What is the Career in Culinary Arts Degree?

Do you find joy whenever you cook? Are you passionate about creating amazing dishes for yourself, friends, and family? If yes, you might want to consider a career in cooking.

The world of culinary arts is challenging as it requires skills and knowledge of various cooking techniques, ingredients, and business skills. Fortunately, a degree in culinary arts can help you navigate through all of these and enjoy countless career opportunities, from being a chef and cook to being in charge of hiring and supervising kitchen staff.

This article is your ultimate guide to succeeding in a career with a culinary arts degree. We’ll talk about the entire process, from start to finish, so you can finally achieve that culinary dream career of yours!

What are the culinary arts?

The term culinary means “related to cooking,” and art is the creative expression of an individual, usually in a visual form, like a painting or sculpture. Culinary arts are human creative skills with food.

Usually, culinary arts are seen in the form of meals served in restaurants, but the term is broad and refers to all professionals in the food service industry.

A skilled culinary arts professional understands the impact and significance of presenting food in an appetizing and attractive manner. They spend a lot of time making sure that every dish they create not only tastes good but also smells sensational and looks aesthetically appealing.

By maximizing their skills through a bachelor’s in culinary arts and all available tools, they aim to create the perfect culinary experience by harmonizing different factors. This is why all of their creations, whether appetizers or main courses, are irresistible, as they stimulate all the senses!

What are the career opportunities for culinary arts graduates?

Depending on the program you’ve completed, here are the jobs you can get with a culinary degree. We’ve listed some of the most common options below:

1. Chef

Thanks to the increasing number of TV shows and celebrity chefs, chefs have become more visible over the years. Nowadays, chefs work with high-quality ingredients and take inspiration from global palettes to create colorful, flavorful, and appetizing dishes.

With food trucks and food halls all the rage, chefs today can work in a casual environment or in fine-dining restaurants.

Either way, this role is all about getting the maximum flavor and freshness out of the ingredients they’re using while drawing on creativity and culinary history on a daily basis.

Average salary per month: $3,848

2. Research Chef

As the name suggests, a research chef is someone who can effectively cook and conduct research, usually about food science.

Research chefs marry the art and science of cooking to create new cooking methods or new food and beverage items on the menu. They can also work on creating new cooking methods, food preservation methods, and dish flavors.

To give you a better insight into what a research chef does, take a look at all the “fake meat” burgers going around today. These are the creations of research chefs who aim to help individuals reduce their meat consumption for health reasons by allowing them to enjoy a meatless alternative.

Average salary per month: $8,455

3. Baker or Pastry Chef

Baking and pastry arts are one of the most popular subspecialties under culinary arts, focused on making bread, cakes, pies, pastries, and many other sweet treats.

After completing a degree focused on pastry arts, you can work as a restaurant chef, pastry chef, catering professional, wedding cake designer, artisan baker, or even open your own cake shop or bakery.

These days, bakers often niche down and offer a single category of products, be it cupcakes, ice cream, or gluten-free goods.

Baking is more technical than cooking, as swapping one ingredient for another will drastically impact the taste and appearance of the dish. For example, when you swap sugar for honey or molasses, expect that the texture, consistency, and flavor of the dish won’t be the same.

Average salary per month: $3,489 (Baker), $4,111 (Pastry chef)

4. Restaurant Manager

Restaurant managers are the heart and soul of every restaurant operation. With their in-depth knowledge of business acumen, they have to keep everything running to ensure that the restaurant is profitable.

A modern restaurant manager usually specializes in working with the staff in order to uphold the highest customer service standards, or they might want to work behind the scenes to ensure cooks work more efficiently.

Restaurant managers train and hire employees, schedule their shifts, perform regular inventory, and utilize data to assess if the restaurant is performing. They also have to create and implement the strategies necessary to improve restaurant operations.

Average salary per month: $4,519

Deciding What Culinary Program to Study

The first step in creating a career in culinary arts is deciding what program you want to study first. The culinary arts are broad and diverse, which is why it’s crucial to take some time to think about the program that’s right for you.

Ideally, you should choose a culinary program that piques your interest. As they say, it won’t feel like work if you love what you’re doing every day.

To help you narrow down your options, consider looking at the following culinary programs:

1. Culinary Arts Degree

With a culinary arts degree, students have the opportunity to learn about traditional and contemporary culinary techniques. This course includes different areas of cooking as well as a curriculum focused on business skills.

Choose this program and learn valuable information that you can apply when starting your own small-scale local restaurant or when you work in one of the highest-paid restaurants in the world.

A culinary arts degree covers the following topics:

  • Brand creation and management
  • Financial Considerations
  • Food science
  • Marketing
  • Menu planning
  • Table service

2. Pastry and Bakery

Some culinary schools offer pastry and bakery programs that provide you with the knowledge to take on different positions in the food service industry, such as being a cake decorator and designer, being able to run your own bakery, or working in the desert area of any restaurant.

Through this program, you’ll learn and master how to create your own bread, cookies, cakes, doughs, and pastries from scratch. From the basics of pastry-making to the more elaborate creations of a pastry chef, this program will cover different topics.

You’ll also learn about the business side of this field, like starting your own bakery and how to manage your finances as an entrepreneur.

3. Hospitality Management and Innovation

Do you want to focus more on the business side of hospitality management? Then completing a program in Hospitality Management and Innovation might be ideal for you.

This program is an excellent avenue to learn the basics of cooking and baking and the strategies necessary to effectively manage a business and its employees.

With this program, you’ll learn how to become an effective business leader, communicate with employees and customers professionally, and understand the ins and outs of beverage operations. This program also covers topics relating to creating a menu and catering small and large-scale events.

4. Professional Certificate in Food Preparation

A professional certificate in food preparation allows you to learn about different food safety and sanitation techniques. You’ll also know more about preparing a wide variety of dishes using all sorts of ingredients.

Enroll in this program and expect to learn about the importance of managing a buffer, proper knife skills, the shelf life of different ingredients, and the nutritional content of every dish.

Conclusion

Knowing how to cook isn’t enough to succeed in the world of the culinary arts. It’s imperative to master both culinary and non-culinary skills to better prepare you for this profession.

Take note of the information here, and you’re on your way to creating a career in the culinary arts. The journey is long, but we guarantee you that going through all of these will be worth it in the end!

Some FAQs:

  1. Is the culinary arts a good career?

    Yes, because aside from having different career opportunities, a career in the culinary arts also helps you gain real-world culinary experience, allows you to network, and gives you the skills and experience to start your own business in the food service industry.

  2. What are the three disadvantages of being a chef?

    One, it’s a physically demanding job; second, your social life often suffers; and third, working in the kitchen with other people is often stressful.

  3. What is the highest-paying job with a culinary degree?

    The highest-paid chef position is executive chef. They head the operations of the entire kitchen and provide general management and guidance to all the personnel. The average monthly salary of an executive chef in the US is approximately $6,250 per month.

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Dipayan Mondal
Dipayan Mondal

Dipayan is the author of this blog. He completed his hotel management degree from GNIHM, Kolkata. And he is very passionate about the hospitality industry. And right now, he is working as a successful hotelier in a 5-star hotel.