Online Culinary Schools
Online culinary schools offer degrees that correspond with various aspects of the culinary arts but cannot provide actual associates’ or bachelors’ degrees because of the nature of the occupation. Since “virtual cooking” does not exist, students desiring a culinary degree will need to attend a traditional brick-and-mortar community college or university in order to obtain such a degree. Classes involved in culinary arts programs given at higher learning facilities are generally held in lab-kitchens where students gain hands-on experience by watching and learning from experienced culinary arts experts who have worked for many years as master chefs in fine restaurants and first-class hotels.
What are the Culinary Arts?
Possessing a degree or certification in the culinary arts means that advanced knowledge regarding the preparation, cooking and deliverance of food has been acquired via an accredited higher learning educational institution. Individuals employed in a professional culinary art position are technically referred to as “culinarions”.
Other facets of this field taught in culinary arts classes include food science, food aesthetics, nutrition and diet, entrepreneurship, ethnic cooking and menu development.
Associate Degree in Culinary Arts
Virginia College offers an online associate degree in culinary arts intended for students who hold a diploma or certificate in some type of culinary skill but desire to obtain an AA degree to enhance employment opportunities. This degree program includes courses designed to provide a broad overview of the world of culinary arts, such as:
Culinary theory–discusses such topics as proper sanitation practices and plate/presentation concepts
- Cooking techniques
- Stock, sauce and soup creation
- Nutrition planning
- Introduction to international cuisine
- Wine appreciation
Accredited by the ACICS (Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools) which is recognized by the USDE (U.S. Department of Education) and CHEA (Council for Higher Education Accreditation), Virginia College is qualified to deliver viable diplomas and all levels of degrees up to a master’s.
Associate of Science in Culinary Arts
Culinary students can also obtain an associate of science degree at Virginia College that includes courses comprising the associate of arts program in addition to class instruction regarding math functions specific to food preparation (metric system, fractions, decimals), application of nutritional information to food production and menu planning and industry standards concerning health and sanitation practices. General education courses required to obtain a BS in Culinary Arts include behavioral and social sciences, customer service and career planning.
Penn Foster Career School Gourmet Cooking Certificate
Penn Foster is another accredited online school offering culinary students the ability to complement existing degrees with specialty certification. A six-month course that prepares students for employment as a gourmet chef, the Gourmet Cooking program instructs students in the fine art of preparing gourmet meals by providing comprehensive textbooks, study guides and DVDs that enhance the long-distance learning process. Course concentrations comprising the gourmet cooking program include:
- Methods used to cook fruit, herb and vegetables dishes
- Veal, rack of lamb and beef preparation techniques
- Shellfish and fish gourmet cooking
- Cooking legumes, pasta and grains, including Shitake noodles
- The art of pastry baking
- Lessons exploring international world cuisine
Penn Foster also offers a caterer certification program that provides students with the knowledge necessary to operate a successful catering business. Consisting of 10 courses exploring the practical aspects of catering-related food preparation as well as the business dynamics of catering, this course also delves into areas regarding types of alcoholic beverages, dessert-making and gourmet catering.
Penn Foster is an established and reputable online school accredited by the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association as well as the Distance Education and Training Council. The school offers low monthly payments for students who do not qualify for federal financial aid and has also been approved for veterans education benefits. Additionally, Penn Foster’s Better Business Bureau rating currently stands at an A+.
Bachelor in Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management
For culinary students already possessing an associate’s degree in the culinary arts, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh offers a Bachelor in Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management degree that focuses on practical and theoretical components of culinary management. This degree program further examines supervisory concepts regarding effective directing of kitchen, dining and other staff members working in a food service environment. Fundamentals of the preparation, cooking and presentation of food is reviewed as well. Employment opportunities for those receiving a BA in Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management are special events coordinators, institutional food service directors, restaurant catering and hotel restaurant management.
Online Master’s Degrees in the Culinary Arts
Culinary professionals with bachelor degrees are qualified to enroll in a master’s program. An MCA (Master of Culinary Arts) studies in-depth facets of food preparation, cooking techniques, safety/sanitation issues, cost control concerning kitchen management and gastronomy. Other core courses involved with this degree include ethnic cuisine, beverage operations management, organizational psychology, restaurant/catering business concepts and communications. Development and presentation of a master’s thesis is also required in order to receive an MCA.
Online culinary schools offering an MCA are Atlantic International University, Argosy University and Le Cordon Bleu.
Culinary Arts Scholarships
In addition to federal aid, private loans and payment plans, students interested in receiving online culinary degrees can also apply for a variety of scholarships that help pay for tuition, books and supplies. Some institutions offering scholarships for potential chefs, restaurant managers and other food service positions include:
- The Institute of Food Technologists
- The International Culinary Institute
- The Institute of Culinary Education
- The American Academy of Chefs Culinary Scholarships
- The Charlie Trotter Culinary Education Foundation
- The Woman Chefs and Restauranteurs Scholarship Program
To apply for one of these scholarships, students need to submit a statement before specific deadlines applying to each scholarship and also provide proof of any previous diplomas, certifications or degrees earned in the culinary arts.
According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics, an experienced culinary arts chef earns about $22 an hour working in an up-scale dining establishment. On the low end of the pay scale, chefs make $11 and average $24,000 annually. A little over half of all degreed chefs working in the U.S. are employed by restaurants, with the remainder working in hotel restaurants, casinos and with catering businesses. As a highly competitive industry, the culinary arts’ job outlook is expected to remain flat over the next 10 years.
Overall, the culinary industry provides a wide variety of opportunities from cooking to managing. Earning a degree in culinary arts will help you move up from the dishwasher to an owner.