A program that prepares individuals to provide professional chef and related cooking services in restaurants and other commercial food establishments. Includes instruction in recipe and menu planning, preparing and cooking of foods, supervising and training kitchen assistants, the management of food supplies and kitchen resources, aesthetics of food presentation, and familiarity or mastery of a wide variety of cuisines and culinary techniques.
Culinary arts is the field of study that provides individuals with skills and knowledge in the various aspects of cooking, baking, and other forms of food preparation. The term culinary arts is an umbrella under which the many varieties of and specializations are found under, such as chef, baker, restaurant manager, line cook and others. Individuals working in the culinary arts work closely with food and must abide by health standards put forth by the government for the preparation and serving of food. Culinary arts is a very large field that allows for exceptional variety in one's work choices.
Obtaining a degree in culinary arts requires the student to understand a variety of techniques for cooking, knowledge of cuisines, and how the food business operates. Some programs may have externship programs to assist students in obtaining practical experience in a real world setting. Those interested in pursuing a degree in culinary arts can choose to go to a culinary school, vocational school, community college, or four year institution.
Various topics will be covered in a culinary arts education, including:
Business and Finance
Sauces, Soups and Starches
Many schools offer career placement along with their culinary arts program to assist students in finding work after graduation. Some schools may have agreements with established restaurants or kitchens and offer practical internship opportunities alongside their more structured education. Aspiring chefs will do well to take advantage of any opportunities or contacts that may become available through their culinary arts program.
Once one begins a career in culinary arts he or she may choose to specialize in a particular type of cuisine. Individuals who wish to eventually open their own restaurant will typically have a broad understanding of world foods, but will learn and experiment with a particular style. Some chefs may consider combining styles of cuisine, often known as fusions, in order to introduce new flavors or experiment with a juxtaposition of flavors.
Styles of cuisine include:
Employment Opportunities and Safety
An individual seeking a career in the culinary arts can have many opportunities available based on skill and experience. An individual can choose to specialize in certain foods, or focus more on operations, or even food development. Individuals will have to maintain cleanliness in the work place, following the safety laws and restaurant policy. Individuals in managerial positions will be responsible for ensuring that operations run smoothly and be responsible for customer service. The types of jobs available vary wildly, and more experienced individuals with a strong background in culinary arts may choose to eventually pursue their own restaurant.
Positions available to a graduate include:
Individuals working in kitchens should take as many safety precautions as possible. Due to the hectic nature of professional kitchens, many hazards can harm an unwary individual. These include knives and cleavers, boiling soups, heated surfaces, and open fires. Individuals working in kitchens are prone to cuts and burns and those interested in a career in culinary arts should know of the potential harm.
Job Growth, Salary, and Related Fields
Culinary arts is a growing field and job opportunities are plentiful and varied. This is due to an increasing population and a growing trend among Americans for trying new and interesting foods and cuisines. Because the career paths of a culinary arts degree holder are many, the average salary depends entirely on field and position, the median salary for chefs and head cooks is approximately $40,500 per year.