Hands-on learning and group projects are ways you might learn in your cooking classes

by Olivia DeWolfe
CulinaryEd Columnist
February 15, 2011

Group work is common in culinary school.You know you love to cook, but will you love culinary-school classes? Your culinary degree program should be designed to provide you with what you'll need to develop a successful career. Here's what you're likely to see in your courses:

1. A focus on hands-on experience versus academic work

Depending on your program, you'll have a little or a lot of hands-on cooking classes. An intensive-certificate program in baking and pastry arts may have you covered in flour most days and allow for only a few hours of lecture about using math in baking. The hands-on classes in an advanced culinary-degree program may occupy about two-thirds of the curriculum, with the other third focused on academic classes such as menu-planning, restaurant design, cost-control and food safety.

Online culinary-degree programs, on the other hand, tend to focus on subjects, such as business and management, that are best learned on the computer. Although there are exceptions, an online degree means you are more likely to spend your time reading and writing rather than cooking.

2. A focus on individual work versus group work

Most culinary-arts training occurs in group settings. This could mean critiquing recipes made that day, learning about wine or preparing consomme. However, you still should be asked to practice and demonstrate your newly-acquired skills on your own. This can be a way to evaluate your own abilities.

Though some culinary-school graduates, like personal chefs, work alone, most are part of a team. The ability to learn with and from others is a critical part of your education.

3. A focus on required classes versus elective course

Many advanced culinary degree programs offer standardized curriculum that does not allow you to individually select your coursework. Of course, there are exceptions, but those usually come in your final year. There are, however, certificate and diploma programs available to you that might help you pursue your specific goals. Some of these programs focus on nutrition, food-writing, restaurant design and wine studies.

Getting a sense of what culinary arts classes are like may help you to decide whether culinary school is what you want to do and whether it is the thing that you may be seeking in your life.

Culinary Art Schools
Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Showing schools in your area

            Matching School Ads
            Professional Culinary Arts
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            Culinary Arts (AS)
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Show more [+]
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management

            Founded in 1869 as a land-grant school, the University is known today for its prolific faculty as well as a record of distinguished research and achievement in aerospace, engineering, technology, science, and math.

            • Online Courses
            Search Schools Near You
            Subject :
            Degree :
            Zip Code :

            Culinary Schools
            Culinary Articles
            10 Colleges with Delicious Dining Hall Food
            Forget boring college cafeteria dining. Campus food can be exciting, healthy and delicious. Here's a look at 10 of America's best colleges to get your grub on.
            Four International Cuisines Influencing the American Foodscape
            Ethnic cuisines are an integral part of America's culinary landscape, and none more so than these perennial favorites.
            5 Ethnic Cuisines for Serious Foodies
            Love food? Want to broaden your culinary horizons? These five international cuisines provide an excellent starting place.
            Healthy home cooked meals can improve health, longevity and family social community
            Read how cooking at home rather than eating out can help you live longer, reduce the risk of cancer and improve family dynamics. Not only has cooking at home become the hip choice, it's also become the smart choice.