If food and cooking are your passions, you may find a college major that helps you become a chef challenging and rewarding. The College Board site shares that the best college programs that prepare you to work as a chef are those accredited by the American Culinary Federation, have a small faculty-to-student ratio and offers job placement services after graduation.
A college culinary arts program offers extensive hands-on training in the kitchen as you learn alongside certified chefs. The classes in this program teach you various cooking techniques and terms, and show you how to safely work in a commercial kitchen. You’ll also learn how to pair ingredients, create recipes and about nutrition. Depending on the program, you may have the opportunity to practice what you learn in different restaurant settings, develop menus or study abroad.
Baking and Pastry Arts
The hands-on training offered in baking and pastry arts programs teach you basic cooking skills and specialized techniques related to the art of patisserie, like baking and decorating. In the classes, you’ll learn about the importance of weights and measurements in baking so you can prepare, for example, tarts, soufflés, cakes, butter creams and Genoise sponges. The classes related to baking principles teach you how to prepare different doughs, artisan breads and other baked goods that use yeast. When you take the advanced classes, you’ll gain experience making and assembling European desserts, and learn how to make elaborate edible decorations using ingredients like chocolate, marzipan or sugar.
A culinary nutrition program combines culinary arts with food science and nutrition, so you can learn how to make meals that are nutritious and taste great. The classes in this type of program teach you to develop healthy menus for the hospitality and health care industry. Some of the classes focus on using diet as a form of disease prevention and teach you about the nutritional needs of different consumers, like those with food sensitivities, athletes or those who need special diets. A culinary nutrition program also trains you in the areas of product research and development, preparing you to work as a product development chef.
Food Service Entrepreneurship
A food service entrepreneurship program is one that builds upon your culinary skills if you want to open your own restaurant and be the head chef. Unlike a general program for business majors, a program designed around food services and service management focuses specifically on the creation and management of a food-related business. For example, an accounting class in the program teaches you general bookkeeping principles and how to track the different types of inventory that a restaurant uses. You’ll also take business courses like marketing, entrepreneurship and management in the context of a food-related setting.