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Culinary School: Do I Choose My Classes?

by Olivia DeWolfe
CulinaryEd Columnist
February 23, 2011

Culinary courseworkIf you are thinking about enrolling in culinary school, you may wonder how your program curriculum is decided, and how much choice you have in deciding your courses throughout the program.

Culinary degree programs are usually designed by professional chefs, chef instructors and/or other experts in the industry, and their general goal is to produce qualified graduates who are ready to develop successful careers in the industry. For that reason, many schools offer a set curriculum, with classes that build upon one another. The goal is to provide a solid foundation that students can utilize in a career.

However, schooling is much like a recipe: while there are certain steps that must be followed, there's almost always a little leeway to make your experience your own.

Choices within the culinary-school curriculum

Whether you're looking for a traditional or online culinary-degree program, you should decide on the area you want to specialize in. What type of culinary-arts career do you want: baker, chef, instructor, manager, wine steward, etc.? Are you interested in catering, food science, hospitality, natural foods, nutrition, hospitality or being a private chef? Do you want the skills, such as accounting and marketing, to run a food service business? This is important for deciding which program you want to pursue, which in turn impacts the number of choices you might have available during your education.

The length of the program you choose can also determine how much say you have with your classes. Shorter programs -- such as those for a certificate or a one-year diploma -- may offer less choice because the time frame is limited and the essentials need covering. Conversely, longer-advanced culinary degree programs, such as a four-year bachelor's degree, may allow more options. For example, with a longer program, you may have elective choices in your final year, or be allowed to decide where to perform an externship. Two-year programs can fall anywhere along this spectrum; you may have all the choices of a four-year program, or you may follow an established path like a certificate program, or you may be somewhere in the middle.

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            Culinary Arts
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            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
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            Culinary Arts
            Get the experience you need to succeed in the exciting and fast growing culinary field at Keiser University - Center for Culinary Arts. We offer the flexibility of day or evening classes, experienced faculty, and small class sizes for plenty of personalized attention. Internship opportunities and financial aid are available for students who qualify.
            AOS Degree in Culinary Arts
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
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            Culinary Arts and Food Services
            Good for Working Adults
            • Has been training students in the culinary arts since 1946.
            • Teaches hands-on culinary training in French, Asian, Mediterranean, Latin and American cooking, along with professional baking and pastry techniques.
            • Helps students gain professional skills in culinary management.
            • Offers an Italian Culinary Arts program where students get to externship in Italy.
            • Its instructors are respected chefs who put their dedication and life experiences into their instruction.
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            Associate of Science in Culinary Arts

            Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience. 

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            AAS in Business Administration - Hospitality Management

            Building on Purdue's mission to provide greater access to affordable, world-class education, Purdue University Globaldelivers a fully personalized online experience that's tailored to working adults. By opening the doors to adults who need flexibility to fit learning into their busy lives, we make it possible to achieve a high-quality education from a prestigious university system—completely online.

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