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How To Begin Your Culinary Arts Education - Articles Surfing
You experimented with different tastes, flavors, and aromas. You noticed the quality, or lack thereof, in the dinner presentation, although others in your party may not have. You pride yourself on easily being able to tell if the chef was having an 'off day.' You may have even thought about becoming a chef yourself one day, and you were tempted to look into a career in the Culinary Arts every time you went into a fine restaurant and enjoyed a great meal.
Let's face it, you think about the Culinary Arts more than the common person. You are in the minority who understands that of all the fine arts form, this is the only one that nourishes your body, as well as your spirit. You may have even thought about enrolling in a Culinary School before, but you frankly just didn't know how to go about it. Hopefully this article will set you on the best path to that end. If you enjoy cooking, baking, and dealing with people's innermost passion, (which food is always among the list) then this is the right career for you.
What are the benefits of a Culinary Arts Degree?
Before you embark on any career path, it's important to know exactly why you are choosing it. The major benefits of a Culinary Arts degree are:
1. You'll be assured a career in any place at any time. Food has been and will always be in demand because people have to eat every single day, so there is always demand for someone who is qualified.
2. The sky's the limit for an enterprising chef. If you have any ambition at all, you can get famous just by being yourself! A Culinary Arts College will assure you the most important tools and systems, but then it's up to you to use that knowledge to become a success in any creative way you see fit. Many successful chefs own restaurants on multiple continents, with corporate stock and summer homes on the nearby beaches!
3. Vital Experience. A Culinary Arts Class provides you with the knowledge of which types of food are perishable and which can be stored for a longer amount of time. It is vitally important to know exactly what you are doing when you are a chef because you are feeding people, which can be dangerous if you have the proper training.
4. Food has always been said to be the sure path to anyone's heart. Therefore I cannot see how one can ever go wrong by choosing a career in the Culinary Arts. Not only do you get to do what you like, but you also please people everyday with your talents and expertise.
5. Even if you don't want to be a world renowned chef but just a great mom or dad, your efforts will always be appreciated, and your knowledge will be passed on through your kids and grandchildren too.
6. The greatest reward a chef can have is when he or she receives heartfelt praise for their creation, both for the presentation and for the taste. A Degree in the Culinary Arts will give you the training to earn that praise every time.
If these are not some of the reasons that you want to become a chef, then perhaps a Culinary Arts Degree is not for you. Assuming that you are still interested, let's skip ahead and I'll tell you how to find and enroll in one of the better Culinary Arts Schools.
Finding the best Culinary Arts School or Academy
There are many Culinary Schools and academies throughout the world. One Culinary Arts academy will be more prestigious than another, and the culinary education may be better at still another school. Finding the right Culinary School or academy for you involves a little detective work, but is well worth it.
A lot of information, both good and bad, regarding specific Culinary Arts schools and academies can be found online. There are plenty of culinary discussion groups, messageboards, and websites where people have expressed their opinions on various culinary schools and teaching methods. A great place to begin is on my own website, at http://www.culinary-school.biz
First of all, it helps to know your own skill level, so that you may choose accordingly. Technical and vocational schools offer excellent programs for the new culinary professional. These schools, often part of the county or state school system, will cover cooking, nutrition, menu planning, and business. Private schools also welcome the new chef. In almost any big city, you can find a world-class culinary academy. The world-famous Cordon Bleu has branches in the United States, for example.
Many traditional universities in the U.S. also offer an associate's or bachelor's degree in the culinary arts, often with either day or evening classes. And as part of a larger school or college, you have the option to take electives to make you a better chef. Interested in growing your own ingredients? Cross-enroll in some horticulture classes. Want to work in a hotel or spa? Sit in on some hospitality management classes. Unlike other university degree programs, it is easy to obtain just the experience you need during your Culinary School years for the type of work that you want to be doing afterwards.
Culinary School location is important because of the local cuisine.
No matter where you go, a basic culinary education focuses on French methods. But if you want to study other cuisines, look carefully at the location. A culinary academy in Maui might sound ideal, but maybe it is not so great for the future pastry chef. California is beautiful too, but you'll be hard pressed to find teachers and local chefs interested in New England food. The point is, pick a Culinary Academy that you know matches your interests. Maui might be ideal for learning Asian cuisine, but consider moving to New England if you want to learn chowders!
The catch - Price and Value of a typical Culinary Academy
A public culinary school and a private culinary academy have very different price tags. Much like big-name traditional universities, private culinary academy courses can cost up to $30,000 a year, and if you have to borrow money to pay for that, your post-school financial life may be really tough for a few years afterwards.
For most students, how much the Culinary Arts academy will cost is the major factor in which school they choose. Naturally, the more prestigious a Culinary Academy is, the higher the tuition cost will be. Also, the higher the level of degree program, the more it will cost as well. Funding is a major consideration for most students, but it is fairly easy to find funding sources through loans, scholarships and internships. The world is always looking for the next Emeril to feed them!
For the new chef who is starting an associate or bachelor's degree in culinary arts, a public culinary academy might be the best choice. Check to see the services they offer to students and alumni. Any culinary program should have connections for internships, job placement assistance, and successful alumni mentors.
Picking a Culinary School
Once you have narrowed your list by location and price range, it is time to start gathering information on various Culinary Academies and Schools. You can begin to narrow it down further by those that have programs that fit your goals. Different Culinary Arts academies will offer different degrees and Culinary Arts programs, so you will also need to decide what degree level you want to achieve and what course of study you want to pursue.
There is most likely a Culinary Arts academy for every type of cuisine you can think of. If you are specifically interested in French cuisine, there are plenty of Culinary Arts academies out there for you. It is only when you are looking to study a specialty or ethnic food that finding a school or academy becomes difficult.
The type of degree you want to achieve will also have an impact on which Culinary Arts academy you choose. Some Culinary Arts academies offer very specialized degrees, while others have several different levels of degrees, such as the Culinary Arts Associates, Bachelors, and Masters Programs. The level of your Culinary Arts degree will all depend on how long you want to spend in school, and of course how much you'd like to pay. But like any other career path, the more you put into it, the more you can get out of it.
Deciding on which Culinary Arts academy you want to spend the next several years of your life attending is a big decision. It is quite a commitment that you will be making, but in the end, the experience you will gain from the A Culinary School will further your career significantly. It can be a daunting task, and many quit before they begin, but if you follow up with what you learn at culinary art schools you can shape the very way of the world and create peace.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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