Information about cooking career choices
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Culinary Career Options and Preparation

Raise your hand if you are interested in learning to become a professional chef or running your own restaurant one day?

Okay, put your hand down.

The culinary arts business needs creative individuals.

The good news is, ambitious folks can frequently begin working fairly quickly, without needing to spend multiple years sitting in a college classroom.

Lots of current professionals got their start by taking short, specific training in culinary arts topics. These types of courses are still around today and can still successfully prepare serious students for commercial culinary careers.

What kind of jobs are we talking about?
Here is a list of the top 19:
1. Bakery chefs
2. Banquet chefs
3. Nutrition specialists
4. Foodservice specialists
5. Pastry chefs
6. Cooks
7. Caterers
8. Baker assistants
9. Kitchen managers
10. Culinary supervisors
11. Chefs
12. Menu planners
13. Dessert catering
14. Food and supplies buyer
15. Food service management
16. Restaurant and hotel management
17. Banquet management
18. Catering management
19. Dining room management

Not all of these positions are strictly in the kitchen either. Some of them are in the restaurant and hospitality management area. Graduates of these programs train individuals for future opportunities in the restaurant, banquet and hotel business.

Most students earn some type of certificate or degree, such as a Certificate of Achievement, Associate in Science Degree or even a Bachelor's Degree.

A certificate of achievement is generally the fastest path. Most programs are under one year in length, although they can vary. These might be general cooking programs or they can specialize in one aspect of culinary arts, such as pastry making.

Like any other college major, the associate's degree is a two-year program, but some of the general education credits can often be earned while the student is still in high school.

And the bachelor's degree generally takes a full four years to complete.

Wondering what some of the classes might be that you will either have to take or can elect to take?

Here is a quick list of the top 21:
1. Restaurant kitchen tools 101
2. Hospitality business 101
3. The basics of cuisine
4. Garnishes and presentation
5. Safety, sanitation and important food handling rules
6. Nutrition and guidelines during menu preparation
7. Key fundamentals of baking
8. How restaurants operate
9. Menu planning and development
10. Purchasing and buying for a kitchen
11. Principles of food and beverage prices
12. Beverages, wine, spirits and hot drinks
13. Catering and special event operations and planning
14. Advanced baking and pastry making
15. Introduction to the dessert tray
16. Food and wine and pairing them together
17. Supervising and being supervised in the food service
18. Meat, fish and poultry
19. Advanced cuisine topics which may include seasonal, regional or international subjects
20. Restaurant math
21. Confectionary and dessert making

Most students will serve as an intern at a local restaurant before they graduate.

What do you think? Could this potentially be your future career field?


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If you decide to go to culinary school, where will you study?

Most larger cities will have one or two good schools you could enroll at. Most of these schools will train you to get started in an entry-level chef position. And, as you get close to graduation, they will work with you to try to get you placed at a local restaurant.

Some of the cities that have good schools include:
San Jose