food and beverage underground

The Culinary Arts Profession

Getting into the culinary arts professions is getting harder and harder. Because of the boom in food orientated television shows more and more people are seeking careers in the culinary arts professions. I say hurrah! Still, the business is not cut out for everyone! It take a special breed to be successful in the food and beverage business, but having the skills will still only get you so far in most cases. For those that have those skills and the desire to further their career as should look at getting into a good culinary program specializing in the culinary arts profession.

But, before I give you some great tips I want make sure I’m not wasting anyone’s time. Just One question, you have worked in a restaurant before haven’t you? It just surprises me how many people go to culinary schools today who have never worked in a real kitchen. They think that they will go to school, get their diploma and then find a nice Chef job. Sorry people, it just doesn’t work that way, so if you haven’t spent the time sweating your butt of behind the line, if you haven’t worked for 6 days straight 12 hours a day at full throttle, if you don’t have battle cuts and burns go and get them, come back later, we will still be here. Don' worry, the culinary arts profession isn't for everyone.

The Right Stuff

For those of you that are still with us, congratulations. You are considering exploring one of the most demanding and rewarding professions out there. But, you still have a ways to go before you’re the next Wolfgang! We will do our best to get you going though.

When choosing to pursue a culinary arts profession, a diploma from a good culinary school is a good springboard. But with the growing number of want to be Chefs there has also been a flood of culinary programs offered. You need to know how to sift through these to assure you are getting the education you want and need to succeed.

Prepare For Success

You need a program that prepares you for success and one of the first thing you should consider when looking at these programs is how well they are providing that success for their past students. You need to find out how many of their past graduates have received jobs at the level you are hoping to achieve on your completion of the program. The school will give you their employment rate of graduating seniors, but go a little further with that. A job at Wendy’s doesn’t really count now does it? Also ask the school what kind of employment assistance they offer their graduates if any. Good programs realize the importance of placing their graduates and will offer a lot of assistance and placement programs.

Look for programs that have a good reputation or following. Yes, like Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and the likes, but it doesn’t have to be of this caliber as there are certainly good programs that will fit your needs in many areas of the country. This will also help you later with networking. If you are planning to stay in a specific area after graduation look and see if there is a program that has a good reputation in that area.

Make Sure School is Accredited

Make sure the program is fully accredited. They should offer an associate degree (usually a two year program teaching the fundamentals) as well as a bachelor’s degree (usually a four year degree which will bring in more operational skills).

Now that you have weeded out the programs that just don’t fit the bill, it’s time to focus on the most important aspect of the programs. Who is really going to teach you what you want to learn. Take a good look at the facilities the schools have. Do they have adequate space and kitchens to teach the amount of students they have? Does the class sizes allow for enough one on one time with the instructors? How much kitchen time is designated for each year? As a good bench mark good programs run in the 500-700 hours per year mark. Remember you’re going to school to learn to be a Chef, or culinary arts professional, not just read about it.

Make Sure It Is Designed For Your Needs

Bottom line; make sure the program you choose fits your needs and expectations. Learning is always good; just make sure your hard earned moneys well spent. You can look at our resources section for a decent list of culinary programs, but again just because they are in our link section it doesn’t let you off the hook in doing the research on finding the program that’s right for you.

Go from Culinary Arts Profession to Kitchen Prep List

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