Do Culinary Schools Just Teach Regular Cooking?

Although the main reason you attend culinary programs is to learn how to cook, there’s more to it than just perfecting a variety of meals, fine cuisine and top notch breads and pastries. You’ll also leave your course with other skills which are crucial to your career as a successful chef, or culinary professional.

Let’s take a look at some of the other skills and knowledge you’ll learn when you sign up to a culinary school:

Cooking Professionally
Of course there is going to be differences between these cooking at home and cooking professionally, but at culinary school you’ll learn how to work in a professional kitchen, and how to behave as a professional chef. You’ll learn how things flow in a professional kitchen, and understand how to cater for large orders, which is not usually an easy task.

Team Work
Professional cooking works best when there’s an organized team. You may think most of the work is done by one chef, but you would be very wrong. Usually a professional kitchen contains a whole host of workers, each with their own place and set of responsibilities. Culinary programs can teach you all the different roles in a kitchen - who does what - along with working as a team and dealing with the pressures of a dinner rush. This will help you cope with demanding, real-life kitchen scenarios.

Food Safety and Sanitation
When working in the food industry, it’s important to follow strict food safety and sanitation guidelines and rules. Culinary programs will teach you to be responsible and informed in all aspects of preparing and serving food. Chances are you’ll come away with some medical knowledge too, such as the definition of a Shiga Toxin and why uncooked chicken is a potential health hazard.

Management Skills
Although you may not need these skills right away, you’ll understand the role and responsibilities of being a head chef and how to run a busy kitchen. There’s plenty to learn: bulk food costs, supplier relations, menu analysis, working with front staff, and employment law when it comes to hiring.

This is not as important as the rest; being a chef is one profession that can get by with word of mouth, so to speak. Still, as a professional chef, you’ll want contacts to get ahead and let people know your skills and you’re way of thinking when it comes to food. At culinary school, you’ll meet professional instructors from all kinds of backgrounds and histories – and a wealth of contacts. Whether it’s restaurant managers or hotel executives, your instructor may be willing to point you in the right direction and help up-and-coming talent find good work.

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