Cooking courses are typically available through culinary arts schools. These courses are offered through associate's and bachelor's degree programs in culinary arts or certificate programs for pastry chefs and cooks. Additionally, cooking courses can be taken for personal enrichment or professional advancement.
Required coursework for those enrolled in cooking school degree and certificate programs includes food safety and sanitation, nutrition, menu planning and a variety of classes in various types of cooking and baking. Hands-on practice is emphasized in cooking school, so students can gain experience planning, preparing and serving meals.
Here is a list of concepts generally explored in cooking school courses:
- Stock preparation
- Knife skills
- Protein fabrication
List of Cooking School Requirements
Food Safety and Sanitation Course
Through this introductory course, students learn how to keep a kitchen clean, organized and efficient. They learn basic practices for killing bacteria and other disease-causing agents. Additionally, they practice basic kitchen safety, so as not to be accidentally injured by sharp knives or hot stoves. State and municipal policies regarding food handling and sanitation are covered in this course.
Developments in Nutrition Course
Before students begin to cook or bake, they learn what makes a meal unhealthy or healthy by reading food labels and by learning how the body processes fat, sugar, carbohydrates and calories. Students begin to pay attention to what they're putting into food so they can determine and advertise its nutritional value. They also plan nutritionally balanced meals using ingredients available in most restaurants. This course touches on how nutritional values change over time, identifying foods that were once considered healthy and now are not.
Baking Techniques Course
This cooking class teaches students the basic techniques for baking foods. Students in this course experiment with their own ingredients to learn which ingredients are palatable with and complementary to various baked goods. The course introduces students to nutritional options which can be substituted for less-healthy options. They learn specific techniques for creating breads and pastries, including the creaming and blending methods.
The Hospitality Industry Course
Students taking this course explore the hospitality industry and what's expected from culinary professionals. This course introduces students to common culinary work settings other than standard restaurants, including cruise ships, hotels and resorts. This cooking course also touches upon the philosophies by which entrees are paired with beverages, appetizers and desserts.
Advanced Cooking Course
Students create basic and advanced meals in this cooking course. They read recipes, gather ingredients and prepare the meals. They learn the methods used in taste testing and in recipe modification. This course includes an overview of popular trends in foods as well as learning to prepare foods based on the ethnic cuisine of various parts of the world. Students prepare meals for their classmates and are graded on both taste and presentation.
Through this course, students develop advanced bread and pastry skills to create a wide variety of pastries, including cakes, tarts, pies and croissants. Students add icing and other decorations to the completed project to make it both look and taste phenomenal. As with other cooking courses, students in this class typically prepare a graded meal for their classmates.