Culinary Arts Courses & Careers

Do you love to cook? Are you interested in experimenting and trying out new recipes? If yes, you may consider becoming a chef! Qualified chefs are in much demand these days. They are well paid also! In this article, you will be reading about professional courses, which will help you become a chef! Details covered include- course details, eligibility criteria and career prospects.

 

Chef

 

Becoming a chef, a successful one, is not everyone’s cup of tea! To thrive in this profession, one must possess few qualities and traits. Qualities required to become a successful chef include-

  • Eye for detail
  • Love for food and cooking
  • Creativity, will to innovate and experiment
  • Good communication skills
  • Good people management skills
  • Good coordination skills
  • Good sense of taste and smell
  • Good stamina
  • Good personality

 

A chef’s job is not just about cooking food for guests and clients. A chef has to perform wide variety of tasks, depending on the setup he/she is working for or as the situation demands. Some of the key functions executed by chefs include-

  • Make food according to order placed by client
  • Coordinate kitchen department functions (at hotels/restaurants/clubs)
  • Purchase and storage of raw materials needed for cooking
  • Interacting with clients (if needed)
  • Trying out new recipes, develop specialties
  • Staff management (kitchen)
  • Planning and creating menu

 

If you want to become a professional chef, you must go through and complete culinary courses. There are chefs who are working at hotels and restaurants who have no such professional qualifications. Many of them are self taught cooks, having learned the tricks of the trade through experiments and ‘watch and learn’ process.

 

But times have changed. If you want to work at high profile hotels, restaurants, clubs and catering firms, culinary course qualification will be highly beneficial. If you want to climb up the career ladder and earn decent salary, professional qualification is a must!

 

In India, culinary courses are available in 3 formats-

  1. Bachelor’s Degree Courses
  2. Diploma Courses
  3. Certificate Courses

 

Let us check out different course formats one by one and find details about them-

 

Bachelor’s Degree courses

 

1 BA in Culinary Arts

BA in Culinary Arts is a 3 years long UG Degree program. This program focuses on cooking, food sampling, sensory evaluation, serving and tasting. It means that the program revolves closely around cooking and its related aspects only. No management concepts are covered in detail. It can be said to be a ‘pure’ course, focusing mostly on the ‘art of cooking’!

 

The academic program consists of classroom lectures and hands on kitchen training sessions.

 

Eligibility criteria: Students who have passed 10+2 board examination (any stream- Science/Commerce/Arts) are eligible to pursue this course. Minimum aggregate marks criteria may apply in case of some institutes (generally around 50% marks).

 

2 BCT & CA

BCT & CA stands for Bachelor of Catering Technology and Culinary Arts. It is a 3 years long UG Degree program. The program focuses on subjects like food production, catering, baking, culinary arts, food and beverage matching and material management.

 

The academic program consists of classroom lectures and hands on kitchen training sessions.

 

Eligibility criteria: Students who have passed 10+2 board examination (any stream- Science/Commerce/Arts) are eligible to pursue this course. Minimum aggregate marks criteria may apply in case of some institutes (generally around 50% marks).

 

3 B.Sc. in Catering and Culinary Arts

It is a 3 years long UG Degree program. Like the above mentioned entries, this one also is not a generalized program. It focuses on all things cooking, like- food production, tasting, catering, baking, food and beverage matching, material management etc.

 

The academic program consists of classroom lectures and hands on kitchen training sessions.

 

Eligibility criteria: Students who have passed 10+2 board examination (any stream- Science/Commerce/Arts) are eligible to pursue this course. Minimum aggregate marks criteria may apply in case of some institutes (generally around 50% marks).

 

4 Hotel Management courses

To be honest, hotel management courses are very generalized programs. They don’t exclusively focus on culinary arts. They cover variety of topics, with food production and culinary arts being one of them! Still, hotel management courses are enough to help one become a Chef. Pursuing a PG Diploma in Culinary Arts course after hotel management will be better, since it will boost one’s culinary knowledge and skills.

 

Some relevant and well known HM programs are-

  • Bachelor of Hotel Management- 4 year Degree course
  • Bachelor of Hotel Management & Catering Technology- 4 year Degree course
  • B.Sc. in Hotel Management/Administration & Catering Technology- 3 year Degree program.

 

There are other similar Hospitality, Hotel Management and Hotel Administration courses (BBA, BA, B.Sc. etc). But the fact is that these courses are generalized. They focus more on management side and less on culinary arts. This problem can be solved by pursuing PG Diploma in Culinary Arts program.

 

Eligibility criteria: Students who have passed 10+2 board examination (any stream- Science/Commerce/Arts) are eligible to pursue this course. Minimum aggregate marks criteria may apply in case of some institutes (generally around 50% marks).

 

Diploma programs

 

1 Diploma in Culinary Arts

It is a Diploma certificate program focusing on the field of culinary arts. Course duration could be 1 year (Basic program) or 2 years (Advanced Diploma program).

 

Eligibility criteria: Students who have passed 10+2 board examination (any stream- Science/Commerce/Arts) are eligible to pursue this course. Minimum aggregate marks criteria may apply in case of some institutes (generally around 50% marks). Note: Some institutes do accept 10th passed students also.

 

2 PG Diploma in Culinary Arts

It is a 1 year long Post Graduate level Diploma certificate program. The course has been designed keeping in mind graduates from relevant fields like- Hotel management, hospitality management and hotel administration.

 

Eligibility criteria: Graduates hailing from relevant streams (like- hotel management/administration, hospitality management, travel and tourism management etc).

 

3 Relevant Diploma programs

Few related Diploma programs include-

  • Diploma in Food Production
  • Diploma in Food and Beverage service
  • Diploma in Bakery and Confectionery
  • Advanced Diploma in Culinary Arts and Patisserie Studies

Certificate programs

Certificate programs are not as valuable as Bachelor’s and Diploma programs. Some of the well known certificate programs are-

  • Chef Certification course
  • Certificate course in Culinary Arts
  • Certificate course in Food Production
  • Certificate course in Catering Technology
  • Certificate course in Food and Beverages

 

Those were some of the well known relevant certificate courses. When it comes to certificate courses, the course duration is 1 year. Though shorter duration courses exist too, like 6 months long programs.

 

Eligibility criteria: It may vary from one institute to another. 10+2 as well as 10th passed students are widely accepted to pursue certificate programs.

 

Career prospects and job opportunities

To build a better career, I suggest Bachelor’s Degree or Diploma programs, especially the ones focusing on culinary arts.

 

Chefs have diverse job opportunities available in front of them. The most popular career path that young chefs choose is to work at Hotels/Restaurants/Clubs/Bars/Bakeries. Once inside any such establishment, one may work from the base, as a trainee. With experience, one may rise through the ranks, like- Chef, Sous-Chef (second in command of kitchen) and Executive Chef!

 

When it comes to high profile hotels, restaurants and eateries, pay is good. MNCs are also known to recruit chefs. Many MNCs have canteens and eateries functioning within their campuses. Catering firms also are known to recruit chefs.

 

If one has entrepreneurship skills and access to decent financial support, one may start own venture, like- Hotel/Restaurant/Bar/Bakery.

 

Other than hotel groups, resorts, bars, restaurants and bakeries, chefs are also hired by Airlines and Cruise ships. Chefs are required by them to manage catering activities!

 

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  1. Srikanth January 27, 2018