What Will I Learn in Culinary School?

Preparing exotic dishes, baking bread and pairing wine with foods are just a few of the skills that you can learn in culinary school. A culinary program can help prepare you for a job as a chef, baker, wine steward or restaurant owner. Schools offering Baking & Pastry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Culinary School Options

Many culinary schools offer associate's or bachelor's degree programs in culinary arts. If you wish to become a baker, you can enter a more specialized degree program in pastry and baking arts. Certificate and degree programs are also available in wine and beverages. Most culinary schools provide hands-on training through internships, externships and daily practice at school kitchens.

Important Facts About Culinary School

Online Availability Some programs are available, but campus-based training is more common
Common Courses International Cuisine, Nutrition Science, Baking & Desserts and more
Possible Careers Personal Chef, Caterer, Food Stylist, Nutritionist
Prerequisites At the undergraduate level, typically a high school diploma or equivalent

Culinary Arts Programs

Culinary arts curricula typically begin with a basic introduction to the kitchen and its equipment, before moving on to skill development. Topics that you'll likely cover during a program include knife proficiency, cooking techniques, ingredient use and food safety. Regional cuisines are often explored, such as traditional French or Mediterranean foods.

It's also common for culinary arts programs to dedicate some coursework to pastries and baking. As you progress through a program, courses may cover the business aspects of the culinary world as well, including hospitality and service management, accounting, budgeting and menu development.

Baking and Pastry Programs

Much like culinary arts programs, baking and pastry programs begin with fundamentals like food ingredients and equipment use. Additionally, you might study topics related to operations management, such as economics, cost control, purchasing and menu development. During a baking and pastry program, you'll be introduced to the baking techniques needed to produce breads and rolls, cakes, cookies, tarts and confections.

Wine and Beverage Programs

You can also enroll in a program that focuses on sommelier, or wine steward, training. Wine and beverage programs generally cover spirits and mixology for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Classes explore how to concoct classic and contemporary wines and spirits, as well as how to pair food with wines and beverages. Frequently, these programs include management or operations courses that cover pricing and inventory topics.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that, between 2012 and 2022, the number of jobs for chefs and head cooks was projected to grow by five percent, which was lower than the national average. Job competition should be greater at high-end or fine dining establishments. If you have additional skills or training in business or management, you might have better job opportunities, according to the BLS. During the same time period, job openings for food service managers, such as restaurant managers, were expected to grow by two percent.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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