Culinary Arts? California Can Dish it Out
In 2005, the California Restaurant Association projected that the economic impact of restaurant sales that year would be a whopping $103 billion. Between January and October of 2004, there were 6,384 new restaurants in California, which was more than any other state in the nation for that period.
You might call California the food capital of the United States. It's the home of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, the country's first sushi, hot fudge sundaes, doggie bags, Cobb salad, drive-thrus, French dip sandwiches and California Cuisine. The restaurant industry is the largest employer in California, providing 957,100 jobs. With 67 restaurant headquarters, California is home to more chain restaurants than any other state.
And these numbers are only going to get bigger. The number of foodservice managers in California is expected to increase 15 percent through 2014. The time is right for earning a culinary arts degree in California.
Your Culinary Education
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that jobs for chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers should be plentiful this decade because of the shift away from home cooking and toward eating out. In order to work in the finest restaurants, the BLS says that chefs must receive formal training through a two- or four-year culinary arts degree program, and advancement often depends on the level of education.
A culinary education program usually consists of instruction in safely using tools and equipment, good knife techniques, and safe food-handling procedures. You might receive training in nutrition, menu planning, portion control, purchasing and inventory methods, proper food storage, public health, food service management, accounting, and banquet service. In California, the home of the Napa-Sonoma region, you'll also receive lengthy instruction in wine and spirits studies, from production to service. Other topics you'll study during your culinary education are: catering, pastry and baking, hospitality, and business management. After all, many chefs go on to own or operate restaurants, or run their own catering businesses. Many of these culinary topics are offered through classes via online schools as well, offering more flexibility and convenience for the busy student at any age.
Using Your Culinary Arts Degree
Employment of chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers should increase as fast as average through 2014, says the BLS -- particularly in the casual dining industry. For those working in the meals-to-go or catering industries, that growth may be even more rapid. The median hourly earnings of chefs and head cooks in May 2004 were $14.74, although that may vary depending on location, amount of education, and type of establishment.
With innumerable opportunities available to those with a culinary education, California could truly be your Golden State. Investigate your culinary arts degree today!
Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Chefs, Cooks and Food Preparation Workers"
California Restaurant Association 2005 Fast Facts