Culinary Arts Jobs

There are a multitude of things you can do with a formal culinary education. Whether a certificate of completion from your local community college or a Bachelor of Arts from Le Cordon Bleu, the time invested in culinary training opens more doors to the world of the culinary arts than if you were to go it alone.

The jobs in the culinary industry are diverse. Some have you on your feet in front of the stove; others don’t require as much time spent in the kitchen. Some have you “in the trenches,”others can have you thinking and directing the bigger picture.

Cooks, chefs and food preparation workers can work in restaurants, in private homes, in schools and institutions, test kitchens, as caterers, pretty much anywhere there’s a need for professional food services. The kind of work is as varied as the kinds of food people want: upscale, casual, greasy spoon, cafe and bistro style, regional and international cuisine and fusions thereof, cakes, pastries and desserts, research and test cooking, avant-garde cuisine, the list goes on.

Other occupations that come from an education in the culinary arts include food writer and cooking instructor.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the job outlook for those in the culinary arts, particularly cooks, chefs, and food preparation workers, will grow at the average rate (about 8.72 percent) through 2018. This growth is projected because of the anticipated expansion of food service outlets, and the turnover expected to occur over that period of time.

The growth prospects vary by specific occupation, or location. According to the BLS, the job outlook for cooks, chefs and food preparation workers who prepare meals-to-go (like deli counters) and specialty meal stores will be faster than average as people look for healthy and convenient alternatives to restaurants. Jobs for food preparation workers in general will be growing faster than the average rate.

Meanwhile the job growth for cooks and chefs in full-service restaurants, fast food cooks and cafeteria cooks is expected to increase at around the average rate as well.

On the more administrative side, a formal culinary education can also get you into the job of a food service manager, with job opportunities just as diverse as the ones for the cooks and chefs.

Food service managers have to wear several hats to their keep the business running smoothly by maintaining the quality of the food and service. They have to be able to function well in the kitchen, in the dining areas and also in the office. Kitchen skills are just as important as customer service and managerial abilities.

They hire and fire, make sure there is enough manpower to run the kitchen and serve customers and step in when needed to ensure the smooth and efficient flow of work. They also do some accounting and they handle customer service duties as well. In conjunction with executive chefs, food service managers plan the menu.

While the BLS projects the job growth of food service managers to be slower than average (about 6.62 percent) to 2018, the agency nevertheless predicts good job opportunities, especially for those with training and experience as more restaurants and other eating establishments open, and require people to run their kitchens and dining areas.

All Figures courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Employment & Wages database.