There are many different culinary arts college programs available around the country to help aspiring chefs learn the art of food preparation, as well as many of the important food and kitchen safety issues they need to know about in order to operate effectively within the kitchen environment. Following are a few standard questions about these programs:
Q. Why are culinary arts programs so popular?
A. There are many reasons for this. First, the art of food preparation has itself become more popular in the past couple of decades within the country. There are now cable television shows devoted entirely to food and cooking, there is greater emphasis on health and nutrition, and there are simply more chefs who have risen to the rank of ‘celebrity’ in recent years. This increased awareness of food, and seemingly increased pleasure in the art of preparing food, has spurred many to pursue it as a career and to seek the education they need in order to qualify for jobs as chefs.
Q. Do chefs have to be formally trained?
A. No and in fact, many traditionally have not been formally trained. Becoming a chef, for many, has long meant years of on the job training, working under more experienced chefs. And this remains the case for some. But increasingly, people who want to enter the career are appreciating the advantage of having a formal education on food, and how to work with it, so that they can truncate the learning process.
Q. What kinds of things get taught at a culinary college?
A. It depends on the college and the program. Most formal training programs are conducted largely within a kitchen, so there is a great deal of focus on the art of preparing the food. But there is also a good deal about cooking that has to do with things like chemistry (how ingredients behave under heat, for example), and so there is often course work on these related subjects as well.