Whether you're at a 4-year college or university, taking community classes, or in a culinary arts school, coursework will emphasize some basic business and culinary arts skills essential to running a catering business. These business and culinary skills include:
- Food preparation and sanitation
- Food presentation
- Event planning and marketing
- Recipe and menu design
- Kitchen organization and stocking
List of Courses
This popular catering course was developed for students who want to create a business out of their love of cooking and is typically a non-credit community education course. Students learn culinary, time management and kitchen organization skills needed to be successful caterers. The curriculum includes ingredient selection, recipe ideas and food presentation. Event planning and business planning are emphasized.
Catering and Hospitality Internship
Catering and hospitality internships provide hands-on experience for catering students. The weekly time-commitment for internship programs varies among schools, although some mandate at least 18 hours per week while also taking catering classes. Although students are responsible for securing employment, some catering schools secure employment for their graduates in internship programs or in on-campus student-run restaurants.
Commercial Food Preparation Course
Producing quality food for public consumption requires both culinary and management skills. Before taking this course, students must have completed a culinary arts course, such as basic food preparation or cooking methods class. This course focuses on the management of mass production of food items for catered events. Attention is given to the production of each food course, such as the salad, appetizer, main course and dessert. Menu selection and buffet preparation are discussed.
Menu Design and Marketing Course
Students in this course learn to create affordable menus that adhere to customer specifications and price limits while still making a profit. Creating and carrying out marketing campaigns for a catering business is demonstrated.
Buffet Catering Course
Creating memorable buffets take organization and artistry. In this course, students learn to organize buffet gatherings while choosing memorable food and ice sculpture displays for artistic presentation. Catering basics, such as event set up and serving styles are covered. This course may be taken after the commercial food preparation course.
Management of Food and Beverage Purchasing Course
The food and beverage purchasing management course focuses on educating students about purchasing beverages and food items in bulk quantities. Students learn about purchasing techniques, including how to estimate bulk storage space and the quantity of food and beverages required.
Cost Control in Food Service Course
This catering course focuses on accounting, inventory and purchasing in quantity in the food service industry. Students learn to budget and to control food service costs, such as labor, storage and production. This advanced course is typically taken near the end of a catering management program.
Food Safety and Sanitation Course
Two of the most important issues in the food industry are safety and sanitation and thus this is one of the first classes catering students take in any catering education program. Sanitation techniques and consequences of poor sanitation practices are discussed. Some catering and culinary schools require students to complete a national sanitation exam before graduation.
Baking and Pastry Course
The basics of baking common pastries and other baked goods are taught in this course. This includes terminology used in baking and measurements. The course provides skills in cake production and decorating, bread making and cookie and pie construction. Students will also learn how to use baking tools, such as rolling pins and measurement cups.