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Culinary Arts Career - Is It For You?

Oct 27, 2007
If you love to cook, consider a career in the culinary arts. Today's diners have increasing demands and expectations for the nutritional content, quality and presentation of meals. Additionally, people are dining out more than ever before. The combination of these factors has led to a tremendous demand for those who are skilled in culinary arts. The career field encompasses hundreds of job titles in a dizzying array of locations. Here is what you should know about a possible career in the culinary arts. Presented below are just a few of the possible culinary arts related job titles from which you could choose.

Personal Chef: A personal chef works for an individual or family. He or she is responsible for creating and executing a menu for the family's meals. The personal chef is also responsible for maintaining the household's food supplies. Depending on the size of the household and the size of the staff, the personal chef may work alone or may be in charge of any number of assistants.

Executive Chef: An executive chef performs the same function as a personal chef, only his or her realm is a restaurant or private club rather than a household. The executive chef is always assisted by a team of cooks, sous chefs, wait staff and many others, but generally holds final responsibility for all aspects of the kitchen.

Restaurant Manager: A restaurant manager is responsible for all of the day-to-day operations of a restaurant, including the front of house (dining room) as well as the back of house (kitchen). He or she is responsible for managing a large staff.

Consultant: A consultant chef assists restaurant owners in designing their restaurants. He or she may help plan the menu, choose the décor and even train the restaurant's staff.

Food Writer: If you want to combine a love a food with a talent for writing, consider a job as a food writer. Opportunities range from local newspaper columns to publishing your own cookbook.

Education and Experience: Depending on the venue that you select, you may be able to work your way up to a notable position. History is full of stories of famous chefs who got their start as dishwashers or line cooks. However, if you have your eye on a higher-level career, you may wish to attend a culinary arts school. A culinary arts degree shows loyalty and dedication, as well as a thorough grounding in the practical knowledge necessary for an advanced culinary position. You will still need to pay your dues, but the degree can help your chances of advancing through the ranks in a competitive environment.

Restaurant Careers for Non-Chefs: If you love the restaurant environment but are not an excellent cook, there are careers that may be right for you. Consider getting a degree in restaurant management. Focusing on the business side of restaurant work from the outset can help you to find a position that is not dependent on your cooking skills. However, it is highly recommended that you learn the proper procedures for restaurant cooking. Even if you are not exceptional at the art of cooking, a thorough knowledge of the science will make you a much better manager.

A career in the culinary arts can be highly rewarding on both a personal and professional level. Consider attending cooking school to gain a well-balanced foundation in both cooking and business skills. Look for a career that fits both your skill set and personal interests. It may take some time to work your way up, but ultimately you can find the career path that works best for you.
About the Author
The Culinary Institute of Virginia College offers an outstanding Culinary Arts program. Please visit http://www.culinard.com/.
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