arts Schools
Are you interested in becoming a chef or caterer? Do you have a passion for delicious food prepared with a beautiful presentation? Does working in an exciting, fast-paced restaurant or hospitality setting appeal to you? You might enjoy pursuing a career in the growing field of culinary arts. Culinary arts is a term referring to the professional preparation and cooking of food. This definition has also expanded to include certain hospitality areas such as hotel and restaurant management. Individuals interested in a culinary career need creativity and drive to succeed.
In order to be competitive for employment as either a chef or in a management capacity, many employers expect you to have attended and graduated from one of the many reputable culinary arts colleges available to prospective students. Different types of culinary programs and culinary arts schools exist, depending on what area of the field you are interested in. Areas of concentration typically include general culinary arts, culinary management, baking and pastry, and catering management. One benefit of choosing a culinary education is that many schools offer evening programs for students who work.
Culinary arts colleges offer several courses of study, leading to several degrees or certifications. A certificate or degree program typically takes less than one year and is recommended for the professional cook looking to enhance their skills. An associate's degree takes two years at most culinary arts schools and is considered the minimum industry standard in culinary education. A bachelor's degree program is similar to that offered at liberal arts colleges. The student studies a combination of culinary theory and practice, while also taking courses in the liberal arts. These type of programs tend to be a bit more flexible and generally take four years to complete. A master's degree takes anywhere from one to two additional years of study. Master's programs are only offered at certain culinary arts colleges. Many culinary arts schools offer both associate's and bachelor's degree programs. They also prepare students for different certifications in addition to awarding degrees.
Schools should be accredited by the American Culinary Federation Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFFAC). Cooking schools teach theoretical and practical coursework, including nutrition, culinary math, dining room etiquette, menu planning and public health safety. Practical coursework involves hands-on training in a kitchen setting as well as internships in restaurants or catering facilities. Some considerations in choosing a culinary school are location, cost, available financial aid, faculty reputation, and internships and externships. A career in the culinary arts is exciting and rewarding. All prospective students should research available programs of study.