Going to culinary school offers you a wide range of career choices. Some people might think that the only option is for graduates to become cooks. While many people do become traditional cooks and work in restaurants, other people become bakers, others work on vineyards, others break into the hospitality industry and work in hotels, and others decide to investigate the administrative side of the industry and work in food management. And even for the large number of graduates who work in restaurants there are many possibilities. Some people may prefer the fast-paced, casual environment of a quick-service restaurant, while at the other end of the spectrum is the allure of the sophisticated, refined atmosphere and carefully crafted recipes in five star establishments.
If you’ve considered going to culinary school, you should know that the options really begin here. Do you simply take a few professional courses to supplement the knowledge you already have? Would an associate’s degree be sufficient? Are you more interested in acquiring a four-year bachelor’s degree? Would you rather find a school that offers a specific degree in culinary management? You would do well to research your choices before you begin to ensure you make the best choice for you.
These programs typically take between 18 and 24 months, depending on the amount of curriculum that needs to be covered and what kind of school schedule you set for yourself. During your study to obtain an associate degree you will learn all the fundamental knowledge you need to be a successful culinary professional. You learn basic techniques and cooking methods, often through hands-on classes where you get to practice what you are learning. You might study in a classroom where you learn about cuisines from all over the world and what kind of presence they have in today’s industry. Some schools may also offer you the opportunity to take other general classes, such as finance, and even participate in an externship.
Bachelor’s degrees in culinary arts are more thorough, comprehensive programs of study that usually take from 36 to 48 months, depending on the program’s design and whether you choose to attend full or part time and go to school during the summer or take that semester off. They often include both hands-on work in student kitchens and time spent in the classroom, and may also be comprises of internships and/or an online component. People who graduate with bachelor’s degrees will be prepared through their learning for a wider range of industry professions, such as food writer, research and development chef, or to pursue additional education. Some programs also give you the opportunity to specialize in an area such as “wine and cheese,” “sustainability,” or “baking and pastry arts.”
For many jobs within the culinary world, people know how to do more than simply cook food. They also need to know how to harness their creativity and be a leader within a kitchen or business environment. Most management degrees are offered at the bachelor’s degree level and help students gain the administrative and cultural knowledge they need to succeed in the culinary business atmosphere. In addition to culinary classes, students also take courses in finance, communication, food service management, and marketing and promotion. Students may also be given the opportunity to learn about other cultures, travel, and develop leadership skills.