Of the many paths that lead to a career in culinary indulgence, the one that starts at the front steps of culinary arts schools and then on up through a professional apprenticeship may be the most likely to result in a great salary.
Kicking off culinary arts careers via chef school is also the best way to discover which branch of the baking and cooking arts is right for you. The options are nearly as plentiful as there are different types of food in the world, but can be broken down into baking and pastry, ethnic food, catering management, restaurant management and beverage service.
Classes are available for chefs in each specialty, either from local community colleges and technical schools or from major culinary arts schools in busy metropolitan centers. In almost all cases, about one year of classes is required, as is spending several hours in real, working kitchens. The only exception is wine studies, which can require a bachelor’s degree in the art of making, tasting and selling the amaranthine beverage.
Baking and Pastry Chefs
Careers in making sweets and baking pastries is ideal for the morning lark gourmands of the world, especially if those early birds have a penchant for immediate gratification. For these standout chefs, work usually begins before the sun rises. You can either start your own bakery or work as a dessert manager in restaurants or grocery shops. Many baking lovers learn what they need to know on the job, watching and listening to other chefs. However, those who enroll in baking and pastry schools can skip the years of grunt work required of their non-educated competition.
Ethnic Food Chefs
Another major benefit of culinary arts schools is the cosmopolitan nature of the education you will receive there. If you’re interested in ethnic foods, this feature is particularly valuable. In chef school, you will learn how to properly use a wok, how to make pasta from scratch, how to roll perfect sushi rolls and much, much more. Be prepared to adapt to changing food trends over the span of your career.
If traditional but exquisite food is more your style, you might consider a career in providing meals for social gatherings large and small. You will find money-making opportunities in weddings, business conferences, banquets and even private events of the rich and famous. In addition to choosing among the best major culinary arts schools for your education, we recommend working as a part of a catering team to learn the ropes. You might also enroll in a business class or two to prepare you for the advertising and salesmanship you’ll need to be successful.
Expanding your education beyond culinary arts schools is also important for foodies who crave the management experience and the top dollar salaries that come with it. Fortunately, many schools that teach cooking also teach the business and communication skills necessary for successful culinary arts careers. As a restaurant manager, you will supervise employees, order raw ingredients, create menus and devise daily specials.
Specialization in fancy drinks can be as simple as obtaining a bar tending license or as formal as a degree in wine studies from a traditional university. To succeed, you will need a strong sense of smell and taste, a creative personality and a lust for the fast-paced nature of the work.