Culinary schools are often associated with career paths such as executive chefs, pastry chefs, and restaurant cooks. But cooking schools are also a necessary source of training for those culinary students interested in developing food management skills that will help them succeed in the institutional food service industry.
Institutional food service plays an important role in society
Offering quality food and quality service in any arena where food is a necessary part of a routine often serves a greater purpose than just filling empty bellies. In any institutional food service setting where the menu selection is usually limited — prisons, school cafeterias, hospitals, and the military — food quality represents the most basic of needs. Perhaps they can't choose when they eat or have whatever they want, but if everyone eats well, they're happier and more balanced.
Employers recognize the importance of eating well too, particularly as it relates to employee performance. Many workplaces have cafeterias where a variety of foods are offered, including ethnic dishes and low-cal options. Employers have found that not only do workers perform better when they have dining options just a few floors away, but productivity goes up because lunch breaks tend to be shorter when the cafeteria is in the same building.
Culinary school training can help develop these food management skills and provide the knowledge and experience you need to achieve success in this industry.
Unique skill set can be developed at culinary arts school
Institutional food management may not sound like the most exciting career choice in the world, particularly if you can't get past the idea of the Jell-O and broth served to post-surgical patients in the hospital. However, institutional settings often require kitchen management staff to be familiar with dietary restrictions of their clients, be experts on substituting meals, and to know the Recommended Daily Allowances and prepare menus accordingly.
From a management perspective, keeping the kitchen stocked properly to meet individual needs, feed a large amount of people, and still produce something that won't be met with groans can be quite a challenge. Culinary arts school can help you hone your talent to meet that challenge successfully. If you like to toss a little math and science into your cooking and management routines, you may find this sort of work to be satisfying to both your intellect and to the appetites of those whose needs you are meeting.
As an additional benefit, institutional settings also tend to offer more normal working hours so the schedule alone may be worth it if you value your down time.
Cooking school education prepares you for challenging work
You may be just the type to take on the challenge of getting out three squares a day for a large group of people and KNOW that they will leave the table happy. Institutional food service may not allow you to try out as many creative new recipes on the unsuspecting, but a well-managed kitchen can certainly bring contentment to an entire group of people.