Culinary Schools (updated March 4th 2017)
With the numerous cooking schools out there, picking the right culinary arts program can be a challenging choice. Below is a short primer in helping you navigate this exciting field!
Many people feel that culinary chefs are those people who are innately accomplished within the cooking industry and that they also make a lot of cash. It is possible to almost certainly name just a few well-known cooks off the top of your head, including: chief cooks Gordon Ramsay, Wolfgang Puck, Jamie Oliver, Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray. They certainly make things look easy!
Attending the right culinary school is the first step to success.
What it really takes to be a Professional Chef?
First of all, if you are truly interested in becoming a chef, you have to be mentally prepared that pursuing this career path requires discipline and hard work. You should also realize that a chef’s starting salary is modest (contrary to what you may perceive from cooking TV shows).
It takes hard work to prove yourself, and only after years of focusing on this discipline will you be able to garner serious attention for your cooking. Developing a strong interest in food preparation will help you stand out from the crowd.
Historically, cooks naturally became professional chefs because of their many years of practical food preparation experience. While this artisan culture is still widely prevalent, it is more acceptable nowadays to see chefs rising from the ranks of formal educational training. Hence, the craze of new cooking food colleges starting across the entire nation. This is fast becoming a hot career field…and let’s not kids ourselves, much more fun than an office desk job!
Top Culinary Schools in USA: Careers in cooking
Different Career Paths – What kind of chef do you want to be?
There actually is a distinction between a chef and a cook. A chef is a highly skilled professional that understands the A to Z of cooking, from the entire universe of food preparation to making innovative contributions to apply creative ideas to food preparations, discussions to crafting a unique menu. Alternatively, a cook is generally able to take instructions from a master chef and is required to be very knowledgeable on all sorts of cooking.
Before you decide to join a culinary arts program, you should be aware of the different kinds of careers which a cooking degree will offer you.
Traditional Path – Be a Chef
A common way to get started within the culinary field is to seek entry level opportunities within your local dining establishment. You may have to start with seemingly trivial tasks as a food preparer, line cook or even as a waitperson or waitress.
However, your reputation within this industry begins the second you walk in the doors. A good attitude can go a long way in getting you advancing within the ranks. Do not feel discouraged as this is actually a great chance for you to learn as much as possible from veteran culinary chefs that you may be working alongside. That’s free education right there!
Later on, you will be able to take full advantage of these experience and climb the ranks from pastry culinary experts, demi culinary chefs, senior culinary experts, sous chef to executive chef chief cook, the one who is ultimately in control of the entire cooking establishment.
Salaries vary based on restaurant quality and geographic location. In general, low position cooks earns a starting salary of $19,000 to $25,000 annually. A sous chef may earn up to $49,000 while a professional chef’s annual income can climb to $85,000 or more.
Alternative Paths – Be a Culinary Professional
You should also consider working as a chief cook for companies. In order provide the right benefits to their employees, many corporations provide their staff members with complimentary meals. Consequently, chefs are chosen to suggest menu choices that will satisfy a number of specifications for the dietary needs of their employees. In addition to that, these organizations love to have a chief cook around when it comes time to prepare food for a company celebration or even a lavish banquet.
Going the entrepreneurial route and establishing your own company can be perfect and very rewarding pursuit for you if you are a business savvy person. If you have this entrepreneurial inkling, make sure the food preparation educational institutions you attend offer lessons that show you particularly methods to manage a bistro or even a food catering hallway. This is one of many ways to earn a higher salary than a traditional line chef.
People in the United States love to dine out and appreciate eating high quality value for money meals. This is a great opportunity for you to create your own “brand” in cooking world. Even if you do not have the budget to bankroll your own entrepreneurial endeavors, there are still numerous methods for you to set up your very own gastronomical dining establishment. Amazingly, lots of financiers are hungry to locate and invest in skilled cooks within this gratifying discipline.
Yet another career option is foods service management roles. Many restaurant owners are looking for someone who has both the culinary expertise and the business intuition to manage an entire dining operation and to work closely with the chef.
If you are individualists, you may find becoming a food stylist to be highly appealing. These are individuals who prepare foods to look incredible when they are captured on camera for magazines or televisions, as the name suggests. It is a career that is certainly appropriate for those who are artistic and innovative. Through your experience, you may even end up becoming an individual chef.
Do your homework on Culinary Schools
With a better understanding of career choices, you can now do a substantial examination on the internet or by asking industry experts about the top culinary arts educational institutions which are well-known for supplying lessons that you are interested in. Once you have narrowed down your alternatives, you need to look at whether the food preparation colleges you have chosen are identified by the American Cooking Federation.
Make sure you check out the options of pursing an accreditation, a certification, a diploma, a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s education. As a follow up, you should contact the cooking school of your choice to see if they can show you what the learning environment will be like, such as a tour of the campus and facilities. In this way, it will be obvious what kinds of experience are actually signing up for. When you are there, inquire about educational costs expenses in addition to the likelihood of obtaining a scholarship.
An excellent culinary arts program will usually make their pupils versatile enough do any kind of cooking job. They should guarantee to provide helpful training sessions that are practical and hands-on as opposed to lectures and theory. An excellent internship plan could make or bust you. Furthermore, you need to inquire whether or not the school has any career roles or plans for fresh graduate students. Usually, a good culinary arts program will have relationships with their alumni as well as other organizations.
Start your journey by getting free information on culinary schools near you:
Turn your passion for food into a career at the Culinary Institute of Virginia.
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