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Career Paths

Culinary ArtsGraduates of the Hotel/Restaurant/Hospitality Management Programs are eligible for middle management positions in hotels, restaurants, food service companies and related areas of the hospitality industry, but need to remember that it is important to gain experience in diverse areas: the more experience that is shown on your resume as you move toward your ultimate goal, the better.And the proof of your diversity will become apparent on the job.For instance, many successful food service managers or owners began their careers as culinarians.

Food preparation is both an art and a science which requires the knowledge necessary to prepare and present wholesome and satisfying food. This knowledge may be obtained through the diligent application of chemistry, mathematics, physics and cookery; tempered by sound judgment.In addition, the principles, procedures,guidelines and techniques presented in textbooks, courses, and curricula in higher education reflect the ways to apply this knowledge, and will provide the future culinary arts professional a place at which to begin investigation into life-long learning. The job projection for newly graduated culinarians with a realistic outlook, flexibility, and good communications skills, especially if management (executive chef, food and beverage director, etc.) is his/her ultimate goal, is extremely good.Employment in the hospitality industry requires training in what are relatively new academic disciplines. This highly complex and ever-changing field encompasses front of the house (management), heart of the house (culinary preparation and service), and operations(building and maintenance).

Currently, graduates report an entry-level salary in the middle to upper thirties. But to keep it in perspective, salaries are generally driven by supply and demand of quality graduates (the key operative is QUALITY), and the region in which you choose to work.It is also reasonable to expect that graduates who have had previous experiences in diverse operational settings will be offered starting salaries in the upper thirties to lower forties.But the more experience in diverse areas you have, the higher your worth to the company.

Consider, that in order to be an effective manager in the front of the house, one needs a strong background in the heart of the house.To understand customers' needs and plan cost-effective menus, a knowledge of the production capabilities of the kitchen staff is essential.Also consider that work-experience in an institutional setting, for instance, will offer practical experience in quantity production and budgetary cost containment, perfect for banquets and catering later in his/her career.
In addition, the hospitality student should gain a good knowledge of computers and using computer programs.This doesn't mean that he/she should become a "computernerd", but by graduation time, he/she should have a working knowledge of the Internet, word processing, spreadsheets, presentation software packages, recipe and inventory software, and point-of-service systems. Many leading computer service firms which cater to the hospitality industry employ recent graduates of hospitality and culinary arts programs because of their knowledge of scheduling and operational details of food service.

Comprehending and assimilating the basic kitchen skills, and the skill of presenting food artfully and attractively is not all that is involved in becoming a culinary arts professional.To be truly proficient in skillfully producing creative and innovative food, one must also constantly assess quality, labor and cost factors in preparation and production.In addition, acquisition of "people skills" as well as technical skills are required. Only then, by practicing and refining all of the "people skills", and by filtering the technical skills through personal expression of the subtleties, harmony and contrasts of flavors, textures, colors and shapes that are abundant in the marketplace, will the culinarian function successfully in the varied commercial and institutional settings.