The first thing most people think of when they hear the words culinary arts is chef. That is the obvious career choice for those who further their education and get a degree in culinary arts. There are many categories in that genre; executive chef, sous chef, prep cook, line cook. Becoming a chef is a competitive industry and some may find once they’ve achieved being a chef it’s not quite what they were hoping for. Being a chef is a very rewarding career, but it also requires long hours and a flexible schedule. And although the choice of chef is the obvious career choice for those who have received a degree in culinary arts, it’s not the only career choice.
Many students of culinary arts go forward to become restaurant and/or hotel managers. There are many hotels throughout the world which pride themselves on their in-house restaurants, such as Wolfgang Puck’s WP24 restaurant, located on the 24th floor of the Ritz Carleton in Los Angeles. High-end hotels offer lucrative jobs to some of the best chefs in the world who run their hotels restaurants. Furthermore, there are thousands of restaurant chains throughout the country who offer management positions. Restaurant managers are expected to know the ends and outs of the entire restaurant, not just making schedules and placing food orders.
Another culinary arts career choice you may want to consider is that of a food critic. Becoming a food critic is a wonderful alternative. It puts you on the other side of the kitchen so to say. Food critics often get to travel, are invited to restaurant openings and wine tastings around the world and have amazing palates. Food critics are able to enjoy the finest and rarest foods and inform the rest of us of the tastes, costs and their impressions of such.
Maybe the fast-paced life of an executive chef isn’t your thing. Maybe you like the sweeter side of life. Some of my favorite foods come from a local bakery; cheesecake brownies, tiramisu, and chocolate covered strawberries. As a baker you are offered a more stable schedule, often starting in the early morning hours. Bakers, like chefs, are becoming more recognized and appreciated in today’s society. Bakers often compete with other bakers locally and nationally for cash prizes and bragging rights. They are also able to include their creative talents in a variety of ways from shaping toppings to designing the most imaginative cakes you could possibly think of.
The possibilities are endless as to which career path one can choose to follow. Chef, manager, critic, baker, wine expert, and even teacher. Do you have a desire to feed other’s passions for food? If so, a career in teaching cooking classes may be for you. Teaching positions range from school age children in elementary schools to instructors in culinary schools. You can teach classes to adults locally or travel from school to school teaching children about your specialties. Getting a degree doesn’t bind you to one specific career for the rest of your life. Getting a degree opens many doors; it’s up to you to choose which to walk through.