What to Expect in a Cooking School Certificate Program

Cooking school certificate programs are a great way for new culinary art students to get started on an advanced degree education or enter directly into the culinary arts field with an entry level degree. Cooking schools generally offer certificate programs that cover the basics of culinary arts, including baking and technical skills.

A certificate program covers the foundational material that a student will need to begin working in a kitchen or to pursue a higher degree that will draw on the skills learned in the certificate program. Cooking classes in this level of a school’s program are meant to provide a thorough understanding of the concepts and principles involves in basic kitchen jobs.

The basics of food classes are often the first part of training included in a certificate program. These classes allow student to look at the fundamentals of cooking in great detail and discuss at great-lengths the techniques used to create staple foods. This typically involves the principles of cooking foods such as sauces, stocks, meats, vegetables, pastas, seafood, and poultry. It may also cover advanced techniques relating to how these foods break down at specific temperatures, under pressure, in specific cooking mediums, and when mixed with other ingredients. Basic food classes at a cooking school typically include composing entire meals and meeting basic nutritional needs at meal times.

Baking classes may be available and integrated with basic food classes. Baking classes in a certificate program involve making a multitude of baked goods from scratch, including temperatures and time recommendations. Students are taught how to create dough and batter, as well as creams, custards, sauces, and meringues. Pie fillings and crusts are also covered. Cooking schools generally lecture and demonstrate in the areas of working with cakes, tortes, chocolates, strudel, and other baking and confectionary items.

Perhaps just as important as the actual cooking techniques, there are a number of other cooking classes that are considered core knowledge for any culinary art professionals or aspiring graduate students. Knife skills are integral in the course of culinary arts, so it is not uncommon for an entire class to be dedicated to using knives, choosing professional grade blades and quality handles, and how to properly slice, mince, dice, and chop foods without harming themselves or sacrificing the quality of the food.

Food safety is essential in any cooking school program, and protects the culinary art student and the customer. Food safety classes cover the national food safety standards established by at least two regulating agencies: the Education Foundation and the National Restaurant Association. Food management classes are typically part of the program as well, covering topics such as career development following graduation from the cooking school and management skills for restaurant careers.