Reality shows centering on food service such as "Top Chef" or "Hell's Kitchen" give viewers a glimpse of what running a successful restaurant entails: both cooking knowledge and management know-how. A Bachelor of Arts degree in culinary arts offers students this variety of skills and knowledge necessary to work in the industry in a variety of career paths.

General Education

Bachelor's degrees, including some culinary B.A. programs, often include general education coursework to provide students with a well-rounded educational base. Students may take classes in composition and other communications, foreign language, general math, statistics and science, particularly chemistry. Some programs, such as the New England Culinary Institute's online program, require students to earn an associate of arts degree with such coursework before entry. Others like Stratford University, with campuses throughout Virginia and Maryland, waive such requirements.

Culinary Focus

Culinary arts B.A. programs include food preparation with classes on preparation of stocks and sauces, kitchen sanitation, cooking methods, baking and pastry, meat, fish and types of dining experiences. Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich., requires food science classes and labs as well as nutrition and health coursework. Schools such as Kendall College in Chicago and Atlantic International University in Honolulu, Hawaii, also often allow students to study cuisine from specific areas such Asian and Mediterranean cuisine.

Business Focus

Since the culinary arts B.A. prepares students for the business side of culinary work, programs also cover business and management. Classes include accounting principles, marketing strategies, culinary and business laws, organizational management and food purchasing. The New England Culinary Institute's program, for example, emphasizes management outcomes involving time management, human resources, working effectively with a community, team organization and business communications. While many programs include an experiential component, other schools like Atlantic International University allow or require administrative experience in the program.

Majors and Careers

The New England Culinary Institute emphasizes that modern chefs need more business knowledge than in the past, making the B.A. in culinary arts appropriate for today's kitchen professional. Some degrees allow students to focus on specific areas, such as Wayne State University's nutrition and food science option, allowing opportunities to work in various industries. The degree also prepares graduates to work as kitchen or restaurant managers, hospitality supervisors, sommeliers, cooking teachers, cookbook authors, food service consultants and nutrition counselors. A B.A. from the Art Institute of Colorado also prepares students well for opening their own restaurants.

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