Are cookery courses right for you? To say you’re passionate about cooking may be an understatement, but you’re still on the fence about pursuing a degree in culinary arts.
We say go for it and here are ten reasons why.
Fame and fortune might not be in your future – though you never know – but a rewarding and exciting career is.
The Joy of Creating Delicious Food
Master chef Anthony Bourdain said, “A well-prepared meal is a work of art, a symphony of flavors and textures that can transport you to another place.”
Every artist, whether working with musical notes, words, pigments, or other media, will describe the joy of taking those components and turning them into art. For the culinary artist, those components are vegetables, fruits, grains, meats, spices, and other seasonings.
The result is the same, with one distinction: the joy of knowing that your work satisfies the soul and nourishes the body.
Exciting Career Opportunities
It’s not just about creating a pièce de résistance for the discerning palate. Every successful culinary enterprise has places for a broad range of talents and jobs. Here are a few:
The executive chef lays out and oversees the vision for the kitchen and what it will be. They handle menu development and creating new recipes, ensuring food is prepared to the highest standards, staff management, and other tasks.
The sous chef is, in every sense of the word, second-in-command in the kitchen, supporting and assisting the executive chef in kitchen operations. Whereas the executive chef’s role is strategist, the sous chef’s is execution.
This chef handles the creation, preparation, and presentation of all desserts, pastries, and other sweet treats in a restaurant or bakery. A key role, they will often work closely with an executive chef to create a selection of desserts that pairs well with the main courses.
From the basics of cutting vegetables, searing meat, and baking pastries to bringing it all together into a mouth-watering dish, the culinary instructor specializes in teaching the art, craft, and science of fine cooking. They plan the cookery courses, teach classes, and evaluate student progress. The chef’s dominion is the kitchen; the instructor’s is the classroom and lab.
If Anthony Bourdain is correct and a well-prepared meal is a work of art, the food stylist is the one who presents it in its best light. Using the canvas of the plate and setting, they prepare and place the food, add embellishments – and occasional food stand-ins – and work with the photographers to get the perfect images.
Global Culinary Adventures
Just think, global culinary adventures await and you might not even need to leave home. Every culture has its unique foods, seasonings, and ways to prepare them. Ways that the average person probably won’t experience and may not be aware of.
As a culinary professional, you have the opportunity to experience different aromas and tastes and learn how to prepare them.
Job Security and Growth
No matter what the economy is like, people need to eat, and that means the food service industry, in general, is in pretty good shape. In a 2017 article, Forbes Magazine states that “only 17% of restaurants close in the first year.”
Michelin-rated restaurants the world over are looking for talented culinary professionals. Many provide opportunities to level up your skillsets and advance to positions of greater responsibility.
Or perhaps your dream is to open your own restaurant. It can be one of the most difficult businesses to get going, but if you get started the right way, it can lead to a really successful career.
Networking and Collaboration
While at school, the culinary arts professional will collaborate with and learn from renowned chefs, restaurateurs, and other food industry experts.
Many culinary schools attract a multi-national student body, where each student adds to the rich diversity and enhances the learning experience. This allows you to make friends and develop partnerships with people who share a common love of food and food preparation.
Continuous Learning and Skill Development
Completing a program is just the beginning and there is so much more to learn. As with the arts in general, there is always a different way to express yourself.
- Join a professional chef group
- Find workshops and other classes
- Try out new recipes with friends and family
- Check out different restaurants
- Work in a new kitchen
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Chefs and Head Cooks working in the United States earn between $37,350 – $91,520 with a median wage of $56,520.
Since culinary arts is arts and science where knowledge and technique matter, a diverse resume is the key to better jobs and better pay.
Versatile Work Environments
Where there is food there are opportunities. Here are a few:
- Restaurants from the local sports bar to 5-star Michelin-rated establishments
- Main and specialty dining rooms on cruise ships
- Catering firms
- Private households
- Food trucks
Contribution to Health and Wellness
People are becoming more conscious of the foods they eat and what goes into them. We want not only good-tasting food but food that is good for us.
Chefs need to consider:
- People with gluten allergies
- People who are lactose intolerant
- People who prefer or require a vegetarian or vegan diet
Chefs need to know what foods are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, artificial sugars, and salt This presents an opportunity to actively promote healthy living while dining out at a fine restaurant.
Personal and Professional Fulfillment
Intentionally set goals of mastering new skills, then revel in your accomplishment. Since culinary arts are all about creating dishes that appeal to the senses, try out your recipes on friends and family. You’ll get a lot of likes and maybe a few tips on how to improve.