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Culinary Profession

Guide to the Catering and Culinary Profession

For those who enjoy food, cooking, baking and catering the profession option for catering culinary is clear. Catering and culinary professions range from the types of catering culinary jobs to the educational background wired for those jobs. The following guide discusses the types of catering: very jobs available, catering and culinary education, paying for the education, opening your own business, working for a restaurant and the benefits of training in a restaurant. This guide is designed to help individuals who are considering a catering culinary job determine if the profession may be right for them and how to get started.

Types of Catering and Culinary Jobs

There are several types of catering and culinary jobs available for individuals who are considering a culinary profession. The following are a few of those types of jobs and a little bit of detail regarding each job. It should be noted that some of these jobs can be mixed together to form an overall culinary resume and to benefit an individual in finding the right culinary job for them.


Catering is one of the first options that many culinary professionals look towards when considering the culinary profession or creating their own business. Catering professionals tend to offer their services on a client to client basis. The most popular forms of catering jobs are for weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthdays, office parties and gatherings. Catering requires an individual to have a general knowledge of all aspects of the culinary industry in order to prepare a full catering menu. Catering menus can also be specific to the individual's catering experience. Some examples are kosher catering, soul food catering, seafood and wild game. Caterers can also choose to offer limited menus or a vast array of menu options depending on the type of catering business they have. There are some caterers who also choose to offer only dessert catering or main entrée catering.


Restaurant culinary jobs are the most popular form of culinary jobs. Individuals who graduate from culinary school or who have little to no experience in culinary can start at a restaurant and work their way up. Restaurant jobs for culinary tend to pay on an hourly basis and start with a low pay but may work up to a higher pay over a period of time. For those individuals who are serious about working in a restaurant or possibly opening their own restaurant later, this is the perfect option with many career opportunities and advancement opportunities.


Corporate culinary is a culinary option for individuals who want to work for a corporation. Many corporations will hire culinary graduates to work for companies in the dining room facility or to work in-house for larger corporations. They may work in the dining hall, buffet area or maybe part of a line chef option.

Catering and Culinary Education

The education required for catering and culinary depends vastly on the type of catering and culinary job the individual will be seeking. For an individual who wants to work in a restaurant, they may not need any previous culinary education or experience. Depending on the type of restaurant, the majority of the experience education can be learned on the job. However for the individual who wants to work for a high-end restaurant or for a private chef the culinary education required can take upwards of four years. The following are some educational options for those who are looking at catering and culinary as a job profession.

Culinary School

Specialized culinary schools are one of the first options that many individuals take for a culinary or catering education. Culinary school such as the Cordon Bleu are among the most highly sought after educational opportunities for culinary education. These culinary schools are located in major cities throughout the United States and throughout the world.

Community College Programs

Community colleges tend to offer catering and culinary programs as part of their hospitality management programs or as separate culinary arts programs. Junior colleges are one of the most affordable ways for individuals to receive a culinary education and to receive a well-rounded education. For individuals who are wanting to work in catering or who want a general knowledge of the culinary industry, a community college program is one of the best ways to go about that education. Culinary arts programs may also have specializations available in pastry, savory, catering and other specialty food sectors depending on the program and availability.

Online Catering Schools

There are several online catering school options to obtain culinary educations. These catering school options are usually for individuals who already have catering or culinary experience and you want to develop a particular set of skills. Online catering schools are affordable, however they are very much a work at your own pace and they are not accepted by many industries. For those people who want to go into catering or open their own catering business however online catering schools are an affordable option to hone in on certain skills. Some online catering schools will offer an all-inclusive tuition which includes training, DVDs, recipe books and knife sets.

Local Culinary Schools

Local culinary schools are another option for education and culinary programs. Local cooking schools tend to offer culinary certifications in specific weekend long programs. These programs may be in business catering, corporate catering, specific cooking techniques or for specific recipes. Local culinary schools can be affordable but may have their pitfalls depending on the type of culinary background the individual is looking for the type of culinary profession the individual wants to attend.

Paying for a Culinary Education

Paying for culinary education can be stressful. Depending on the type of culinary education the individual wants to receive the tuition for that education can be mind-boggling. Tuition ranges from as little as $300 to as much as $30,000 for a total program. Here are a few ways that individuals who are looking at catering and culinary professions as a career option can pay for their culinary education.

Student Loans

If an individual is looking at a culinary institute or a community college the option of the student loan is always an option to look into. Student loans are usually offered through community colleges and four-year colleges offering culinary programs. Student loans can come in the form of Stafford loans, unsubsidized Stafford loans and private loans from banks or other organizations. Those student loans do carry a hefty interest rate and may cause issues in the future for an individual who initially needs to gain the education the student loan may be the right option.

Culinary and Education Grants

Culinary and education grants are also an option for paying for a culinary education. Culinary education grants are available in the form of Pell grants, private organization grants and school grants. Grants do not have to be paid back and will cover the vast majority of the tuition for a culinary program. For individuals who need money for their education but do not want to have to worry about paying back loans, a culinary or education grant is a viable option.

Out of Pocket

Out-of-pocket payments are an option to pay for education when student loans and grants are not an option. Paying out of pocket comes with several choices. If you are looking for a certification program that will allow you open your own catering business then obtaining entry into a program that allows you to pay a small amount per month, like the program from Ashworth college online, may be the best option. Out-of-pocket expenses can get costly so individuals who are looking at an out-of-pocket form of payment for their education should be mindful of who they obtain their education from and what that education includes.

Opening Your Own Catering Business

Opening your own catering business is an option that several individuals look to when they go into catering and culinary. The culinary profession offers a wide variety of choices with catering being just one of these options. However if you are an individual who aspires owning their own catering business here are a few steps you will need to take in order to open your own catering business.

Check Requirements

The first step in opening your own catering business is to check with local and state health board requirements. Every state, county and city has their own health board requirements that are required for individuals who own a catering business. If you're running a catering business out of your home you will need to meet requirements that are different from catering businesses that have their own stand alone cooking area. Be sure to check all the requirements necessary for the catering business from set up to cooking. Remember that there are requirements for not only the way food is cooked but the manner in which the food is transported in the manner in which the food is stored. You will need to make sure all of these requirements are met prior to beginning your catering business.


Licensing is the second step in owning your own catering business. If you would like to open your own catering business there may be certain licensing that your state, local or county government requires. You will need to make sure that all of these licenses are in place and that you have met all requirements for these licenses prior to opening up your own catering business. Licensing may be as simple as incorporating your business. Registering your business and paying taxes on your business. However licensing may also require that you meet certain health board requirements and you are certified through certain health board organizations and other organizations governing catering and restaurant businesses. You want to make sure that you have all of the licenses required so that you do not be a problem later down the road with missing a license or having the wrong license for your business.


The third step in opening up your own catering business is location. You will need to determine if you can run your catering business out of your home and what the requirements are for running a catering business out of the home. If you are not able to run your catering business out a home you will need to find a suitable location that not only meets your needs but also meets the requirements of the state. Remember that some areas may require zoning specifications and requirements for specific businesses. In order to make sure that your location is a good location and a viable location you will need to contact your local health board and make sure that your location meets all the requirements required by the health board in order to run a catering business.

Menu Planning

What type of menu do you want to have for your catering business? This is an important question that you must ask yourself in order to determine what type of menu you'll offering whatever clients you will take on. For example, if you would like to have clients that use your services for their weddings you will need to have a menu that fits weddings. You may need several menus depending on the type of client that you want to take on. Depending on the type of clients and menu options you may also need menus that are specific to this even if you are using seasonally fresh food. If you are using seafood or other means you will want to make sure that you have a steady supply of the seafood and meats in order to plan your menu. Remember that you are planning a menu for anywhere from 40 people upwards of 300 people. You will need to make sure that your suppliers can meet your menu planning options and that your menus are suitable for the area you are in the type of clients you will have.

Type of Catering

The final step in opening your own catering business is to determine the type of catering you offer. Some catering companies leave it wide open for the client to choose the type of catering they want. Other catering companies prefer to only cater to weddings, bar mitzvahs, or birthdays. Some catering companies will only do weddings while others will only do small gatherings. Determining the type of catering you want to offer is invaluable to your business. There are also the options of doing private catering which includes doing catering for 10 people or less. These are all options need to be taken into account prior to opening up your own catering business.

Once all of these considerations have been taken into account, you can then open up your own catering business and begin work. Make sure to maintain all of your licensing and any help cover quire Mets should the health departments do a surprise check. You also want to make sure that any individuals who work for you also follow all help for choirs and meet all legal requirements for employment in your area.

Benefits of Training in a Restaurant

An aspect of the catering and culinary profession that has been brought up throughout this guide is working with a restaurant. Working with a restaurant is a common way for many people to gain experience in catering and culinary services. There are several benefits of training in a restaurant. The following are some of those benefits.

Paid Training

One of the key benefits of training in a restaurant is the fact that it is paid training. If you are learning on the job about culinary skills then you are being paid for your work while learning the skills. This is a great time for you to take in all you can about the industry. If you are working in a restaurant that you would prefer not to work in later then you can change restaurants and have that experience under your belt. For example, an individual may start up the seafood restaurant and decided they want to work in a smaller restaurant or in a primarily vegetarian restaurant. Other individuals may decide to do not want to work for a chain corporation want to work for corporation that has more specifically designed menus. This is all available and all falls under paid training.


The ability to change restaurants is a key benefit of training in a restaurant. If you decide you do not want to work in seafood and you would rather work in a vegetarian restaurant then you can change to a different restaurant fairly easily. This is not so easy when you are obtaining your culinary education from a college or community college setting. And community colleges and culinary school settings you may have to partake in courses that you do not want to take or have no interest in. If you are learning a restaurant then you can change restaurants and learn under individuals who have skills in the area that you want to choose.


There are several advancement benefits to working in a restaurant and learning the culinary skills that you need in a restaurant. In small restaurants especially, individuals who are learning to the restaurant how to hone their culinary techniques may find it advancement opportunities are much greater in a smaller setting rather than a chain corporation. If advancement opportunities from a entry level to a lead chef position or a sous chef position are the goals of the individual then these opportunities may be best achieved through learning from a restaurant.


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