If you’re currently studying for a culinary arts degree or applying to one, you already know that this sector is exciting, fast-paced, creative, and full of opportunities. This article aims to give you a complete overview of the Culinary Arts industry, the trends that drive it, the possible culinary arts careers, and how to get there.
- What is Culinary Arts?
- Culinary Arts as part of Food & Beverage Industry
- The Food & Beverage Industry Key Facts
- Trends in Culinary Arts: What are Consumers’ Expectations?
- What Career Opportunities for Culinary Arts Graduates?
- Why Choose Culinary Arts as a Career?
- Benefits of Culinary Arts Careers
- Culinary Arts Skills
- Culinary Arts Degrees
What is Culinary Arts?
When the term “culinary arts” is used, what does it actually mean? Your first thought is likely a chef in a restaurant who works to prepare food for eager customers. Although this is part of the culinary arts, there is much more to the topic than simply cooking.
Breaking apart the term, culinary means “related to cooking” and arts refers to any broad area of interest. So, put simply, culinary arts are the processes and practices of preparing, cooking, presenting, and serving food. This may often be in the form of meals in a restaurant, but culinary arts can refer to all professions that involve preparing, cooking and presenting food.
Culinary Arts as part of the Food & Beverage industry
The food and beverage industry is an important part of the overall agriculture industry. You can further split the food and beverage industry into two major segments: production and distribution. Production includes creating and processing foods and beverages of all types – including most packaged or prepared items. The production segment does NOT include foods produced through farming or growing and not further processed as those are simply part of the agriculture industry, by definition.
Distribution in the food and beverage industry involves transport and methods involved in delivering the product to consumers. Distribution in the food and beverage industry includes companies that ship to retailers, restaurants and directly to the consumers themselves.
Food & Beverage industry key facts
Understanding the food and beverage industry and how it connects with culinary arts is a complex matter. Below you will see a few statistics and forecasts on the expected financial growth and key trends the industry is experiencing.
- The F&B market value grew from $6,729.54 billion in 2022 to $7,221.73 billion in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate of 7.3%
- Asia-Pacific was the largest region in the food and beverages market in 2022.
- Western Europe was the second-largest region of the food and beverages market.
- The food and drink industry is the EU’s biggest manufacturing sector in terms of jobs and value-added.
- Strides in healthy living have led to increased spending by consumers on products with natural ingredients, prompting many companies to ditch their artificial colorings and flavorings.
- Healthy living has also led to increased consumption of plant-based proteins which is expected to increase from $18.49 billion in 2022 to $40.58 billion globally in the next five years.
Trends in Culinary Arts: What are consumer expectations?
The food and beverage industry has seen robust growth over the last ten years, and that growth is forecast to continue throughout the global food service industry. Trends that originated in Europe and the U.S. are spreading out through markets across the world, adjusted with tweaks as they take root internationally.
As consumer tastes and sensibilities change, the food and beverage industry responds with increased customization, innovation, and a return toward authenticity in preparation, flavors, and service.
READ: Food and beverage is moving increasingly from imitation to innovation.
1. Novelty in food concepts
FOMO, or fear of missing out, drives much of consumer behavior in today’s social media-saturated world. The fear of missing out carries over into food and beverage experiences as consumers seek out new concepts to new-to-them cuisines. Thus, the current trends for pop-up experiences or secret restaurants.
Food entrepreneurs who want to win consumers through novelty need to do more than simply offer something unique. They must maintain quality in food and service while finding ways to personalize service with repeat guests. While newness may bring a guest to the door, it’s the quality of the food and overall experience that will get them to come back – and tell their friends. Furthermore, restaurants are increasingly investing in technology to help smooth out operational functions and create seamless dining or ordering experiences.
READ: 7 restaurant technology trends to watch in 2023
2. Unique and entertaining locations
While quality and types of food may be the driver for getting customers in the door, today’s food and beverage businesses need a variety of features to succeed over the long term. Something that’s becoming increasingly important in today’s economy is uniqueness of not only concept but location as well. Restaurant and bar owners nowadays need to focus on the design element by working with architects and interior designers to create something bespoke. The usual elements, such as natural lighting, comfortable seats, nice art, WiFi access, charging stations, and patio or open-air seating, should be incorporated to accommodate customer preferences.
Food and beverage entrepreneurs have started to silo themselves by operation type, and this is something that’s projected to continue as the industry matures. Within shopping malls and food halls, businesses are sorting themselves into different zones, so consumers can find all the fast-casual concepts together, all the fine dining establishments together, and all the bars and pubs together. Clustering like with like should increase business for all parties, by luring people looking to experience those types of businesses to one central place, whether it’s for a pub crawl or gourmet grocery shopping.
READ: Restaurant Management: How to choose the right location?
3. Food halls are trending
In recent years, food halls such as Eataly in the U.S. or Food Republic in Singapore have become more popular. Thanks to the success of the food hall model in Europe and North America, food halls are poised to grow, whether as new construction developments or through continued revitalization of older markets.
Food halls offer a blend of everything: street food stalls, sit-down restaurants, coffee vendors, pastry shops and more. There might be a farmer’s market adjacent where customers can pick up fresh vegetables and prepared food, or gourmet food retail businesses. The popularity among consumers has piqued interest up the chain: Now, new food entrepreneurs may seek a food hall location as an easy way to connect with a ready audience, and retail landlords might be eager to convert an underperforming mall into a high-end food court.
The food hall ticks a number of boxes in terms of current consumer preferences. There’s always something new, a group with different dietary preferences can find something for everyone, everything is fresh and artisanal, and consumers can pick and mix among what’s on offer to create a unique and personalized dining experience that is flexible for shoppers with different budgets.
READ: Food halls are doing more than just serving meals to hungry locals and tourists.
4. Healthy food in high demand
Thanks to the booming wellness trend, consumers are demanding healthy foods. Many have special dietary needs – whether by preference or by food allergy – thus vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or keto fare is increasingly finding its way onto menus at restaurants of varying price points.
Superfoods themselves come and go. While food business operators should tweak their menus to showcase the current darling ingredient, such as kale or avocado, the smarter strategy is to follow the underlying healthy trends. Early adopters might spot the rise of meatless “meat” foods and invest in healthy snack options like vegan jerky, for example.
READ: What is the future of food and where is gastronomy heading?
5. Organic and sustainable food
Simultaneously with the rise of interest in healthy foods comes a demand for fresh, quality food with optimum flavor. Thus, trends like slow food, local food, organic food and heirloom food are increasingly driving food concepts. Driving the latter trend is increased interest in sustainability, climate, and the environment. Consumers want to be able to trace their coffee from bean to cup or follow their seafood dinner back to the ocean or stream, so they can take greater responsibility for the impact of their food dollars on people and the environment.
Particularly in cities, consumers are seeking out smaller, independent operators over chain businesses. The perception is that these local chains and independent businesses have a stronger connection to serving fresh, flavorful food over a chain brand that sources from mass producers to meet consumer demand.
READ: Organic Wine and Fine Dining
6. Increasing demand for vegan recipes and menus.
For several years now, the rising demand for vegan food has formed one of the most important culinary trends. Compared to the older generation, more and more Gen Z and Millennials are giving up meat and are now passing this on to their children. According to the NPD Group, about 90% of vegan food consumers are also meat eaters. This shows that people around the world are embracing a conscious diet. Sales of vegan alternatives are expected to increase to over $30 billion by 2026.
In the gastronomy industry, we also see that more and more chefs and restaurants around the world are choosing to not only incorporate veganism into varied menus but in some cases are taking the bold leap to completely eliminate traditional animal products. A recent and impressive example is one of New York City’s finest eateries, Eleven Madison Park. However, should hosts not opt for veganism altogether, they still need to be able to offer vegan options on demand today.
READ: Why do restaurants need to offer vegan food on their menu?
7. Food delivery apps are rising
The restaurant industry is the latest to find itself at the heart of disruption from big tech, with new apps promising to upend the way customers access take-out or delivery. As seen with the meal kit trend, consumers increasingly want to eat high-quality food without having to put in the effort to make it happen, whether that’s grocery shopping or picking up a to-go order. Delivery apps get food into the hands of customers with the click of a button. The next generation of delivery trends is projected to involve digital assistants with voice recognition technologies, such as Amazon Alexa. Pretty soon, customers will be able to order what they want at home, work, or hotel, simply by telling Alexa to get it for them.
For restaurants and other food businesses, delivery is a double-edged sword: Customers become loyal to the delivery app, and not to the restaurant, but the apps can introduce them to a new audience. Consider also the high fees charged by delivery apps and it’s clear that food entrepreneurs need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of delivery to ensure the model offers a fair return on investment.
READ: Key Trends in the Food Delivery Industry
8. Curbing food waste
In mature markets, food waste falls under scrutiny. Estimates indicate that up to one-third of the food grown around the world is wasted, whether it’s rotting in a field or tossed in the bin at the end of the day. Wasted food creates methane gas as it decomposes in landfills, which exacerbates global warming.
Curbing food waste cuts across all segments of the food and beverage industry: Grocery stores, consumers, restaurant operators, caterers, and bars can all play a role. High-end restaurants are often leading the charge here, as seen with New York chef Dan Barber, who raised awareness of food waste with a pop-up experience in the U.S., recently imported to London in collaboration with the Selfridges department store.
In Asia, a Singaporean hawker developed an app to reduce food waste by allowing Singaporean food stalls to post unsold food before closing time. Customers could then purchase the food at a discount, saving money while helping to reduce food waste. Similar apps in the U.S. and Europe allow customers to purchase unsold restaurant food at a discount.
Related to the food waste trend is increased preference for compostable and biodegradable packaging over single-use plastic packaging, which is extremely wasteful. The recent success of the no straws campaign indicates that today’s diners are increasingly vocal about saying no to plastic waste. Sustainability is trending.
READ: Food waste management innovations in the foodservice industry
Career opportunities for Culinary Arts graduates
The food and beverage industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, with growth outpacing the economy. While you might think of jobs such as chef, bartender, or server, there are in fact many more roles within this dynamic industry.
What can I do with a Culinary Arts degree?
Find your fit with a deep dive into culinary arts career possibilities.
These are only a sample of the careers you could enjoy when you work in the food and beverage industry. As social media marketing continues to evolve, there will only be more roles to consider. Regardless of where you want to end up, start your food and beverage career with a look at the culinary arts history from the world’s leading hospitality school.
READ: Our selection of Top 7 Hospitality jobs for foodies!
Chefs are more visible than ever thanks to reality TV shows, celebrity chefs and consumer interest in (and knowledge of) food. Today, chefs work with high-quality ingredients and take inspiration from the global palette to create fresh, flavorful food. With food halls and food trucks all the rage, chefs today might work in a casual environment or fine-dining restaurant. Either way, the role is all about getting the maximum freshness and flavor out of ingredients while drawing on culinary history and creativity on a daily basis.
Chef career opportunities include catering, fine dining, franchises, hotels and many other food-related environments. No matter where you find work as a chef, a culinary arts education provides the backbone of knowledge and skills to help you land your first position.
As the name suggests, a research chef combines cooking with research into food science. Research chefs marry the art and science of cooking to come up with new cooking methods or new food and beverage products. Research chefs might work on new cooking methods, food preservation methods or flavors. For a practical example of what a research chef might do, consider all the “fake meat” burgers on the rise helping to reduce meat consumption for health reasons while still enjoying a meatless alternative.
To achieve a career in the research culinary field, you need both a solid grounding in science and a culinary arts education.
Baker or Pastry Chef
Baking and pastry arts are a subspecialty of culinary arts, focused on breads, pies, cakes, pastries and other sweet treats. Baking and pastry training programs focus on the foundation of pastries – flour, sugar, butter, dairy, and eggs – and how to combine these simple ingredients to form any number of dessert items.
With a pastry arts training, you can work as a restaurant pastry chef, wedding cake designer, catering professional, artisan baker, or open your own cake shop specializing in anything you like. These days, modern bakers are likely to niche down and offer a single category of products, be it ice cream, cupcakes, caramels or gluten-free baked goods.
Baking is more technical than cooking, because bakers can’t swap one ingredient (like sugar) for something else (like honey or molasses) and expect the recipe to have the same flavor, texture and consistency. If you are more analytical and enjoy using creativity within a structured environment, you might gravitate naturally toward the pastry arts.
Restaurant managers are the heart and soul of the restaurant operation. With acute restaurant knowledge and business acumen, managers keep everything running so the restaurant can be profitable, while putting out fires in the front or back of house. A modern restaurant manager might specialize in working with service staff to uphold customer service standards, or they might work behind the scenes, making sure cooks work efficiently, follow portioning guidelines and keep a sanitary kitchen.
Restaurant managers schedule employees, train and hire, perform ordering and inventory, and dig into the data to see how the restaurant is performing and where there’s room for improvement. To get a leg up in restaurant management, you may want to get a basic business education or an apprenticeship as hotel communication specialist and immerse yourself in the front-of-house or back-of-house positions, depending on your desired job. When you’ve worked as a cook or a bartender, then you have a better understanding of common issues.
If opening a restaurant is an ambitious challenge, here is why and how some restaurant entrepreneurs have been successful in living from their passion for food. Learn more on how to master restaurant management?
Service staff include servers, bartenders, bar backs, bussers and hosts. Plenty of food and beverage professionals start out in a service role, thus it’s not uncommon to work your way up from a bar back to a full bartender then bar manager of a hotel. Others enjoy the work environment of customer-facing roles and work as career servers or career bartenders.
Whether you view the role as a stepping stone in your career or a worthwhile career in and of itself, you’ll want to understand food, beverage, service and hospitality basics to be successful in your job.
Underneath the umbrella of beverage professional fall careers like sommelier, wine maker, brewer, barista or a service variation of these positions, such as a coffee shop or wine store owner. Beverage professionals may work in customer-facing roles (such as sommelier or barista) or work on the production end of things (crafting wine, brewing beer, sourcing third-wave coffee beans, or curating a shop).
EHL Passugg student Sandra Lopar made her marks in this relatively new but growing profession as a beer sommelier.
While the beverage of choice varies, what unites beverage professionals is interest, attention to detail, passion for history and flavor, a good palette, and a mastery of skills that include hospitality, culinary, agricultural, and business. Depending on your interest, a formal education, apprenticeship or combination may be your best bet. You can learn barista skills on the job and eventually feel confident enough to open your own coffee shop, but your new café will fare better if you have a solid business background or the finances to hire a partner who is business savvy. Likewise, you can learn how to make wine by apprenticing with a practicing winemaker, but if you understand the viticultural sciences, you’ll grasp the theory behind the practice much faster.
Nutritionists combine a passion for food with an equal passion for well-being, helping people understand how to eat healthily. As a nutritionist, you might provide dietary advice to individuals with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, encourage individuals with weight loss goals, promote healthy lifestyles, or manage a nutrition clinic. Nutritionists understand anatomy, physiology, human behavior, food science, and dietetic principles.
Food and Beverage industry instructor
If you are passionate about teaching, then you may have a career as a food and beverage instructor. With a teaching career, you can train new hires in your restaurant or coffee shop, work at a culinary arts or vocational school, or even teach a lay audience through cooking classes for non-professionals. The possibilities are endless, as you can follow your passion to teach others how to do what you love, whether that’s baking sourdough bread or cooking Turkish food. You might even teach health safety skills by training culinary professionals in safe food handling.
The typical qualification for a food and beverage instructor program is hands-on experience in what you’d like to teach. Teaching can be a mid-career move when, for instance, a restaurant chef wants more predictable hours, or it could be something you do on the side to supplement your income or market your business. By offering cooking classes when your restaurant is closed, you can introduce new people to your cuisine and gain exposure to a new audience.
Food stylist or photographer
If you love food and arts, then there are many roles in the food and beverage industry for you. Food stylist and food photographer are two of the most common. With these roles, you stage and photograph food for magazines, websites, television shows and more. In addition to a thorough understanding of food principles, you’ll need arts skills, which can be gleaned through formal education or on-the-job experience.
Food and Beverage writer
Whether you want to review restaurants, write culinary history books, write a cookbook or create a food blog where you sell books and courses, a food and beverage writing job combines hands-on skills with research and writing skills. By learning culinary arts or steeping yourself in the beverage industry you wish to write about (say, by working at a wine shop or interning with a winemaker), you can build your skills and confidence, gain insider knowledge, and start writing about your culinary interests. Depending on your goals with food and beverage writing, other areas of knowledge may be a fit. If food history is your calling, you’ll a want history degree. If you hope to start a successful and lucrative food blog, food photography and social media knowledge are also good skills to master.
READ: Gastronomic ‘Must Reads’ selected by EHL’s Culinary Arts team
Why choose Culinary Arts as a career?
Your career has a big impact on your future. It affects your identity, personal fulfillment, lifestyle, income, family and retirement.
Do you already have a passion for food? Before you decide to pursue a culinary arts career, carefully consider your options and ask yourself the following questions.
READ: 10 questions to ask yourself when choosing a career
Benefits of Culinary Arts careers
When you’re comparing different career options, the most important thing is to think about your interests and passions. By choosing a career in a field you are passionate about, you’ll find it much easier to grow and succeed. However, it is vital to look at other details too.
We’ve put together some information regarding food-related careers, giving you a chance to see if this could be a field you’d be interested in pursuing.
Opportunities for career progression
Among the many benefits of careers in the food industry are the opportunities for advancement within the sector. For example, many top sous chefs and even executive chefs for well-known restaurants started their careers as entry-level line cooks. Many of the restaurant managers and owners began their careers at the bottom as well. In fact, 90 percent of restaurant managers and 80 percent of restaurant owners started out in serving, hosting or other entry level jobs.
The same thing can be seen in the food-manufacturing side of things. Many people begin with entry level jobs within a processing facility and eventually work their way up and hold top positions in a company. It is possible to pursue opportunities related to business and management, skilled trades, or technology.
Food and drink offers exciting and profitable career prospects. As the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, the food and beverage industry will always need new employees. After all, everyone has to eat and there is always the need for innovation in this field.
So how much room for growth is there? It is estimated that by 2025 the restaurant industry will employ around 15.7 million workers. This is an increase of 1.7 million just from 2015. For those who already work in the industry, nine out of 10 claim it is a good option for a first job, and 70% of all workers between the ages of 18-65 have moved on to higher paying jobs. The highest-paying restaurant jobs reach six-figures, and are attainable for anyone with the right experience and work ethic.
Versatile and transferable career skills
Careers in the food industry can equip an individual with many occupational skills that are valued in other sectors as well. This means, even if you decide that a career in food isn’t right for you, you should have the opportunity to move on to another job too. Restaurant jobs help you develop exceptional communication and customer service skills. Additionally, working in kitchens and manufacturing facilities offer practice in organization and efficiency. Depending on the focus of your job, you may even gain transferable skills in areas like accounting, human resources, and purchasing. All of these competencies are valued in many other business-related fields and could help you transition to another career path, if so desired.
Serving and hosting jobs are often chosen as a part-time employment for young people. However, these jobs provide good experience that you can rely on later in life. With restaurant experience, you can go anywhere.
Discover all the hospitality skills that will be needed in the future.
Restaurant workers must be smart and sharp. This sharpness is vital because they must remember who, at which table, ordered what dish. They should also remember approximately how much time it has been since they ordered it, so that the customers aren’t kept waiting for very long. Waiters and waitresses need to be quick and careful on their feet, too, so that they don’t accidentally drop a customer’s plate. If you’re not “on the ball”, the customers will leave the restaurant unhappy. But if you are sharp, your customers will be happy, leave you a good tip, and will recommend your restaurant to their friends. Working in a restaurant helps you gain these skills to be at the top of your game.
Creativity skills development
Whether you are making the food, serving the food or working in management, there are plenty of opportunities to show off your creative side. In the food and beverage industry, it is up to the staff to get people into the establishment and keep them coming back time and time again – creativity goes a long way towards doing that.
When you work at a restaurant, no day is exactly like the one before. You will experience many different types of customers (which can be good and bad). If you love adventure, and prefer not to do things the same way twice, then working at a restaurant will be a fun experience for you. You’ll enjoy the unpredictability that is part of the package.
This holds true for those who are working in the back of the house as well as with customers. If you’re working as a prep cook, you could find yourself chopping potatoes one night, and poaching shrimp the next. There’s always something new to do when you’re in a restaurant.
Communication and social skills
If you enjoy interacting with many different people, then food service may be a worthwhile consideration for you. Front of the house jobs such as server, bartender, or restaurant manager, provide you with the opportunity to meet new and interesting people every day. Larger restaurants and food service establishments tend to have a lot of employees, which gives you the chance to develop new friendships with coworkers—people that you, otherwise, wouldn’t have ever met. Social interaction is also an appeal to other food-related careers, like bed and breakfast owner or restaurant publicist.
Happy to serve
If there’s any reason to get in to this business it’s because you like to help other people. Every time you ask a customer how their meal was and they answer with,
It was great, I love this place! it will make your day and fill you with pride. You’ll make friends with returning customers. The best managers in the business do it because they like seeing a room full of smiles.
Also, if you work with a good team, you can really have fun. Restaurant crews often become friends, and have each other’s backs. Restaurant managers pitch in to help the servers, servers help each other out, hosts make sure to seat patrons evenly so servers can make the most in tips, and bussers clear tables quickly so more customers can be seated. Many people reminisce fondly about a good restaurant team.
Learn how to handle challenging people
It goes without saying that as a restaurant worker, you will encounter an occasional person who isn’t very nice. It might be difficult to deal with these people at first, but as you get comfortable in your job, you will learn how to deal gracefully with these kinds of people gracefully. When you meet difficult people in another area of your life, you will have mastered the fake smile and polite response. You will have a newfound empathy for fellow food service and retail workers, as they are going through the same thing. Patience is a virtue, and one you will develop highly when you work at a restaurant.
Delicious free or discounted food
When it comes to the perks of food industry careers, you cannot overlook free or discounted food. Every restaurant has a different policy, but it is common to receive a free or discounted meal during or at the end of your shift. Some restaurants even offer employee discounts when you are off-shift so that you can enjoy the menu as a customer but pay a discounted rate. Many restaurants allow employees to take home leftovers from the kitchen at the end of the day rather than throwing them into the garbage. If you are the type of person who eats out frequently, then this benefit can actually save you a considerable amount of money over the course of a year.
It is worth noting that some food-manufacturing companies are known for giving employees free and discounted food products as well. For example, it is reported that Mars Chocolate employees receive free candy!
Enjoy a flexible hours day
Working in a restaurant might mean pulling a weekend shift to make more money, of course. But there are perks to the scheduling too. Many servers and chefs work in the evenings, leaving the daytime free for errands and workouts while most other people are at work. There are benefits to this type of schedule, and some servers are able to schedule several days off a week or switch days to suit their schedule.
The restaurant industry is one of the few that offers flexible working hours to fit around family and social lives. It is also one of the few to offer both part-time and full-time work, as many restaurants are open extended hours. Many younger employees make the most of what the industry has to offer and are also enrolled in school.
Burn calories while on the job
With most careers in food is that you will be on your feet. A lot. The pace is fast, there are repetitive motions, and you’ll be engaged in moderate to heavy lifting. But most employees consider that a good thing. Your daily exercise routine is basically built into your job. In fact, food industry professionals could burn anywhere from 150 to 200 calories per hour.
With all these benefits, it is easy to see how a job in food service can be a great choice for your lifestyle. You owe it to yourself to learn more about the possibilities and decide if this is the right career for you.
Culinary Arts skills
To be successful in the food and beverage industry, it is vital to possess many skills. These skills include both culinary skills as well as teamwork and management skills. By combining skills specific to the food and beverage industry with those soft skills crucial for the hospitality industry, you will be better prepared to work in any area of the culinary world you wish to pursue. Below is a list of some of the primary skills you will need to master as part of your culinary arts education.
To succeed in the culinary world, you will need to have background knowledge in food science. Food science will help you to understand the why behind the way things work so that you can use those processes in your culinary creations. Understanding why certain sauces may separate can help you avoid its occurrence and knowing the properties of various ingredients will better help you with food preparation and creation. It is also vital to understand what causes food spoilage so you can maintain food safety at all times.
Do you ever wonder how chefs create dishes with ingredients you would never have thought would go together? This is because they understand what types of flavors will work together and what ones won’t. Knowing how to pair flavors and foods properly can help you create your own recipes, such as sauces, and allow you to create a menu that will suit a wide variety of palates.
READ: Why does food & wine pairing work?
READ: Food & Champagne pairing: Get your tips from Laurent-Perrier
When dining, people employ multiple senses to enjoy the experience, including sight. It is critical for food to taste and smell good, but it should look appetizing as well. These food plating skills can elevate dishes to another level, satisfying a diner’s appetite before they even take the first bite. Poor plating skills likewise can harm the way patrons perceive foods, so this skill is as critical as others.
Before you can begin to create culinary masterpieces, you must first understand the basics behind preparing most ingredients. Preparation in the kitchen is often the sous chef’s job, which is one of the primary positions that work directly below the chef. When learning about ingredient preparation, you will learn skills such as grating, mincing, slicing, peeling, and knife skills. While these skills may seem simple at first, they are vital not only to ensure proper plating but also to blend the food properly into the recipes.
While food education is critical in the culinary arts, it is also important to focus on skills vital to interaction with customers, such as customer service skills. No matter what type of culinary environment you work in, you will likely have to handle difficult personalities at some point. Sometimes it is hard to satisfy customers, while other times it may be members of the kitchen staff that are harder to get along with. In any situation, you need to learn how to handle difficult personalities and confrontations without losing your cool. Classes in customer service can help you learn techniques for handling these situations.
Attention to detail
Attention to detail is another critical skill that is essential to success in the culinary arts world. Every ingredient needs to be precise to make the flavor exactly how you want it to be. This means paying specific detail to measurements as well as how the food is specifically prepped. For example, if you need to create a sauce with garlic that needs to liquefy into oil during the initial preparation, the thinness of how the garlic is sliced will affect the outcome. Attention to detail is also critical when it comes to timing. Over or undercooking certain items, even slightly, can drastically affect the flavor and the overall taste of the dish. If you plan to run a kitchen in your future career, you will have to have attention to detail regarding food inventory and ordering as well. Failing to order enough will leave you short for the evening, while over-ordering can lead to significant waste.
Students who want to succeed in culinary arts will need to have a strong focus on cleanliness. Kitchens need to be sanitary to prevent illness and food spoilage. Cleanliness is so vital, failure to keep a clean kitchen can lead to a restaurant or facility being shut down. Along with basic cleanliness skills, you will need to understand basic health and food handling procedures. You will need to learn the health codes and how cross-contamination can occur and when specific ingredients are deemed spoiled and no longer safe for consumption. You will also need to know basic kitchen safety when using knives, stoves, and other possible dangerous implements.
Problem-solving and decision-making are important skills to master for anyone entering the culinary or hospitality industry. No matter what job you have in the culinary world, you will need to make decisions quickly and efficiently. In some positions, you may need even to make multiple decisions at one time. You should be able to work in a fast-paced environment, handle pressure, know how to solve problems and take the initiative when it comes to the decision-making process.
While there is a lot of technical skill required for success in the culinary world, it is also an artistic position that requires a certain amount of creativity to be successful. Chefs need to use their imagination to create new food items or put their twist on old ones if they want to make a name for themselves or move to the top of the industry. Creativity is vital in many aspects of the culinary process, including recipe collaboration and experimentation, menu design, and food presentation.
READ: Creativity and Innovation in Haute Cuisine
Organizational skills are important in any career path, but especially for professionals in the culinary arts. Poor organization can lead to chaos in a kitchen, leading to safety issues, poor execution, and the inability to work efficiently. When you choose a profession in the culinary industry, you will have to learn to juggle multiple tasks while ensuring everything is clean and safe, making organization critical. When in leadership positions like a chef, organization can be the difference between having a successful night in the kitchen with happy customers or failing.
READ: Team Management – Overcoming Bias in the Workplace
Whether a head chef, sous chef, or any other position in the kitchen, working well with others is critical to success. Jobs in the culinary arts are team-based, requiring collaboration and communication to be successful. When working in the culinary industry, you will need to accept and grow from feedback, show compassion, give constructive feedback, listen, train others, and exhibit proper interpersonal skills.
READ: Importance of Teamwork in Hospitality Industry: at Plaza Athénée Paris
For many professionals in the culinary industry, management is a key skill. If you are a manager, you will need to supervise and assist the kitchen chefs and head chefs and will need to manage the kitchen and the kitchen teams. The individual members of the kitchen will need to manage any workers under them that fall under them as well. Most effective management starts with designing and implementing a system that allows the kitchen to run seamlessly and allows everyone to properly perform their job functions. You will need to learn not only how to design and implement these systems, but also how to follow them while maintaining efficiency.
Culinary Arts degrees
To be successful in the world of culinary arts, you will need to know more than just cooking. You will need to master both the culinary and non-culinary skills listed above to better prepare you for any type of profession in the culinary industry. But don’t stop there. Make sure to choose a Culinary Arts degree that includes business and marketing skills along with hospitality skills. They can help you in your future culinary goals and pursuits, whether your goals are to open up your own restaurant one day or to take your unique recipes to the masses.
EHL Hospitality Business School
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