5 Easy Steps to a Culinary Career

by Allison Landa

Food is always in fashion – and that’s one reason that the culinary arts continue to stay strong as a career field. Culinary arts include cooking as well as general food preparation, and the term also refers to baking and hospitality management.

Studying culinary arts means you’ll learn the techniques and terminology of food and beverage preparation. You’ll also learn how to make food and drink in a way that not only tastes great, but looks good on the plate.

Specialty cable channels such as The Food Network and celebrity chefs such as Emeril Lagasse and Rachel Ray have made the culinary arts more popular than ever. In fact, figures compiled by the National Restaurant Association in 2005 indicate that more than 13 million culinary arts job openings will arise during this decade.

Some of the most typical culinary professions include:

Chefs

A Chef designs dishes, meals, and menus, prepare food, and supervise kitchen staff. If you’re a chef, your individual job will vary depending on where you work and your level of responsibility.

Bakers

Bakers cater to the sweet tooth by producing bread, donuts, cakes, pastries, and other desserts. Bakers typically specialize in desserts, and work to make these sweet delights as beautiful as possible.

Caterers

Caterers prepare and deliver meals to specific sites or events — such as a party, banquet, or special meeting — as opposed to working in a particular restaurant.

Food Service Managers

Food service managers act as managers and supervisors and need knowledge of business practices along with specific health requirements and demands of the food service industry.

Sound interesting? Here are five easy ways to start your culinary arts career.

  1. First, consider your options. What type of culinary arts training is best suited to your lifestyle? Are you looking for a flexible way to earn your degree? If so, consider getting your culinary arts education online.
  2. Make sure to do your research. Whether you’re looking to work as a chef, baker, caterer, or in another culinary arts specialty field, there is an online culinary arts degree program for you.
  3. An online culinary arts education can give you the theory behind a culinary career, including topics such as cost control, safety, food science, and hygiene. However, you should also seek a program that will give you hands-on training to help you gain cooking skills and learn how to prepare pastries or make that perfect curry is much easier when you’re doing it yourself, rather than looking at your computer monitor.
  4. To complement your online degree education, consider an internship or work in a restaurant while you complete your culinary arts training. Working in this real-world way will not only bring to life the concepts you’re learning in the classroom, but it may make getting a job after graduation that much easier.
  5. While in school, prepare to enter the culinary profession by researching job opportunities. That may even include the delicious job of visiting restaurants and doing taste tests of your own!

Allison Landa is a freelance writer and editor in Berkeley, Calif. She received her master’s degree in creative writing at St. Mary’s College of California.



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