Associate's and bachelor's degree programs combine general education, core culinary and elective content. Aside from cooking classes, the curriculum may address nutrition, food and beverage management, wine studies and food science. Non-credit, standalone chef courses are commonly offered through community colleges, culinary schools and specialty stores. Unless noted, no prior education or experience is required. Courses may be divided among beginner, intermediate and advanced levels or demonstration versus hands-on. Common topics may include:
- Kitchen stations and roles
- Proper equipment and tool usage
- Fish and meat cooking techniques
- Menu planning
- Kitchen hazards and foodborne illness
List of Courses
This beginning cooking and chef course introduces students to the equipment found in professional kitchens and methods for preparing quality food. Students learn basic cooking terms and procedures for preparing meals for large numbers of people. In addition to kitchen safety and sanitation procedures, students prepare soups, sauces, meats, poultry and seafood. Students may take this class several times; each term emphasizes a different type of cuisine or ingredient.
Baking Breads and Rolls
In a baking breads and rolls course, students get hands-on practice using yeast to bake breads, pastries and rolls. Students learn about the correct terms, tools and measurements associated with baked goods and create various sweet and savory items, including danishes, croissants, donuts, éclairs, breads and rolls. These pastry chef courses introduce students to the type of fillings used in the different products, as well as ways to present baked goods so they are aesthetically pleasing.
This course, which may be offered over several terms, teaches students essential chef skills. Students learn knife skills, cooking techniques for different ingredients and 'mother' recipes for stocks, sauces and other culinary building blocks. Kitchen skills courses are usually taken throughout a chef-training program and usually progress from basic to specialized skills.
Through this course, students gain hands-on experience preparing ethnic and international cuisines. Students explore cooking practices unique to certain regions and compare foods served in the United States and around the world. International spices, plants and meats are introduced to students in this advanced chef course. Cuisines studied include French, Italian, Chinese, Thai and Mexican.
In a garde manger class, students learn how to prepare cold foods like salads, pickles and preserved meats. Garde manger, which is also known as the cold kitchen, includes the study of salad dressings, condiments and cold appetizers. Students in an advanced garde manger class may learn how to make decorative garnishes and carve ice. Techniques for properly storing cold foods are also covered.