become a healthy chef - culinary nutrition

Hairnets. The very word evokes images of romance, travel and glamour. Modern hairnets date back to 1963, when, according to the United States Patent Office, Ruthard Dietze patented a clear hairnet with an elastic hem, U.S. Patent #3,094,995. If you yearn to prepare healthful meals for others, to guide children in good eating habits, or to make hairnets part of your daily fashion choices, you may be the ideal candidate for a career in Culinary Arts and Applied Nutrition


Start with a Degree in Culinary Nutrition

Any career in culinary arts, hospitality or dietary management begins with a strong education. You need to select a school that will respect your time and finances, and will provide you with essential classes for greatest career flexibility without extraneous classes you do not need. Concentrate on four major areas:

  • Culinary Skills and Techniques—Kitchen organization, cooking methods, baking and pastry basics, preparation of meat, seafood and poultry, and presentation
  • Nutrition and Dietary Management—Nutrition analysis and recipe modification, menu planning, dietary conditions, and alternative methods for baking and cooking
  • Culinary Operations—Kitchen sanitation and safety, patient service, purchasing, storeroom management, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) planning
  • Hats and Hairnets—Nope. No, really, hairnets are disposable, inexpensive and hardly worth a second thought; it is as if ol’ One-Track Ruthard is writing this

Possible Career Track in Culinary Arts

A degree in culinary nutrition may lead to three possible career paths:

  • Food service management—Training in nutrition and culinary operations could provide you with the background to create menus, select healthful foods, order and budget food programs, advise patrons, and run kitchens 
  • Chef or head cook—Formal culinary arts training could help place you in a commercial, institutional or private kitchen
  • Curator of Hairnet Exhibits at any of the world’s leading museums—Looking back, this path seems highly unlikely, if not downright ridiculous

Culinary Salary Potential

Food Service Manager SalaryAccording to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median wage as of May, 2012 for food service managers was $47,960. “Median wage” simply means roughly half the food service managers make more than that, and roughly half make less. A government organization with the word “Statistics” in its name has much more detail to offer, however, as the BLS helpfully breaks down the top five job descriptions, and their salaries, in this category: 

  • Traveler Accommodation—$54,850 (Hotels, casino hotels, resorts, cruise ships)
  • Special Food Services—$54,210 (Taverns, bars, public cafeterias, private clubs)
  • Nursing Care Facilities—$49,650 (Nursing homes, assisted living centers)
  • K-12 Schools—$49,440 (Elementary and secondary schools)
  • Restaurants—$46,360 (this wide category includes everything from fast-food to five-star establishments)

An important subset of the industry, the top 10 percent of food service managers make more than $81,030 while the lowest 10 percent make less than $30,820, according to the BLS. 

Chef SalaryAn Associate of Applied Science Degree in Culinary Arts and Applied Nutrition offers great flexibility for employment, since your education provides a thorough background in cooking techniques as well as dietary management. Employment as a chef or head cook offers strong financial rewards, according to the BLS, which placed the May, 2013 median income for chefs and head cooks at $42,490

Neither BLS statistic includes self-employed food service managers and chefs, so if you are interested in opening your own eatery, your income will be limited only by your ambition, hard work and original ideas. Excellent names for your future business—and feel free to use these—include:

  • Hairnet Harry’s Hash House
  • The Microwave Meetin’ Spot
  • Ruthard’s Maison de Hairnet

Come to think of it, those are terrible names and you would be better off concentrating on growing and building your own business using the thorough background and training you received. And avoid using a microwave, either in your business name or your kitchen.  

The Culinary Work Environment

Because a degree in Culinary Arts and Applied Nutrition offers you so many choices of possible career tracks, your workplace options are varied:

  • Casinos
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Cruise ships
  • Elementary schools
  • Fast-service restaurants
  • Fine restaurants
  • High schools
  • Hotels
  • Private clubs
  • Resorts
  • Senior centers
  • Spas

You'll almost always work in an environment where everybody else—customers, tourists, club members—are relaxing, partying, or being entertained. The hospitality industry itself thrives on high energy, extroverted personalities. If your personal preference is for socializing, meeting and making new friends (and maybe showing off your vast collection of hairnets), you will find a good fit in the hospitality industry. 

Say Riddance to Ruthard, Hello to Culinary School

For actual, useful, Ruthard-free information on earning an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Culinary Arts and Applied Nutrition from ECPI University. Contact and in less than 15 months, you could gain the skills and knowledge to enter the hospitality field and provide healthful meals, run a kitchen, or be a chef. It could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!

Learn more about ECPI's College of Culinary Arts TODAY!

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