The Role of Education in a Cooking Career

Education and cooking career

Tossing together a little dinner of amaretto shrimp almandine doesn’t overwhelm you. Stuffed puff pastries don’t faze you. You relish the thought of a career standing in front of a hot stove. You are ready for a culinary career!

Job Outlook

The National Restaurant Association notes that an estimated 12.8 million people make the restaurant industry the second-largest industry next to government. Two million more jobs will be added by 2017 for a total of 14.8 people employed in the industry.

The increase is attributed to several factors. For one, more people return from trips to foreign lands where they tried exotic foods and liked what they ate. Secondly, those TV personalities who so casually flip crepes have shown how much fun gourmet cooking can be to watch and to prepare. Additionally, more and more Americans spend their leisure dollars in restaurants.

Education & Training

However, a formal culinary education is a must if you want to make cooking your career. Not only will you learn a wide variety of cuisines and different theories and techniques about foods with a degree or certificate from a culinary school, but you will also likely start in a higher position.

Of course, many people do train on the job, but the disadvantage is that you will be exposed to only one type of cuisine that the restaurant serves, and it will take you longer to learn all the techniques associated with the different jobs in a kitchen.

What Culinary School Gives You

Culinary and hospitality schools offer students the theoretical foundation of cooking as well as hands-on classes in three major categories:

  • Culinary Arts, which includes training in classical and contemporary techniques
  • Patisserie and Baking, which teaches pastry and baking arts in breads, custards, confections, etc.
  • Hospitality and Restaurant Management, which prepares graduates with training in management, finances, communication, and business operations

You will also get the opportunity to work in a variety of environments. Many culinary schools have college food services and restaurants. Schools usually offer externships in local restaurants, giving you even more experiences.

When you graduate, you will be prepared for a career in any number of establishments, from restaurants, bakeries, corporate food-service departments to health-related institutions, as well as in the rapidly expanding fields of catering and food-to-go.