If you have a passion for good food and fine dining experiences, you most probably have thought about what it would be like to be a high-end chef. With every meal you prepare, you can help but pretend, just for a moment, how you would move around the kitchen and experiment with flavors.
However, as with all good things in life, the journey to being a chef is long and trying, but the destination could be well worth it. According to the United States Department of Labor Statistics, the demand for chefs is projected to grow at 10% higher than the average of all occupations through 2026. So, how do you position yourself to stand out and take advantage of these opportunities?
As with most careers based on raw passion and desire, there is no one fixed path to success. There are no strict educational or training requirements for you to begin working as a chef. However, if you are looking to reach the highest echelons of the profession, you are best served to have proper formal education and training in a culinary school.
Let us look at some of the courses you can take up to position you for growth and success as a chef.
Associate of Applied Science in the Culinary Arts
This course provides students with the theoretical knowledge and the hands-on experience necessary to pursue a career as a chef. Students are taught various aspects of the profession including baking, classical and contemporary cooking, food sanitation, sauces, and general best practices. The course also prepares students for the business side of the profession. Students should learn menu planning, food service, nutrition, food purchase, and human resources.
The unique blend of theoretical knowledge and practical skills prepares students to excel in a variety of food preparation areas that they may choose to pursue all over the world. The course starts by laying the groundwork for basic skills and techniques students will apply in their profession. They include:
- Mise en Place and Kitchen Organization
- Cooking Methods and Principles
- Baking and Pastry Fundamentals
- Applied Culinary Nutrition and Healthy Cooking
- Fabrication of Meat, Poultry and Seafood
Further down the course, learners are introduced to advanced culinary arts that help them explore their creativity and unique edge. These include:
- Garde Manger and Culinary Artistry
- International Ingredients, Cuisines and Methods
- Advanced Baking and Pastry Arts
- Plating and Presentation Techniques
- Menu and Recipe Development
Are Culinary Arts All You Need to be a Chef?
Chefs are often associated with food and just food. However, being a chef entail more than the ability to prepare delicious dishes. At the helm of the responsibilities of a chef is to ensure that the place they work is profitable. After all, it is a business and every business needs to recover its return on investment.
Chefs who rise into management positions have to not only prevail over the quality of food but also the health of the business. This entails such things as, managing human resources, budgeting, cost control, inventory, planning, and regulation.
These skills are most likely taught in the following classes:
- Kitchen Sanitation and Safety
- Purchasing and Storeroom Management
- Supervision for Food Service
- Dining Room and Service Management
- Supervision for Food Service
By having business classes as part of your culinary classes, it prepares a learner to not only excel as a chef but also to reach the highest levels of the profession – executive chefs and maybe someday running your own restaurant.
Why Not Just Find a Good Restaurant, and Work Your Way Up?
As noted earlier, there is no fixed path towards being a chef. In fact, some people will wonder why you need to go to a culinary school when you can just walk into a good restaurant and learn all the skills you need – and probably work your way up.
This argument is legitimate and meaningful. There are thousands of cases where people joined restaurants as dish washers and ended up as the head chef. However, the caveat here is that these people find it almost impossible to transition into another workplace. They are tied to a single restaurant or cuisine for the rest of their life and find it hard to break into management due to the lack of business skills.
If you are looking to be a versatile chef who can find their way around any kitchen in the world, culinary school is a fantastic option. The variety of classes offered prepare you to not only be a standout chef, but also to understand and run the business behind the profession.
Are You Ready for the Heat of the Kitchen?
If you want to be a professional chef and think culinary school is right for you, you could be the prefect student for an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts degree. ECPI University's Culinary Institute of Virginia offers this course at an accelerated rate. For more information on this exciting opportunity, connect with a friendly admissions counselor today.
It could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!
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