What do you learn in culinary school?
Culinary school offers hands-on training for all types of aspiring chefs, cooks, and food service workers. Whether you’d like to be the head chef of a high-end restaurant, a personal chef for a private household, or the owner of a catering company, culinary school could be for you. Each culinary educational institution offers different courses and specialties depending on your career goals and interests.
The culinary arts program at Tompkins Cortland Community College focuses on the popular restaurant concept of “farm to table”—which here is referred to as “farm to bistro.” Students are able to experience hands-on learning at the College’s own organic farm, which produces sustainably grown produce. They learn the entire system hands-on—including seed prep, planting, pest control, distribution, marketing, food prep, safety, pairing, serving, and business management.
They also benefit from hands-on professional training at the College’s restaurant Coltivare, which uses products from the farm and features teaching kitchens, a fully functional professional restaurant, and large group serving capability.
Should I go to culinary school?
You may be wondering: “Should I go to culinary school”? Restaurant and culinary-related jobs are expected to grow at an average rate of 10 percent per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And this is why so many students are seeking out the best culinary schools for hands-on training.
Hospitality and food-related employment are among the strongest economic sectors of the Finger Lakes region in New York State, with a large need for professional, highly trained workers. Let’s hear directly from successful graduates of Tompkins Cortland Community College.
- We asked TC3 culinary graduate Stephen Mead: What do you learn in culinary school?
It taught me a lot about the business aspects of the foodservice industry. I really gained insight into just what it takes to run/own a food service business.
- We asked TC3 culinary graduate Hanna Kalabanka: What do you learn in culinary school?
It gave me the experience to work in any kitchen I choose. In addition, it gave me the knowledge to be able to teach newer students.
- We asked TC3 culinary graduate Tamarynde Cacciotti: What do you learn in culinary school?
TC3’s Farm to Bistro program was right up my alley. I really loved the fact that it was not purely made up of culinary courses but included environmental science and wine courses as well. The business classes and culinary math were essential to so many things regarding management and properly maintaining a business.
There are so many reasons to attend culinary school. It’s the perfect choice for those who are passionate about food and excited about learning new cooking secrets. From knife skills to menu creation, you’ll gain a world of experience in the kitchen.
Culinary School Curriculum
The culinary school curriculum at TC3 includes seminars on sustainable food systems and unique courses in Food Preservation, Food Movements, and Food Ethics. You’ll gain practice in sustainable local menus, plant-based diets, beverage studies, and other trends driving menus in some of the top restaurants and other leading culinary schools in the country.
Culinary School Requirements
In order to graduate with an A.A.S. degree in Culinary Arts from TC3, you must complete 62 credits. In addition to culinary school requirements, you’ll need to take academic courses, such as English, mathematics, foreign language, and more. In some cases, you can substitute courses with a liberal arts elective of your choice, allowing for flexibility and alignment with your interests.
How long is culinary school or cooking school?
Depending on the program, culinary school can either take several months or up to four years. TC3’s program allows you to earn an A.A.S. degree over the course of two years—leading to professional roles such as chef, food service manager, front-line supervisor, and more. Check out our career coach feature for more information on culinary careers.