Online Chef Training Programs
Opulent food can come at a high price. From the $777 Kobe beef and Maine lobster burger at the Paris Las Vegas casino to Serendipity 3's $1,000 ice cream sundae, some of today's most talented chefs demand top dollar for their edible creations.
Working as a head chef means more than topping an elaborate pastry with limited-edition chocolate. It takes dedication, hard work and training, like a culinary arts education. Students who have professional or personal commitments may be looking for flexible class schedules. While online chef training comes with some challenges, many courses do translate to the online medium.
The range of culinary schools and degree programs gives individuals a chance to customize their education. Aspiring students choose among three major chef training options:
- Certificate/diploma: For hobbyists hoping to boost their knowledge, brief certificate programs are a popular option. Professional chefs may complete certificate coursework to add just a few relevant skills--like food safety or management--to their portfolio.
- Associate degree: Targeted chef training might involve coursework in knife skills, food safety, cooking techniques, and classic recipes or cooking styles. This degree program can be completed in two years of full-time study and is suited for those looking for vocational training for an entry level job.
- Bachelor's degree: Combining chef training with business education, this broad degree can be completed in four years of full-time study. This degree can offer management skills and experience through education.
Well-rounded chefs blend their culinary skills with knowledge that can serve them in the day-to-day operations of restaurants, catering companies, bakeries and more. Courses in food safety, nutrition, menu planning and hospitality management are adaptable to the online medium, and students can enjoy the flexibility of e-learning in a culinary degree program.
The technical aspect of chef training--cooking skills and techniques--can be more difficult to translate to distance education. Multimedia tools like instructional videos from chef instructors can help bridge the online divide. Or, students may choose a hybrid program that utilizes online education with hands-on guidance in the kitchen classroom.
Distance learning programs can also familiarize students with business management skills and technology. The Department of Labor's O*NET website notes that chefs may use various technical programs, including:
- Analytical applications such as recipe and menu software
- Database user interface and query software such as table management programs
- Enterprise resource planning, or ERP, software
- Planning logistics and supply chain software
The culinary world is competitive, especially at the higher-paying restaurants. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects slower than average job growth for chefs and head cooks between 2008 and 2018, yet high turnover in the industry should lead to job openings, especially for chefs with good business skills.
The 90,510 chefs and head cooks working in the U.S. earned mean annual wages of $44,780 in 2010, according to the BLS. With over 10,530 chefs in 2010, California was the state with the highest number of these professionals. Graduates of chef training programs can be found in restaurants, hotels, catering companies and more.
- Salary: Mean annual wages of $44,780 in 2010--hourly wages over $21.50 (BLS)
- Employers: Full service restaurants, traveler accommodations like hotels, or special food services like catering companies
- States with the most chefs: California, Florida and Texas
Online Degree Programs in Chef Training
Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education.
- AAS in Business Administration - Hospitality Management