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Info on Careers in the Culinary Arts
What does it mean to be a Culinarian?
The term Culinarian is used to describe a cook or a chef.
What type of work does someone working in the field of Culinary Arts do?
Inspect and clean food preparation areas to ensure safe and sanitary food-handling practices, ensure that food is stored and cooked at correct temperature by regulating temperature of ovens, broilers, grills, and roasters, ensure the freshness of food and ingredients by checking for quality, keeping track of old and new items, and rotating stock, season and cook food according to recipes, bake, roast, broil, and steam foods, weigh, measure, and mix ingredients according to recipes using various kitchen utensils and equipment ,portion, arrange, and garnish food, and serve dishes to waiters or patrons, and observe and test foods to determine if they have been cooked sufficiently, using methods such as tasting, smelling, or piercing them with utensils.
Where do those trained in the Culinary Arts work?
Those trained in the Culinary Arts may work in any public or private establishment that prepares food. For example, these types of places may include restaurants and other dining establishments, health care and social assistance facilities, and schools. In short, any establishment where food is cooked or prepared may have a need for culinary professionals on their staff.
Will I be able to find a job?
It’s important to note that no school can guarantee employment. Here at Dorsey Schools, we offer career services assistance to all eligible graduates of the Culinary Arts program. You can learn more about the assistance our Career Services team offers by visiting our Career Services for Students and Graduates page. It is worth noting though that according to the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of cooks (positions that can be filled by Culinary Arts graduates) is projected to grow 4% from 2014-2024.a In addition, according to the State of Michigan DTMB, Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, employment of cooks (positions that can be filled by Culinary Arts graduates) is projected to grow 7.1% from 2014 to 2024.b
How much can I expect to make working in this field?
Here are some helpful websites that will allow you to view information on Wages & Employment trends:
- Michigan Occupational Wage Information (The SOC for Cooks (positions that can be filled by Culinary Arts graduates) is 35-2014)
- O*NET Online (Scroll down to Wages & Employment Trends to view helpful info on National/State trends)
Are there other jobs I may be able to obtain in the field of Culinary Arts?
Culinary Arts graduates may work under other job titles such as Backline Cook, Breakfast Cook, Banquet Cook, Cook, Fry Cook, Grill Cook, Line Cook, Pastry Baker, and Prep Cook. When looking at any position, it’s important to evaluate the duties of the position along with the required skills and knowledge to determine if a candidate may meet the requirements set forth by the employer.
Are there other career opportunities for those trained in the Culinary Arts?
Some may choose to use a career as a Culinary Arts as an entryway into the field. It would not be uncommon for someone trained in the Culinary Arts to work in the field to gain experience and later go back to school to further their education and/or strengthen their credentials. Experience is valued in the Culinary industry so there are opportunities for individuals to advance over time.
Pursuing a Career in the Culinary Arts
How might I determine if this is a good career choice for me?
In choosing any career, it’s important that someone look at a variety of factors, some of which include:
- Can I see myself doing the work that this position/occupation performs and am I going to be happy performing those tasks in that type of work setting?
- Do I have the skills/traits/characteristics that one may need to be successful in a position like this?
- How is the employment outlook/trends for this position?
I have no formal experience/training in cooking – can I really do this?
You can! Most Culinary Arts students have little to no formal culinary experience prior to beginning their training. That’s why it’s very important for someone interested in pursuing a career in Culinary Arts to evaluate their school and training options closely.
What type of training is needed?
There is no formal educational/training guidelines in place for those who wish to work in the Culinary industry, so training programs can be varied in terms of duration and content. In addition, some may choose to enter the field without formal training and learn while on the job. Given the nature of roles in the culinary industry, for those who choose a training program, it can be advantageous to a student to choose a program that has a strong hands-on component so they can “learn by doing.”
How long do I have to go to school?
There is no established amount of time in which an aspiring Culinarian will attend school in order to obtain training. Many Culinary Arts programs range from 1-2 years, but depending upon the program and the curriculum, some may be longer or shorter. In choosing a program, it’s important for someone to evaluate the training that is included so they can ensure they are receiving the training they need (and want) prior to entering the Culinary field.
What types of things should I look at in evaluating various training programs and cooking schools?
In evaluating any school, there are a number of factors you can and should evaluate. This includes cooking schools and/or Culinary Arts programs:
- Does does the school structure the program and will I have the opportunity to learn skills that will be valuable to me after graduation?
- What type of accreditation has the school/program earned?
- How does the school help its students and graduates both during their time as a student as well as after they have graduated?
- Does the program offer the opportunity to learn in a hands-on setting and provide opportunities to reinforce knowledge and skills learned in the classroom?
What are important characteristics for those working in the field of Culinary Arts to have?
While this isn’t a full list of important characteristics, individuals working in the Culinary Arts should have good customer-service skills, comprehension, dexterity, physical stamina, sense of taste and smell and teamwork. If you’re lacking in one or more of these areas, it doesn’t necessarily mean you wouldn’t be a good fit for the Culinary field, and it may be an area you wish to focus on as part of your training.
Is Certification/Licensure required to obtain employment in the Culinary field?
Generally speaking, certification is not required in order for a graduate to obtain employment in the Culinary field, however, certifications can help strengthen a candidates opportunities for employment. In addition, some employers and positions may have requirements for various certifications (such as ServSafe) so it’s important for job candidates to review positions carefully to ensure they meet the qualifications set forth by the employer.
My goal is to become an Executive Chef. Can your program help me or should I look at other programs or cooking schools?
Our goal at Dorsey Schools is to help students interested in the Culinary field launch their professional career. The Culinary field places value on experience, and generally speaking, it would be rare for any recent graduate of a culinary program to obtain a position as an Executive Chef straight out of school. Our goal, however, is to provide our students with a solid foundation that will prepare them not only for entry-level opportunities but also assist them as they continue to grow, learn, and advance as a culinarian.
The Dorsey Schools Culinary Arts Program
What will be covered in the program?
The Dorsey Schools Culinary Arts program offers instruction in both a traditional classroom setting as well as a hands-on environment by way of the kitchens at Dorsey Schools in addition to an externship that will take place during the final module of training. Students enrolled in the Culinary Arts program will be exposed to a variety of topics including (but not limited to):
- Measuring, Knife Skills, Mise en Place, and Cooking Techniques
- Current Issues in Nutrition, US Dietary Guidelines, and Nutrition Labeling
- Baking and Pastry
- Recipe Selection, Cost Controls and Menu Planning
- Catering and Cooking in a busy Commercial Kitchen
- Principles of Professionalism
- Appearance and Flavoring Profiles
- And more…!
I’m very interested in pursuing a career in Baking and Pastry. Can a Culinary Arts program help me with that?
Yes! Baking and Pastry are components of the Culinary Arts curriculum at Dorsey Schools. In addition, it has not been uncommon for graduates of the Dorsey Schools Culinary Arts program to obtain various jobs as a Baker or other similar positions within the Baking and Pastry field.
How do I enroll?
If you’re interested in enrolling in the Culinary Arts program at Dorsey Schools, the first step you should take is meeting with one of our Admissions Representatives. You can read more about our Admissions process on our Admissions information page.
Does your program include certification?
Upon successful completion of CA101 (taken as part of the curriculum in the Dorsey Schools Culinary Arts program), students will challenge the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe certification test. In addition, upon successful completion of CA104 (also taken as part of the curriculum), students will challenge the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (“NRAEF”) Nutrition certification test. Dorsey Schools will pay the cost one time for students in this program to challenge these certification exams, contingent upon the student meeting Dorsey Schools exam preparation requirements. Graduates are also eligible to become an ACF certified culinarian with documentation of both membership in the ACF and one year of in-field working experience. Dorsey Schools, however, makes no promise or guarantee of a graduate’s successful outcome of any certification exam or ability to gain certification recognition by any professional registry.
Will your program prepare me for certification?
Yes, our program is designed so graduates from the Dorsey Schools Culinary Arts program are eligible to become an ACF certified culinarian with documentation of both membership in the ACF and one year of in-field working experience.
Is your school/program accredited?
Yes, Dorsey Schools is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). In addition, the Culinary Arts program at Dorsey Schools is programmatically accredited by The Accrediting Commission of the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF). Each graduate of the Culinary Arts Program at Dorsey Schools is eligible to become an ACF certified culinarian with documentation of both membership in the ACF and one year of in-field working experience.
What is the tuition for the program?
The current tuition for the Dorsey Schools Culinary Arts program can be accessed by clicking here.
What is included in my tuition?
In addition to program instruction, tuition includes books, chef coat, pants, and hat, an apron, a kitchen knife and tool kit, and Dorsey Schools will pay the cost one time for students in this program to challenge two certification exam (as selected by Dorsey Schools and noted above), contingent upon the student meeting Dorsey Schools exam preparation requirements.
Is Financial Aid available?
Financial Aid is available for those who qualify. For additional information on Financial Aid and Tuition Assistance, we would encourage you to visit our Financial Aid Information page.
Can you help me find a job after graduation?
Dorsey Schools offers Career Services assistance to all eligible graduates, however, job placement is not guaranteed. You can learn more about the assistance our Career Services team offers by visiting our Career Services for Students and Graduates page.
Are there any professional chef organizations I can join while I am in school?
Yes, there is a local branch of the American Culinary Federation in Michigan. It is called the Michigan Chefs De Cuisine Association and is one of the largest chef branches in the United States. Networking is a key activity for a student during school and Dorsey Culinary Academy is an active participant in this organization.
Can I work while I am in school?
Yes and it is encouraged to find a job in the culinary field during your training. The culinary training schedule at Dorsey is Monday – Thursday leaving the three busiest days of a restaurant (Friday – Sunday) open for you to take a part-time job.
I don’t have any culinary experience at the fast pace of a real restaurant, will I have this opportunity before I graduate?
Yes, Dorsey Culinary Academy operates a fully licensed catering program with a mission of educating the students with “live” events, to serve the public great food from scratch, and to provide excellent service. Please note, practical training in this program may include providing culinary goods and services that may be sold to the general public.
Will there be schoolwork assigned outside of the classroom and will it be graded?
Yes, Dorsey Culinary Academy instructors assign several types of homework that is used to calculate a student’s final class grade. Several of the most common assignments are on-line culinary specific learning modules through MyCulinaryLab, food research, course specific study guides, culinary workbook, and out-of-house cooking functions.
Are there opportunities for fieldtrips or guest speakers?
The chef instructors will coordinate these opportunities for their classes. It is important to introduce our students to a variety of food service organizations while in school, in order to help the student to decide their specific culinary career path.
If I am having trouble on a culinary skill will there be someone that can help me?
Our culinary team is focused on your success. Communication is important. If you are having trouble in any area, reach out to one of your many campus resources; any chef instructor, the culinary director, and the student success specialist. The team will assess your area of trouble and guide as needed.
For your reference, we’ve included the links below of several very helpful websites where you can learn more about the work performed by those in the Culinary Arts, info pertaining to Jobs in the Culinary Arts, the path people take to enter the Culinary field, etc.:
aBureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Cooks, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/food-preparation-and-serving/cooks.htm (visited July 11, 2016).
bMichigan DTMB, Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, Long-Term Occupational Employment Projections (2014-2024) Michigan Statewide, Cooks, All Other (SOC Code: 35-2019), http://milmi.mt.gov/Portals/137/publications/projectionsdata/LongTerm_OccupationalProj_2024_MI.xlsx (visited July 11, 2016).
Michigan Occupational Wage Information: http://milmi.org/?PAGEID=67&SUBID=124
O*Net Online: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/35-2014.00
Dorsey Schools Gainful Employment Disclosures for the Culinary Arts program: For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please click here.