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Career Opportunities for Culinary Professionals

Career Opportunities for Culinary Professionals

The Culinary Institute of America

Culinary professionals are needed not just in hotel dining facilities and traditional restaurants but in a variety of settings—public and private, consumer-oriented and institutional. An increased emphasis on nutrition, sophistication, and financial and quality control means that all settings, from the white-tablecloth restaurant to the fast-food outlet, offer interesting challenges.

Hotels often have a number of different dining facilities, including fine-dining restaurants, room service, coffee shops, and banquet rooms. The kitchens are large, and there will often be separate butchering, catering, and pastry kitchens on the premises.

Full-service restaurants, such as bistros, white tablecloth establishments, and family-style restaurants, feature a full menu, and the patrons are served by trained wait staff.

Private clubs generally provide some sort of food service. It may be as simple as a small grill featuring sandwiches, or it may be a complete dining room. The difference is that the guests are paying members, and the food costs are generally figured differently than they would be for a public restaurant.

Many corporations operate executive dining rooms. The degree of simplicity or elegance demanded in a particular corporation determines what type of food is offered, how it is prepared, and what style of service is appropriate.

Institutional catering (used in schools, hospitals, colleges, airlines, and correctional institutions) often demands a single menu and a cafeteria where the guests serve themselves, choosing from the offered foods. Menu selections are based on the needs of the institution’s guests, the operating budget, and the administration’s expectations. Many institutional catering operations are run by large corporations, which frequently offer benefits and the opportunity for career advancement within the corporation.

Caterers provide a particular service, often tailored to meet the wishes of a special client for a particular event, whether it be a wedding, a cocktail reception, or a gallery opening. Caterers may provide on-site services (the client comes to the caterer’s premises), off-site services (the caterer comes to the client’s premises), or both.

Home meal replacement (carry-out) food service is growing in importance as more busy couples, single professionals, and families try to enjoy meals at home without having to spend time preparing them. These establishments prepare entrées, salads, side dishes, and desserts that are packaged to be taken home. Many supermarkets now offer this service to their customers.

Reprinted by permission from The Culinary Institute of America, The Professional Chef, 8th Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2006).