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Culinary grades are based on more than how well you make food

by Olivia DeWolfe
CulinaryEd Columnist
February 23, 2011

Culinary school gradesMost culinary schools use a traditional point system for grading work. Many culinary instructors use these grades to relay information to students about their progress and the areas in which they need to make more effort.

Objectives of culinary courses

Each culinary course has various objectives that you are expected to meet by its end. Instructors may use lectures, readings, culinary labs, demonstrations and/or student experimentation to convey lessons. You may then be asked to demonstrate the required skills and knowledge through assignments, term papers, quizzes and written and practical exams. Instructors may look for:

  • Accurate and thorough knowledge of regional cuisines and their origins
  • Demonstration of food safety and sanitation
  • Knife and other equipment skills
  • Knowledge of nutrition
  • Speed, quality and presentation of food techniques

Grading your work ethic

In addition, instructors may also grade students on other attributes, such as:

  • Ability to demonstrate respect, cooperation and teamwork
  • Appearance
  • Attendance
  • Communication skills
  • Level of productivity
  • Organizational skills

This aspect of your grade may appear on a separate grading scale from your letter grade. For example, it might be expressed as a number from 0 to 3, where a 0=unacceptable and a 3=exceeds expectations.

    Work hard at your culinary internship

    Internships are a vital aspect of culinary school, giving you a chance to practice your food production skills and gain experiential knowledge. Internships are similar to courses because you need to meet certain requirements in order to receive a passing grade. These requirements often include a required number of documented production hours, a student logbook that thoroughly summarizes your experience, and employer and student evaluations.

    Like many colleges, culinary schools use grades within a point system to assess your abilities. Also like many colleges, these grades offer you the chance to improve as you go.

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