What jobs can you get with an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts?
Creating a superb dining experience isn’t a solo endeavor. It takes a lot of people to make a restaurant run the way it should. That means there are also a lot of jobs, from entry level on up. And with a degree in Culinary Arts, you’ll be ready to jump right into many of them.
Below are a few of the culinary careers that will be on your menu.
You may have heard the phrase, “too many cooks in the kitchen” — but the truth is, you usually can’t get enough of them. Just as a general can’t execute a battle plan without their army, the executive chef can’t bring their recipes to fruition without the line. Line cooks do everything necessary to keep a kitchen running smoothly before, during, and after meal service. Depending on their station, they will prepare ingredients; make sauces; grill meats and vegetables; plate food; and they will always keep their station well-stocked and clean.
- Chef de Partie
Also known as the station chef, the chef de partie supervises all those line cooks, keeping an eye on the bigger picture. Depending on the size of the kitchen, a chef de partie may oversee a single station or all of them. They’re responsible for training their assistant cooks; making sure waste is kept to a minimum; purchasing ingredients and controlling costs; and hiring new line cooks. A chef de partie will also make sure everyone under their command follows strict standards of health and hygiene.
- Assistant Garde-Manger Chef
They say that if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. But there are plenty of places in the kitchen where you want the opposite of heat — like the garde-manger. Garde-manger chefs, also known as pantry chefs, are responsible for cold foods like fruit, pates, caviar, charcuterie, chilled soups, and cold desserts. As an assistant garde-manger, you’ll not only help prepare those dishes; you’ll make sure all cold foods are properly and safely stocked. You may also help prepare buffet presentations, and create salad dressings, soups, and spreads from scratch.
- Junior Sous Chef
No kitchen can run without a sous chef. And in larger kitchens, no sous chef can do their job without a junior sous chef. The sous chef works with the head chef or executive chef to make sure their culinary vision becomes a reality. The junior chef helps make it all happen, helping to oversee everything that happens in the kitchen. As a junior sous chef, you’ll be responsible for taking inventory and making sure everything is properly stored. You’ll help enforce high standards of hygiene. You’ll aid in managing the kitchen staff, and help train them in new cooking techniques. These jobs become especially important when the head chef isn’t on site — with a great sous chef team working behind the scenes, diners won’t ever know the difference.
- Assistant Kitchen Manager
Chefs are laser-focused on creating great meals. Kitchen managers are there to make sure everything around them is running smoothly so that nothing unnecessary distracts from the focus. Kitchen managers focus on the business aspects of running a restaurant. They can choose to run specials based on inventory and seasonality of foods (consistent specials can be a valuable tool in controlling costs). Many kitchen managers are also in charge of staffing, making sure everyone down the line is ready, willing, and able to fulfill a chef’s demands. It’s a big job: which is why, especially at larger restaurants, assistant kitchen managers are vital. Assistant kitchen managers, or AKMs, will help a kitchen manager stay within budget without sacrificing the quality of a dining experience.
AKMs will help manage ordering and inventory; accounting; back of house scheduling; repairs and maintenance of kitchen equipment; and much more.
No matter what kind of dining establishment you work in, one thing will always be certain: the standards for food safety and sanitation are very high. They have to be. Not only are those standards required by law, but without them, no restaurant would stay open for long. Hygiene is crucial; and it’s the kitchen steward’s job to make sure everything — every dish, every fork, every countertop, every floor — meets the highest standard of cleanliness. On top of those important duties, the kitchen steward makes sure everything is as attractive as it is sanitary. They’ll oversee the polishing of cookware and silverware so that it sparkles.
- Food Journalist
If you’re pursuing a degree in Culinary Arts, there’s a good chance that you like reading about food: which means you already know the value of a great food journalist. Food writers can work for magazines, newspapers, and blogs, writing everything from restaurant reviews to recipe books. If you just have to tell everyone you know about your culinary experiences, the history and culture of cuisine, or anything else food-related… you might just be a food journalist.
- Food Stylist
Have you ever watched a TV commercial or a cooking show and wondered, “how do they get the food to look so amazing?” That means that somewhere, a food stylist is rightfully proud of a job well done. No matter how exquisite a meal, and no matter how beautiful the presentation, it takes a food stylist to get a meal to look picture perfect for the camera. It’s not just about appearances, either: food stylists will develop new recipes themselves, source and shop for ingredients, and prepare gorgeous meals from scratch.
What can you do with an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts?
For you, a meal is more than just a meal. You want everything to be perfect. The tastes, the smells, the presentation, the service: it’s all important. Every detail matters. What’s more, you want to be the one to create that experience for other people. The kitchen and the dining room are where you feel most at home. And when you welcome people into your home, you want them to feel special.
They might never fully understand all the work that went into it, but that doesn’t matter. To you, it’s an art. It’s a passion. And at Monroe College’s School of Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts — the renowned Culinary Institute of New York — you’ll have all the tools you need to perfect your craft.
And when you’re done? You’ll have a world of career options waiting for you. Read on to learn more about the future you can build with a degree in Culinary Arts.
What Will I Learn With an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts?
By the time you’ve earned your degree in Culinary Arts, you’ll have learned how and where to source the freshest ingredients; how to combine them to create unforgettable flavors; and how to prepare them to perfection. You’ll master the fundamentals of great service, so that every meal is a true experience for your guests. And you’ll understand how to manage the business of running a restaurant, so you can keep everything running smoothly.
During your culinary education, you’ll learn about:
- The techniques of nutritional and healthy cooking;
- How food is raised and grown;
- Food handling and safety;
- Cooking and baking techniques;
- Restaurant operations management;
- Pastry arts;
- The hospitality and tourism industries; and much more.
At Monroe’s School of Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts, you’ll spend your days training in state-of-the-art kitchen facilities. By the time you finish your degree program, you’ll feel completely at ease in the culinary world.
Your hands-on experience won’t end there. You’ll also have the opportunity to test your skills at our entirely student-run public restaurant, the Dining Lab, as well as our student-run café, the Pastry Kiosk. Experience firsthand just how great it feels to see people appreciating all your hard work, right then and there.
What kind of licensing or certification do I need?
As a food services professional, it’s important to understand, and abide by, strict rules about food safety, food handling, and nutrition. By the time you complete your degree, all of that will be second nature to you.
But employers can’t just take your word for it. And when you come out of Monroe’s School of Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts, they won’t have to. When you graduate with your associate degree in Culinary Arts, you will automatically receive certification from the American Culinary Federation as a Certified Culinarian (CC).
The ACF is the only professional organization in the U.S. that is registered with the Department of Labor to provide culinary certifications. When you earn your ACF certification at a school of culinary arts, employers know they can count on you to uphold the highest industry standards. And as you progress through your culinary career, you’ll also be able to stack your credentials, earning more certifications as your needs change.
Depending on your specific career path — and depending on the regulations of your state or city — you may need to procure other licenses and permits, including catering licenses, food safety licenses, liquor licenses, and more. You won’t have to worry; thanks to the education you’ll receive as you pursue your degree, you’ll have all the knowledge and support you’ll need to get them.
Great meals, great careers
People will always want the experience of connecting with others over a great meal. By earning your associate degree in Culinary Arts, you can help create that experience for them. Your culinary education will be just the first step toward a career that will always be in demand.