Introduction to Culinary Arts
The culinary arts include involve preparing and presenting various types of food. The culinary arts play a vital role in the culture and tradition of every society. Culinary classes give students the hands-on and ‘’can-do’’ approach that is essential for the kitchen. Students are taught how to select the finest ingredients and combine them in a sensational manner to tantalize a person’s taste buds and give them an experience they will never forget. A number of diplomas, short course and culinary classes are available for students which open up endless career options from multi-million dollar hotels and restaurants to cruise ships to self owned bakeries and cafes.
What types of courses are offered?
Culinary classes are offered by colleges specializing in tourism and hospitality management, as well as institutes like world renowned Culinary Institute of America, which specialize in teaching culinary arts. Students can obtain an associates or a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts, or combine it with hospitality and management training to obtain a bachelor of arts in hospitality management and culinary arts. These degrees can take between 3-4 years to earn, and involve extensive instruction that enables students to not only create exquisite dishes, but also to develop a deep understanding of diet and nutrition. Additionally, culinary classes will include instruction on sanitation and public health, baking skills and food presentation techniques. Beyond these technical skills, students are also taught management principles, resource management, occupational safety and inventorying skills.
What practical skills do students learn?
Upon the successful completion of the study programs, students undergo practical and on-job training that ensures diversified, intensive experiences in food preparation. Students learn how to work in the highly demanding and stressful environment of kitchens under the direction of experienced chefs. Students learn the fundamentals of purchasing and learn how to acquire the finest fresh ingredients for their dishes and how to store them properly in addition to maintaining an inventory of various ingredients. Courses on nutrition, menu planning, ice carving, international cuisine, chocolate preparation and dish presentation are also taught. Additionally, training in areas such as food and beverage management, menu preparation and hospitality management is also conducted to enable students to gain effective managerial skills. This allows students to bypass the unskilled entry level positions once they graduate and find better paying jobs immediately after finishing school.
What are the career prospects?
Upon the completion of a degree in culinary arts, students can find work as chefs in various restaurants specializing in a particular type of cuisine. Others make careers in the confectionary and baking industry while some go on to make careers as purchasers and hospitality and food & beverage managers in major hotels and restaurants. Still others may take additional courses in health & safety and find jobs as food inspectors and quality assurance officers. Graduates of culinary classes may also form part of large catering corporations, hospitals, shipping lines and airlines, and their work may involve around developing menus, purchasing materials and assuring the highest level of customer satisfaction. Those interested in journalism may take writing classes or photography courses and become food writers and critics. Culinary classes also enable students to think on their own and impart the skills necessary to develop their own businesses.