Culinary Arts Degree And The Importance Of Having One
How will a culinary arts degree help you? If you're aiming to become a professional chef, it's the best way to start your career. A degree or formal training is what often separates cooks from chefs. However, culinary schools are not exclusively for people wanting to get into the profession. If you just love cooking and enjoy entertaining, even short courses or classes from online culinary schools will come in handy to enhance your skills, or even later encourage you to get more out of your passion. Is formal training necessary?
Beyond training, how is a cook different from a chef? The culinary arts salary, of course. Seriously, while both share a love for food, a cook is more concerned with taste, or sometimes its presentation. But a chef sees the bigger picture and looks at the entire kitchen operation.
Part of the chef job description is to plan or conceptualize a menu, develop the recipes and price it. He tests them then coordinates cooks under his team to replicate the dishes. Sourcing and purchasing supplies are part of his functions, as well as ensuring the kitchen is spic-and-span all the time. He must also keep a record of this inventory.
In big kitchen operations, the cook is limited to his station, the main function of which is to prepare and cook the specific dishes assigned to him.
Do you need a culinary arts degree to work as a cook? Not necessarily. If you attended cooking classes, that will be an advantage but getting the hands-on experience in food service establishments is training in itself and can be a stepping stone if you want to further your career and eventually become a culinary artist.
Diplomas and certificates
If you're interested in a bit of training before you set foot in a real-life cooking atmosphere, diploma or certificate courses will do just fine. It takes about 8 to 10 weeks. The courses include general topics about culinary arts, particularly professional cooking. It will also give you an overview about restaurant management.
Or you can pursue a culinary degree online, although its setback is the lack of hands-on experience, which is truly what develops the skill and confidence.
The Arts Institutes, through its International Culinary Schools, offers this kind of culinary arts degree in its several campuses nationwide. Or you can check out the many Le Cordon Bleu schools for their culinary arts degree information if you want to train with them. Associate degrees
Not content with a diploma? Then consider the two-year associate degree programs to beef up your kitchen skills. Aside from general cooking skills, you'll have more advanced courses including standard kitchen practices, knife usage, international cuisine as well as restaurant, catering and hotel kitchen operations.
Training at this level is more intense but by the time you go for apprenticeship you would have more confidence in your culinary skills.
The Culinary Institute of America is among the many culinary schools that offer associate programs. It takes 21 months to complete their Associate of Occupational Studies if you are without food experience.
On the other hand, you can enroll in their Accelerated Culinary Experience (ACE) program if you have at least four years of actual experience in the food service industry and want to earn an associate degree. Under this special program, the 18-week internship is waived and completion of certain classes is usually accelerated due to your experience.
Studying to be a pro
If you are seeking leadership positions for a culinary arts careers, then a bachelor's degree is the way to go. That's four years of study, with a focus on managerial training. The program likewise incorporates some liberal arts courses, plus business management and hospitality management courses. Still, you will have ample education where it concerns kitchen operations, food preparation and cooking.
Johnson & Wales University's College of Culinary Arts is the first school in America to offer a bachelor degree in this field, although it also has associate degree programs. It remains today as the largest culinary educator in the world, with 5,000 students enrolled at any given time. Its main campus is in Providence, Rhode Island, but you can visit their other locations in North Carolina, Colorado and Florida.
The technical culinary arts training and the hands-on experience you would have gained after completing a bachelor's in culinary arts degree will set you off to pursue the career of your dreams, whether it is to aim for the position of executive chef, run your own restaurant or manage a five-star luxury hotel.
With culinary arts, it all starts with passion. But a culinary arts degree will take you a long, long way.
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