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What is Culinary Art?

The term culinary art refers to the process of cooking and arranging food.

Culinary art is more than just cooking, however. Professionals in this field not only prepare palatable food, they also create edible works of art, so to speak. Generally, the food is carefully prepared and arranged so that it is pleasing to both the taste buds as well as the eyes.

What Does a Culinary Artist Do?

Culinary art professionals may have several different titles, including culinarians and chefs. Generally, however, these professionals are usually referred to as culinary artists.

Whimsical individuals could liken a culinary artist’s medium to food, and his canvas to a plate. In all seriousness, though, this is not usually very far from the truth. A culinary artist is responsible for preparing food and making it look not only edible, but exquisite.

Like many other artists, culinary artists often choose to specialize in one area. Some culinary art professionals may choose to specialize in preparing food from a certain region, such as Italian food or Japanese food. Other culinary artists might specialize in a particular type of food, such as entrees or baked goods.

Depending on where culinary artists work, they may have several different duties and responsibilities. A chef in a restaurant is often responsible for planning the menus, for example. Chefs will often create original recipes and dishes as well as follow recipes for classic dishes.

A chef is usually expected to prepare the food as well. Food preparation typically involves obtaining, measuring, and weighing ingredients as well as cooking the dishes. The preparation of the dishes usually involves the use of a number of different kitchen gadgets and equipment, including utensils and ovens.

Individuals looking at a culinary arts career might also be interested in overseeing the day to day operation of restaurants too. Although experience in and knowledge of food preparation is often necessary for these types of positions, restaurant managers are typically responsible more for the business side of a restaurant. This can include duties such as budgeting, customer service, and advertising, along with the hiring and firing of employees.

What is the Average Salary for Culinary Artists?

The average salary for culinary artists will usually depend on his talent, experience, and location as well as his area of expertise and expected duties. Obviously, talented and experienced individuals in this profession are usually able to command a higher salary, for instance. Culinary artists in large metropolitan areas are also usually paid better wages as well.

Salary and wages will also increase usually be higher for culinary professionals with more duties and responsibilities. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for sous chefs, colloquially known as head chefs, was around $38,770. In comparison, other types of food preparation professionals made $28,970 on average during the same year.

In order to refine one’s culinary skills and gain experience, a formal education is often recommended.

What Skills and Education is Necessary for a Culinary Arts Career?

Anyone interested in a culinary arts career should have a passion for cooking and food in general. Aspiring chefs should also have measuring skills and the ability to follow directions closely.

While cooking skills can be learned without any type of formal education, most individuals interested in culinary arts careers typically choose to refine their skills in a culinary institute. A culinary arts student will often take a number of cooking classes, along with courses in nutrition, alternative ingredients, meal planning, recipe writing, and sanitation. Online culinary schools are available as well.

Besides preparing food, chefs and other culinary arts professionals must ensure that their food prep areas are kept clean and sanitized. Several illnesses can be transmitted through improper food handling, education in sanitation and proper food handling is also essential in order to pursue a career in culinary arts.

What can I do With a Degree in Culinary Arts?

A degree in culinary arts will often lead to a fast paced and delicious career.

The majority of graduates start their culinary art careers in establishments that serve food. Besides restaurants, this can include establishments like hotels, taverns, pastry shops, and catering companies.

Some culinary artists might also open their own businesses. Most private catering companies, for example are owned and operated by professionals that hold degrees in culinary arts.

Featured Schools with Culinary Arts Programs: Request information to learn more.

Culinary Arts (AS)
Culinary Arts (D)
Areas of Study

Culinary Arts
Baking and Pastry Arts
Areas of Study