Cooking truly is an art. The best cooks allow their inspiration, creativity, and love for the craft to run free in order to create true masterpieces. The best cooks are the best because their creations come from their heart. They truly love what they do. However, in order to be successful in the industry, creativity and inspiration are not the only ingredients needed. These must be combined in equal parts with the science of flavor and nutrition, practice, and know-how.
The culinary arts industry is very competitive. It is more and more common for top restaurants to require that candidates who want to work in their kitchens have a degree in culinary arts. This means that, if you want to be taken seriously as a chef, and if you want to be successful in your career, you are going to need to get an education.
The Benefits of Culinary School
Certainly, it is very possible to get a position as a cook without having a culinary arts degree. However, it's not likely to be a high-end restaurant and it is not likely to pay very much. Still, for many, getting into the kitchen is important because it gives you job experience, something that will be important for your later career.
However, job experience is no longer enough. A culinary degree, combined with practical work experience, will give you the competitive edge to obtain higher level positions in better restaurants. Depending on the degree level you choose, a culinary arts degree can also give you the knowledge you need to have in order to run a kitchen, and manage other kitchen staff.
Types of Culinary Programs
There are culinary training programs such as vocation schools or cooking schools. These are not undergraduate degrees, but can help you get started in your career and can be a good beginning to your education.
In order to be competitive, you'll likely want to attend a college or university that offers a culinary arts undergraduate degree. With these programs you can earn an associate or bachelor level degree. Typically, these degree programs include internships or apprenticeships that help you get hands on training and practical knowledge. This type of formal training has become very desirable, since it is becoming more common for restaurants to require and undergraduate degree in culinary arts.
More than Just Cooking
A typical culinary arts degree is designed to be well-rounded, and provide you with skills and knowledge that will be needed to be successful. Certainly, you'll take cooking and baking classes. You'll also take accounting classes, food sanitation and safety classes, and classes on dining room service. Depending on your focus, you might also find yourself taking management and human resources classes.
Most culinary arts degrees are designed not only to make you a master of the kitchen, but also give you knowledge relating to the food industry in general. This way you can not only cook, but understand the other factors that go into running a restaurant.