Distance learning culinary certificate programs provide students with a wide variety of cooking skills. Certificate programs are generally designed for students with basic or limited experience, and areas of focus may include identifying, handling and prepping vegetables and fruits, as well as techniques such as sautéing, stewing or roasting meats.
Schools that offer distance learning culinary programs may award a certificate after students complete fully online coursework and a series of at-home cooking exams. Other programs offered through universities' continuing education departments typically do not award college credit, but they may still give students a certificate of completion.
Courses in distance learning culinary certificate programs include lessons in preparing and cooking a wide spectrum of foods, and some classes may even focus on one type of ethnic or regional cooking. Most programs, however, group courses into sections based on the type of food. For example, a series of courses might include instruction in stocks, soups and sauces. Likewise, meats such as beef, veal, lamb and pork are usually grouped together, since the skills necessary to cook each of these meats have similarities.
Some common courses in these programs include:
- Stocks and Sauces
- Cooking Methods for Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs
- Gourmet Cooking of Meat
- The Basics of Poultry
- Cooking Fish and Shellfish
- Baking and Pastry Arts
- Buffet Design, Setup and Presentation
In a distance learning culinary certificate program, students may work at their own pace, substituting ingredients and varying cooking techniques according to their own preferences. Through study guides, DVDs and textbooks, culinary programs cover the techniques of chefs, bakers and caterers. Culinary students may also appreciate the ability to use their own personal appliances and cooking utensils, which is not an option with a site-based program.
Distance learning culinary certificate programs are typically not intended to train students for careers in culinary arts. Instead, such programs help novice and intermediate cooks hone their skills and find their strengths. Students interested in pursuing careers in culinary arts often go on to study in a formal, on-site degree program or find entry-level employment in a kitchen.
For individuals who want to gain basic cooking skills, online culinary certificate programs are available in both for-credit and non-credit formats. Course materials are delivered virtually, and students can use what they learn to develop their skills in their home kitchens.