While you might be able to land a job in a restaurant without professional credits, a formal education will give you the knowledge and skills needed to prepare you for a variety of culinary career opportunities. Earning a culinary art or culinary management degree can put you a step ahead of the curve. But no matter where you find your training—on the job or in the classroom—there are skills that all individuals in the field are expected to have.
Basic Culinary Arts Skills
As mentioned, a culinary degree program is a sure way to enhance your skills. As a culinary arts major, you will learn basic culinary skills in your first year, including knife skills, cooking methods, cooking techniques, and food preparation. You’ll also learn storage procedures, safe food preparation procedures, basic kitchen hygiene, and culinary math and measurements.
Proper Cooking Techniques
After mastering the basics, you'll learn how to build upon these and apply them in the kitchen. Hands-on training in proper cooking techniques, including sauteing, grilling, and frying, will be given. Roasting is also included in the culinary arts repertoire. In addition, a professional chef will provide instructions on how to:
- Use stocks and prepare soups and sauces (including emulsified sauces, grand sauces, consomme, and reductions)
- Correctly prepare beef, veal, poultry, fish, and shellfish
- Cook starches
- Plate a dish
- Pair the main dish with the side dishes
Mastery-Level Culinary Arts Skills
The last portion of culinary arts school will teach you mastery-level skills as well as any "extra" skills you want to perfect. You can choose to learn baking skills or everything there is to know about working with specific desserts including tarts, confections, cakes, and sorbets.
After your culinary education is complete, you may be required to take part in a paid or unpaid externship in a restaurant. This will teach you vital time management skills and provide you with real-life experience working under pressure in a kitchen. In addition, you’ll learn what it’s like to be part of a kitchen’s team.
Formal Education In Culinary Arts
A professional culinary art or culinary management degree will teach you how to "do it all." It'll prove to potential employers that you know the ins and outs of the culinary world. When you complete a culinary arts degree, you will have the necessary skills and the confidence to perform in the kitchen. Earning a formal education in culinary arts will also give you the building blocks you need to make the move into a culinary management position or even start a restaurant of your own. With the right skills, you can work in any kitchen you want!