You can hone your culinary skills at a number of different types of learning facilities, including dedicated cooking schools and culinary institutes, traditional colleges and universities, and recreational schools and programs.
If you approach cooking as you would a hobby, you might want to consider evening classes. But if you want to make cooking your vocation, there are several career paths you can pursue if you attend a culinary school:
- Chef: The occupation most often associated with cooking schools, chefs are expected to prepare food, manage kitchens, and keep them running smoothly and profitably.
- Restaurant and hotel (hospitality) manager: While a chef manages a kitchen, these professionals manage some or all of the other operations of a restaurant or hotel.
- Food researcher: Food companies and restaurant chains employ research chefs and food chemists to develop new ingredients and new processes.
- Nutritionist/dietician: Nutritionists and dieticians are frequently employed to design meal plans for patients and students in hospitals, schools and other institutional facilities.
- Food sales: Food and beverage companies are constantly looking for food-savvy salespeople to sell their products to restaurants and hotels.
- Food styling and media: It's the job of a food stylist to design the dishes used in television and across a variety of print media.
- Food training and instruction: Companies and restaurants hire food-service professionals to train their staffs.
Cooking and culinary programs vary in length according to what you'll receive upon completing the program — a certificate, diploma or degree. Many schools offer accelerated programs that involve a more intense schedule in a shorter amount of time.
After you've completed your initial research on Kudzu.com and have narrowed your list to a handful of cooking schools, it's a good idea to visit their campuses. Take note of the classroom sizes and facilities. Are the facilities and equipment current? How much hands-on experience will you receive?
With sufficient research and due diligence, it's not difficult to find a culinary school with the curriculum that's right for you. And before you know it, you'll have a tasty new career as well as the admiration of every dinner guest at your table.