Pursuing an online program in cooking usually requires some prerequisites, as well as an idea of potential career aspirations. An associate or bachelor's degree can usually be found in online programs.
How to Select an Online Cooking School
Online degrees are typically available at the undergraduate level. Cooking is only one aspect of the culinary and hospitality industry; a number of schools have online programs that prepare student for other jobs, such as restaurant manager, food and beverage manager, hospitality supervisor, restaurant critic or dietitian. Students should consider the prerequisites and program delivery along with their career goals when choosing a program.
It's important to check for prerequisites, since prior completion of a formal cooking program is usually required.
There are perhaps as many kinds of cooking professionals as there are recipes. Chefs, head cooks, food preparers, serving supervisors, sous chefs, dietitians and grill cooks are just a few positions involving food preparation. Other job categories focus on management of restaurants, food and beverage purchase, product sales and entrepreneurship. Graduates of an online program can use their education to enhance a current job or to move into a new area of work or responsibility.
Online schools typically provide service through a learning management system that is accessible at a student's convenience. Free downloadable plug-ins, such as Acrobat Reader or Java, may also be needed. Online programs generally require computer speakers or a headset for video lectures.
List of Online Cooking Programs
Diploma in Culinary Arts
Online training in kitchen and cooking skills is very rare, but aspiring cooks can find a few diploma-level programs. Learning combines textbook reading with online tutorials and exams, culminating in the practice of cooking. Students may need to acquire cooking supplies and foods needed for the program, since these are not provided by the school. Coursework covers:
- Professionalism and food safety
- Menus, recipes and healthy cooking
- Tools, equipment and knife skills
- Stocks, sauces and soups
- Starches and salads
Associate of Science in Culinary Arts
Studies focus on restaurant management and other aspects of hospitality and food service professions. Applicable general education topics, such as math and communications, are also required, and some schools provide culinary career planning classes.
Graduates will be ready for entry-level management jobs, such as wine steward, front desk assistant or maître d', and will be prepared to advance as they gain experience. Technical equipment for online courses will include a newer computer with high-speed Internet and e-mail access, and may require the purchase of special software and printed textbooks. Coursework is diverse, and includes topics such as:
- Culinary math
- Food safety
- Introduction to gastronomy
- Nutrition and product knowledge
Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts Management
Bachelor's degree programs are usually intended for individuals with a culinary arts or related associate degree. Some schools accept completion of an apprenticeship or American Culinary Federation certification as course credit. Applicants are expected to be well versed in a full spectrum of cooking techniques, including baking, grilling and simmering.
Those interested in applying to a bachelor's degree program will want to consider that, although classes are offered online, some schools require a brief on-campus residency to qualify for admission. Advanced culinary management courses focus on:
- Cuisine trends
- Event management
- Sustainable purchasing and controlling costs
- The hospitality industry
- International traditions and protocol
Schools with Online Cooking Programs
Stratford University contains an online Associate of Applied Science in Advanced Culinary Arts. This 90-credit program, consisting of 20 classes, can be completed in 18 months, and is fully available online, as well as in a classroom and a combination of both formats. Each class averages a length of five to ten weeks, with course subjects that include baking fundamentals, food science, and hospitality supervision.
The New England Culinary Institute (NECI) contains three online Bachelor of Arts degrees: one for Culinary Arts, one for Baking and Pastry Arts, and one for Food and Beverage Business Management. Online lab materials require basic food ingredients that can be found in a typical household. NECI also requires everyone graduating with a bachelor's degree to pass a five-credit Spanish Language and Culture course, in order to better communicate both with guests and potential coworkers in the industry.
Many programs are available online for those interested in a cooking school. Typically, more varied offerings exist at the bachelor's level of study.