The purpose of this paper is to introduce the reader to the wonderful world of culinary arts. In the beginning people only saw cooking as a hobby or a chore. Now, it is regarded as a highly skilled profession. The passion for cooking can be found all around the world. Food has and will always continue to be a significant part of our daily lives.
Culinary art is defined as the practice or manner of preparing food or the food so prepared. Cooking is the transfer of energy from a heat source to a food; this energy alters the food’s molecular structure, changing its texture, flavor, aroma, and appearance. Professional cooking is a system based on a knowledge of and appreciation for ingredients and procedures (Lebensky 4).
In 1765, a Parisian named Boulanger began advertising on his shop sign that he served soups, which he called restaurants or restoratives. Before this time, the great chefs were employed in the houses of French nobility. In those days, restoratives, like all other cooked foods offered and purchased outside the home, were made by guild members. Each guild had a monopoly of preparing certain food items. There were separate guilds for rotisseurs (who cooked the main cuts of meat), patissiers (who cooked poultry, pies and tarts), traiteurs (who made ragouts), and porte-chapes (caterers who organized feasts and celebrations (Lebensky 4).
Boulanger’s establishment was closed after a lawsuit brought by the guild whose members accused Boulanger of infringing on their exclusive right to sell prepared dishes. Boulanger won in court and later reopened his establishment. Customers were served family style. Boulanger’s contribution to the food industry was to serve a variety of foods prepared on premises to customers whose primary interest was fine dining (Lebensky 4).
There are a growing number of aspiring cooks who are now becoming chefs and head cooks. Being a professional chef or head cook does not require any formal training. However, for anyone interested in a lifelong career as a chef, training and earning a degree is an essential part of making it happen. Culinary certifications differ depending on the kind of job you're seeking, and different jobs require specific training. A certification in culinary arts shows competence that can lead to advancements and higher pay positions. This training can be obtained from training at community colleges, technical schools, culinary arts schools, and 2-year and 4-year institutes. There are several levels of certifications that are available in this field. Students may obtain a certificate, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree
To obtain an associate degree in culinary arts, students must attend formal training. The course takes usually two years to complete. In addition to the culinary classes that helps the students to become better cooks; the students must also attend several of other courses. These courses include: * English;
* Human resource management;
* Info systems for hospitality;
* Social/ behavioral science; and
* Humanities/ fine arts.
Most programs also require that students obtain experience in a commercial kitchen. This can be done through an internship.
There is an array of different careers available in the culinary field. The career choices include executive chefs, sous chefs, pastry chefs, personal chefs, and private household chefs.
An executive chef is primarily responsible for overseeing the operation of a kitchen. They coordinate the work of their sous chef and other cooks. The title of executive chef sounds as if this would be the head cook; on the contrary, usually the executive chef has minimum involvement in the food preparation. Executive chefs are generally preoccupied by administrative tasks; therefore, they spend little time in the kitchen. The executive chef typically does the following: * Check the freshness of food and ingredients;
* Develop recipes and determine how to present the food;
* Plan menus and ensure uniform serving sizes and quality of meals; * Inspect supplies, equipment, and work areas for cleanliness and functionality; * Hire, train, and supervise cooks and other food preparation workers; * Order and maintain inventory of food and supplies needed to ensure efficient operations; and * Monitor sanitation practices and ensure that kitchen safety standards are followed.
An executive chef should possess the six following traits:
* Skill; and
* Knowledge (Lebensky 15).
A sous chef is second in command in the kitchen. Sous chefs are cooks who supervises food production and who reports to the executive chef.
There are a few factors that can influence the salary of a chef. These factors include: * Type of dining establishment;
* Location of the establishment;
* Specific responsibilities;
* General economic conditions; and
* Size of the establishment.