Last Updated: May 18, 2021
Studying Culinary Arts in the US
Culinary Art by definition implies art that is related to cooking. This includes the preparation of the food, presentation of it, and also includes the way it is served to the public. Culinary Art, like most other forms of art, requires genuine passion from the aspirant including other factors like time management, creativity, ability to multitask, and even organization skills in order to excel in the field.
Though it is a general assumption that this field is easy, without the right kind of motivation, it can take years for people to master the art up to any extend. Students who wish to take up this field will have the choice of taking an Associates's Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, or even certification courses in the beginning. After this, they can choose to either continue their education or create a professional experience in the field which can always give them enough promotions as long as their work is brilliant.
The growth in the hospitality sector in the US has led to increasing demand for culinary artists who can cater to a wide variety of audiences. People who have taken Culinary courses will be able to work in hotels, resorts, restaurants and even have the option of being self-employed.
Benefits of Studying Culinary Arts
Studying Culinary Arts is one of the ways in which students can understand and appreciate cultures from different parts of the world. The process of creating food and presenting it depends entirely on the culture the student is focusing on. They have the option of specializing in a particular cuisine but at the same time, they will have to learn the basics from most of the prominent food cultures in the world. This requires them to learn about the food history of the world and the development of it from how it began till date.
By taking a Culinary Degree, students will learn a variety of cooking styles and it also provides them with various opportunities that might otherwise take them years of experience to provide. The course also grooms the student to withstand the stressful environment in the kitchen. Along with the study of preparing and presenting food, they will have to learn basic mathematics and accounting along with nutritional science.
Students can take an Associate degree and then apply for a Bachelors. For the Associate degree, courses in Liberal Arts, Science, and Mathematics would suffice along with food principles, kitchen mechanics, and cooking principles.
Associate Degrees in Culinary Arts
Most Culinary aspirants choose to take an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts which extends up to a period of 2 years but provides a collective learning experience of cooking skills along with subjects like Mathematics and English. Completing an Associate’s Degree will provide the student with the option of working in restaurants or in most of the fields they aspire to be in. It can also be considered as a step toward taking a Bachelor’s Degree in the same subject. The average cost of studying for an Associate’s degree will be around $18,000 per year and is subject to variation according to the place they are enrolled in.
Students will be taught about preparing both seafood and meat according to classic recipes. Apart from this, they will be focusing on both contemporary and classic culinary methods since in most recipes it is the method and technique of preparation that matters more than the other aspects.
Common Courses for Associate Degree in Culinary Arts
The courses that are included in the Associates Degree program are generally
- Cooking Methods
- Knifing Skills
- Cutlery Usage
Undergraduate Programs in Culinary Arts
Students can choose to take a Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts either right after high school or after taking an Associate’s Degree in the subject. Doing this course provides them with the opportunity of taking up hospitality management duties. The duration of this program is 4 years in all and requires the student to complete at least 120-semester credits.
The tuition fee of a Bachelor’s degree in the field is subject to the factors like the length of the program, the number of credits required, and the popularity of the chosen institution. Students will have the option of completing an Honors degree within 2 years or take up full-time courses that extend up to 4 years in all. Once they have completed the course, they will be able to work in restaurants and hotels.
Admission Requirement for Bachelor’s Degree
To enroll in the Bachelor's degree program in Culinary Arts, students might need prior cooking experience, through volunteering or social service. An educational placement test might be needed before the course begins.
Common Courses for Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts
The common courses taught for Bachelor’s degree in this field are-
- International Cuisine
- Developing Menu
- Buffet Planning
- Knife Handling
- Cooking Styles
Graduate Programs in Culinary Arts
Master’s programs in the subject are all about shaping the skills that have already been formed at the undergraduate level and putting them to use with the help of managerial elements. While most colleges offer an associate's degree and a bachelor’s degree, it is not common for universities and institutions to have Master’s degree courses.
Most students opt for an offline mode of study if they want to complete their education from a reputed institution. This is possible because graduate programs are created with the expectation that the student is well versed in the manual skills required. The course will be theory-oriented and will be mainly about business-oriented skills that can help the student in their future endeavors.
Common Courses for Master’s Degree in Culinary Arts
The common courses for a Master’s degree in the subject are-
- Food Science
- HR Management
- Commercial Cookery
- Catering Management
- Quality Improvement
Doctoral Programs in Culinary Arts
A doctoral program in culinary arts can take around 3-7 years to be completed and requires both educational experiences up to Master’s and work experience for the student to gain admission. Having a Ph.D. in the field can help the candidate in outgrowing the professional hurdles in the field and taking up other fields of occupation like being a gourmet chef or a kitchen supervisor.
The courses that will be focused on includes advanced levels of baking, pastry making, international cuisine, and other food safety regulations. Like doctoral degrees in other disciplines, students will be required to complete the necessary coursework and then move on to submitting a thesis to complete the program.
Certification Courses under Culinary Arts
- Personal and culinary services- this field involves food preparation and offering skin, hair care, and beauty services. A career in this field includes cosmetologist, personal chef, pastry artist, chef, make-up artist.
- Funeral Service and Mortuary Science- job security is here for obvious reasons; the job is to help in preparing for funeral services. They help in preserving the body for the funeral, but this career has erratic working hours. A person can work in hospitals, the funeral industry, etc. Pay scales have gone up with the times and with more aesthetics coming into the fray.
- Culinary Arts and Related Services- study deals in general arts and cooking. It relates to food preparation, cooking methods, hygiene, principles of food service management, etc. Jobs are within the food industry. Salary is at par with the hospitality sectors.
Top Universities for Culinary Arts in the US
- Institute of Culinary Education (NYC)
- California Culinary Academy (San Francisco)
- The International Culinary School (Washington)
- Culinary Institute at Hyde Park NY
- Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts
Career Opportunities in Culinary Arts
Graduates can work in a good hotel or a restaurant. You can join as a trainee and go on to become chefs, sommeliers (barman) in hotels or plush restaurants or take a management role, be a food expert, own business, food columnist, and even teachers. Some can be a line cook, food, and beverage managers as well. Jobs are also in cafes, resorts, catering services. One can even start his own business. Some roles are discussed here-
- Restaurant Chef- They often work under the Executive chef and have to follow recipes that the chef requires to the dot. It is an entry-level position that gets promoted according to the skillset they develop while performing the job.
Median Salary: $27,250
- Kitchen/Culinary Managers- are the supervisor in the kitchens of colleges, schools, hospitals. They also hire new joiners and mentor them.
Median Salary: $56,590
- Executive Chef- is an assistant to the chef, who is the head with a kitchen, work closely with chefs, assists with purchase, supplies, training new cooks, inventory, etc.
Median Salary: $45,249
- Catering Manager- works with various companies and establishments to plan food budget, portioning, and keep track of the execution of the menu on the table. This career is more to do with customer relations rapport to build a business.
Median Salary: $39,973
- Bakery and Pastry Chef- This job involves baking goods for small-scale grocery stores as well as five-star restaurants. It includes mostly creative work along with managerial perfection for tasks like ordering supplies to oversee other staff.
Median Salary: $25,955
Salary and Employment Outlook
As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, food preparations and kitchen supervisors earned about $31,450 on an average annually in 2009 while top cooks and chefs took home about $44,200 on average. Like in other fields the salary in Culinary Arts goes up with experience. Someone who starts their own business can expect to earn a lot. Employment is expected to grow by 6-9% in the years 2008-2018.