Are you interested in earning a culinary degree but feeling unsure about which degree is right for you? The three main culinary programs are baking and pastry arts, chef training, and culinary arts. Learn about these three popular fields to decide which one can help you reach your career goals.
If you’ve ever longed to be a famous cake decorator or wanted to open your own cupcake shop, baking and pastry arts may be the right field for you. This field eschews savory cooking techniques commonly taught in other cooking programs for the sweet flavors and unique baking techniques of desserts.
Working as a baker or pastry chef requires an eye for detail and an adherence to measurements and ratios. You need to be able to adapt recipes to make them your own while sticking to proper measurements. This is true for many different types of desserts, from meringues to cookies and cakes. You’ll learn all this and more as a baking and pastry arts student.
If you’ve spent plenty of time cooking in the kitchen and you’re ready to take your career to the next level, chef training may be the degree for you. Chef training is designed for home or restaurant cooks that have a basic understanding of food, so it’s not necessarily a degree that’s meant for complete beginners. Many people who start this program already work in a kitchen, either as a line cook or prep cook.
The skills taught in a chef training program range from cooking techniques to menu creation and business management. A good executive chef can create delicious dishes, run a busy kitchen, and still get into the fray and do the work of a line chef.
Culinary arts is one of the most popular choices for students that want to work in the culinary field but aren’t sure what they want to do. This degree is good for complete beginners—it gives you the skills you need to work as a line chef. It also delves a bit into executive chef duties like menu creation and food cost, although the focus is definitely on food preparation.
This degree is unique because it is meant both for cooking professionals and home cooks. You can plan on learning how to work with many different types of foods, food safety and hygiene, and food pairings. After completing a culinary arts program, you should have a broad knowledge of many different culinary fields.