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Tips to Conduct Culinary Classes for Kids

Kids from the current generation are sure a smart lot. This was evident when I went to visit a friend’s place, and was given a sumptuous piece of pie to sink my teeth into. And lo and behold! The pie was not baked by my friend―it was her cute teenage daughter. “Excellent!” is all what I had to say, and I could barely control my excitement over her culinary skills. The secret to this was, of course, the summer classes she had joined to hone her cooking skills.

Cooking with kids can be a fun affair. Today’s children are not really the ‘clumsy kinds’ around the kitchen. They can juggle a whole lot of activities and yet excel in everything they undertake. The savvy kids of today join dance classes, karate classes, excel in swimming, and even paint. Parents ensure their children dabble with a little bit of everything so that they can handle any situations in the future. The children of today are, thus, a smart lot that know exactly what they want and what they love to do.

Although cooking is considered to be an activity for adults, many children begin at an early age. Cooking with kids can be a whole lot of fun in the kitchen. (Although, cleaning up the mess may not be everybody’s idea of fun.) There are many culinary classes that are planned particularly during summer vacations. This is the period when kids have plenty of time on hand, and would also have the inclination to learn something new. However, there are a few things one would have to bear in mind while conducting one.

Basic tips to Conduct Culinary Classes

Safety is always of prime importance. Children being children, are bound to be impish, and this is something adults may not always have control over. You must keep kids away from sharp objects or hot stoves. In case the recipe involves the use of sharp objects, you can only demonstrate the same and place them away safely once used. If possible, it is better to use plastic knives or butter knives for the cutting process. They need to know how to hold the knife to avoid hurting their fingers. Include plastic cups and bowls, and avoid the use of glassware.

Kids should be taught to practice safety measures in many other issues related to the kitchen. Teach kids to keep away from a hot oven and make sure they know how to handle pots. They need to be taught how to use the pot handles without spilling things over. This is particularly necessary when these pots contain ingredients that are boiling hot. Older kids can be shown details about the operation of electrical gadgets used for cooking. Apart from this, remind them to keep an eye on the electrical gadgets and cords. These safety measures are one of the most important steps that must be included in the sessions. Kids should be aware of possible hazards. For example, teach them to avoid using electrical appliances near the sink or a source of water.

The recipes used for culinary classes should be just basic initially. Smoothies, salads, cheese and egg recipes, sandwiches, etc., are a great way to begin their cooking sessions. Teach them the basics of frying, baking, roasting, boiling, etc. This forms the base of all types of recipes. You also need to show some important steps like washing the veggies, mixing batters, spreading butter, kneading dough, serving food, beating eggs, and pouring liquids.

Do not yell in case there is a mess. Think about the first time you began cooking and probably your anger will melt away! Well, you need to make kids feel at ease. Spills are a part of culinary classes, so keep mops within reach.

Arrange for some basic supplies for kids. These should include a chef’s hat, aprons, comfortable shoes, and even crockery meant for children. This will only make things motivating for children and develop their interest. Make your cooking class as interesting as possible. Use illustrations, food games, or even videos of different recipes for children. These elements will help break the monotony. Hygiene is of utmost importance. Teach kids to wash their hands whenever required. This is of the most important points that should be covered.

The importance of such classes has increased with time, especially with parents busy pursuing their professional interests. Children can thus learn to be self-reliant and cook homemade food instead of opting for unhealthy ready-to-eat foodstuff.

Top Culinary Schools in America

In the US, as per the National Restaurant Association (NRA), restaurants and hotels are one of the biggest private sector employers. With the hospitality sector at its most developed stage, careers in culinary have grown to become extremely popular. A culinary career is not only rewarding when it comes to job satisfaction, it is also decent when it comes to salaries.

Best Culinary Schools in America

Whether you want to be a chef or you wish to be skilled in bartending, these schools have programs for all of you. The schools mentioned below are some of the best in the US. The list is random and has not been put in any specific order.

International Culinary Schools at the Arts Institutes
It is considered to be the biggest culinary institution in the US, offering culinary degrees to more than 20 associate schools. Founded in 1975, this 30-year old institution is known to provide excellent placements and an experienced faculty. It is one of the top culinary schools where you not only learn cooking, but also numerous aspects of restaurant management.

Institute of Culinary Education, NYC
The Institute of Culinary Education, founded in 1975, is known for providing excellent culinary education. To get admission into its various programs of culinary, students must complete two years college education or must have at least 2 years of work experience. Students from all across the US come to study in this top rate college.

California Culinary Academy (San Francisco)
One of the finest culinary colleges in San Francisco, US, the California Culinary Academy is known for its various programs, like culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and hospitality and restaurant management. It is undoubtedly one of the finest culinary schools in America.

Texas Culinary Academy
It has been fifteen years since the establishment of the Texas Culinary Academy, and it has evolved to become one of the best culinary institutes in the US. Located in a sprawling campus of 73,000 square feet, this institute teaches you everything about cooking.

French Culinary Institute, NYC
The ultimate French technique when mixed with American dynamism leads to an epicurean’s delight. Located in NYC, the French Culinary Institute has been known to be a modern culinary school producing some of the best chefs all across the world. It also boasts of its faculty, which include some of the most famous chefs from across the world.

Some Other Schools to Consider
Here are some other institutes that are worth of a mention as some of the most popular culinary schools in the US.

– Scottsdale Culinary Institute
– Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Los Angeles
– L’Academie de Cuisine, Washington, DC
– Johnson & Wales University
– New England Culinary Institute
– Sullivan University (At the National Center for Hospitality Studies) – Louisville, Kentucky
– Western Culinary Institute (Cordon Bleu)
– Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts at Minneapolis/St. Paul
– Pennsylvania Culinary Institute
– The School of Culinary Arts – Kendall College-Chicago-Illinois
– Culinary Institute, Hyde Park NY

Famous Online Schools

Thanks to online education programs, you can learn the nuances of culinary arts by getting an online degree. You can learn various aspects of culinary education by taking diplomas, certifications, and degrees from the following popular online universities. The online programs of these colleges are recognized all across the US, and are considered a reputed certification. You can visit the websites of each of these colleges and know more about their application procedures and programs offered.

– DeVry University
– University of Phoenix
– Virginia College
– Strayer University
– Ashford University
– Kaplan University
– Penn Foster Career School
– Penn Foster Schools
– Ashworth College
– Fortis College
– Glion Institute of Higher Education
– Meritus University Online
– Remington College

If you’re interested in this field, then make sustained efforts to enter any of these colleges for a bright career. The earning potential of a chef is very decent and so you don’t have to worry much about monetary benefits.

Culinary Chef Job Description

A chef is one who is a cook by profession. However, chefs working with the hospitality sector today, have much more to do than mere cooking. To be more precise, the duty of a chef is to manage the entire kitchen and everything to do with cooking. A chef has to see to it that food is cooked in a way that meets the standards of cleanliness and hygiene. So, the modern chef should have more than just an interest in cooking. He should have a formal training in culinary skills behind him, to be successful as a chef. In addition to educational qualifications, the chef should be healthy and hygienic.

Culinary Chef Requirements

To become a chef, you need to be at least a high school graduate with some experience of practical training. There are many colleges that offer a degree or diploma in cooking. After obtaining a degree (or diploma), you can get some hands-on experience by working as a trainee in restaurant kitchens. Here you can get to see the master chefs at work, and can learn a lot in the process. Since a chef is responsible for deciding the price and measure of the delicacies served to the customers, your ability to do some quick calculations will be an added advantage.

Culinary Chef Job Information

The job opportunities for a culinary chef are mostly in places like hotels, cafeterias and restaurants, where people come to have food. The duty of a chef can vary widely depending on the demands of the place where he is working. Small restaurants and fast food chains have cooks who are adept at making food items such as burgers, pizza, sandwiches, hot-dogs, etc. Such cooks are called short-order cooks, because they specialize in food that gets ready in a jiffy and can be served quickly.

In restaurants that cater to a variety of cuisines from different parts of the world, there are many cooks, each with an expertise in a particular style of cooking. So, there you’ll find separate cooks for Chinese, Continental, Thai, Italian, and Japanese food. Also, cooks are specialized in different departments, such as pastry, soups, desserts, roasting and grilling, among others. In large kitchens such as these, it becomes necessary to have someone to manage things on a day-to-day basis, and this is where the role of a chef comes into picture. The duty of a chef is to oversee the working in the kitchen and supervise the work of cooks and kitchen helpers.

The duties that a culinary chef has to do, varies according to his designation in the food service industry. After obtaining a degree in culinary arts, you can join a restaurant as a station chef or Chef de Partie. Station chefs or line cooks, as they are otherwise known as, prepare food in the kitchen. During this period as a station chef, one has the opportunity to see the second chefs and the executive chef at work. The second chef, or Sous Chef as he is known in French, is the person in charge of supervising the line cooks. The responsibility of ensuring that food is ready on time, and every order is looked into and worked upon, lies with him. In other words, the second chef is the one whose job is to see that all the staff in the kitchen, including the cleaners and helpers, are doing their job efficiently. The next in rank is the executive chef, who is responsible for the working of the entire kitchen. The highest rank in the food service industry is that of an executive chef.

It is the executive chef who is responsible for ensuring that the food served to the customers, looks palatable and at the same time, tastes delicious. Once it’s decided what’s going to be on the menu card, the job of an executive chef is to decide the measure of a particular dish to be served per plate and to set a price for the dish accordingly. The entire responsibility of running the food joint or restaurant efficiently, lies with the executive chef. This includes maintaining a stock of necessary materials needed for preparing food, ensuring that the utensils used for cooking are clean, and electrical equipment such as microwave ovens, blenders, mixers, hot plates, etc. are functioning properly.

Sometimes, the executive chefs use their specialized training in culinary skills, to come up with new recipes that eventually find a permanent place on the restaurant’s menu. If loved by many, such a dish can even go on to become the exclusive attraction of the food joint! Do you remember admiring the diverse menu of a restaurant you visited recently? Well, then it is the executive culinary chef who is to be thanked for it! How popular a restaurant is, largely depends on how good its cooks and chefs are. This is because the tastier and more presentable the food is, the more it will be appreciated by the customers. And more number of happy customers means the popularity of the restaurant will spread by word-of-mouth.

With the recent boom in the hospitality sector, employment opportunities for culinary chefs are many. Even though the salary may depend on several factors such as the location and the establishment where one is employed, the average annual salary of an executive chef ranges from $30,000 to $50,000.

This was all about a culinary chef and his duties. Hope this article inspires you to turn your passion for cooking into a rewarding profession. Wish you luck!

How to Become a Personal Chef

One would assume that a personal chef is a luxury only the filthy rich can afford. While that may be partially true, it is also a fact that the concept of hiring a personal chef is now being embraced by a large group of people. Personal chefs are professionals who prepare meals for families based on their choices. Individuals who do not have the time to prepare home-cooked food but would still like to enjoy fresh, hot food on the table when they arrive from work are those who usually avail of the services of personal chef. These chefs prepare menus based on the client’s choice and also keep in mind any restrictions that they may have in terms of their diet. They also shop for groceries required for meals and prepare, label and store each meal. It is a relatively new field and a highly lucrative job that is supposedly known to pay even more than that of an executive chef!

Becoming any kind of chef demands only one important quality: the passion for food. You must love what you do so that you do it well and create delicacies that have you stand apart from the others around you. If you have this kind of passion along with the ability to hone it into a skill that will help you become a professional, you are likely to be very successful in your endeavors. While this forms the basis of your job, it is important that you supplement it with some kind of education to become a thorough professional. To become a personal chef, follow these steps.

Go to a Culinary School
The first step is to enroll yourself in culinary school. While not mandatory, it definitely gives you the boost you need to kick start your career in the field. It fine tunes your skills so that you become better at what you do. If you think it may be too expensive, you may alternately enroll for some cooking classes that will help you learn new and unique techniques in the field of cooking. For this method to work, you must have the dedication to improve your skills yourself, and do your best to learn as many new things as you can in the world of culinary arts.

Going to a culinary school will also provide you with nutrition education that will help in your career. When you are required to customize menus to suit a person’s dietary needs, it is important that you have at least some basic information regarding nutrition, to appropriately fulfill those requirements.

Get an Internship
The next step is to get yourself a good internship with a personal chef or at any place that allows you to cook professionally. This will not only give you the exposure of a fast-paced kitchen environment, it will give some very necessary work experience, and also help you build a network that will help you get yourself a good job opportunity in the future.

Market Yourself
You got an internship and you have learned the tricks of the trade. It is now time to market yourself to people who need professionals such as yourself, and prove why you are a good choice. If you have a good amount of work experience and can allow only your work to speak for you, you are likely to get good opportunities in the field. However, getting in touch with the right people for the right job is imperative, which is why the networking mentioned in the aforementioned section is very important.

Become a Member of the U.S. Personal Chef Association (USPCA)
The USPCA is a well established association solely for personal chefs. You may become a member of this association while you are a student or later when you decide that you specifically want to be a personal chef. This association provides certification to such professionals who find that this certification gives them an edge over others in the job market. It also has a vast network that makes finding jobs much easier. Even families prefer chefs who belong to this association, as all of them have certain set standards of cooking and hygiene, and because it is nationally recognized.

As mentioned earlier, it has been found that the salary of a personal chef can go much higher than any other type of chef’s salary. This of course depends on your skill and your experience. In any case, pursuing this career is no difficult task, particularly when you have an association that has been created especially for professionals such as you. Make the most of this career opportunity, as it is highly rewarding, and does not even demand as many hours as that of a chef who works in a fast-paced hotel kitchen. It is comfortable, and it is satisfying. Good luck!

Interesting Facts About Culinary Arts

The term culinary is derived from the word “Culina”. It means cooking or cooking area. A person who is an expert in the culinary arts is known as a “culinarian”. Culinarians are in great demand in the hotel industry. Today, these people are paid heftily for their service rendered. This is one of the fields of study that is currently in vogue among many young people. There are many catering schools teaching this course and the competition is very high, as more and more youngsters are becoming interested in this art of cooking. This is a skill that could be learned if you are interested in cooking. There are many people who are good cooks, but may not have the skills to present their dishes. Presentation of your food is also a part of this course. The culinarians are not only good cooks, but they also know how to decorate their dishes beautifully. This article presents to you some interesting facts about culinary arts.

Historical Facts

– In 1879, the first cooking school was opened in Boston known as “Boston Cooking School”. This school conducted lessons on the “art of American cooking”. This school also prepared the students to hand over their knowledge and skills to others.
– In 1896, Fannie Merritt Farmer’s book on American recipes and culinary art was published. This was the first cookbook to be written and published. Farmer was a former student of Boston Cooking School. This book is still used as a reference book.
– James Beard is known as the father of the American Cuisine. In 1946, his cooking classes on the art of American cooking were telecasted.
– In 1960, Julia Child introduced French cuisine to the American society. Radio stations aired her programs.
Culinary Institute of America (CIA) was established in the late 1960s in the campus of Yale University, Connecticut. – – In 1972, CIA shifted its location to New York. This was the first culinary school to conduct career-oriented courses on culinary arts.

Career Facts

– One of the most common careers is working in food service in restaurants. You could work as either a chef or as restaurant manager. However, choose a good and stable restaurant to begin with.
– Another career option is conducting classes in some reputed institutions. There is a good demand for lecturers. You should have a flair for teaching.
– There is a great demand for culinarians in many star hotels and resorts. There are several areas of focus in this field. If you are good in baking and cake decorations, you can choose to work as a bakeshop attendant.

There are many positions ranging from chef to managers in this field. However, you can be a success only through proper training and practice.

What it Takes to Become a Food Stylist

A gorgeous glamor model wouldn’t look so gorgeous, if it weren’t for the makeup, illumination and impeccable photographic skills, all of which make her look absolutely stunning. There are a number of people working in the background, who transform an average looking Jane into an absolute diva. Now substitute the picture of glamor model with a scoop of tempting sundae, from any cookbook or magazine! Would you believe me if I told you that almost the same amount of efforts go into making that scoop of ice-cream ‘look’ tempting? Yes, this is where a food stylist comes into picture. Simply put, food stylists are people who ‘up’ the drool quotient of the food. They use various tricks and techniques to make the food look absolutely scrumptious and tempting. In this article, you will find a lot of information on styling food as a profession and also tips on becoming a food stylist. However, let us first know what exactly food styling deals with.

Food Styling: Where Cuisine Meets Art

Food styling mainly deals with ‘dressing up’ foods for photography or shooting. The aim is to make foods look visually extremely appealing. You wouldn’t eat anything that does not look visually appealing, no matter how great it tastes. Similarly, something that looks yummy, makes you hungry almost immediately. The recipes appearing in cookbooks wouldn’t seem so delicious, if it weren’t for the accompanying images. You feel like trying out the recipe simply by looking at the glossy picture of the dish. In reality, that recipe may not look as appealing or may not even taste that good. What is more, sometimes the ‘food’ in the image may be something different altogether! For instance, the maple syrup on the pancake in the image of this article could very well be motor oil, or the ice-cream scoop could be made out of mashed potatoes and confectioner’s sugar! Such tricks are used by food stylists to make ordinary food look extremely tempting. They make use of various props and settings to render the desired look to foods.

Beginning Your Journey as a Food Stylist

Food styling is an advanced culinary art. You need more than a chef’s hat to make a career out of this art. First of all, you need to have a passion for food and love for art. You need a great imagination and an eye for detail. While styling food, you do not follow a set method for dressing foods. Everyday, you experiment with different foods and props and come up with innovative ideas. Hence, before taking up a career as a food stylist make sure you possess the required qualities, some of which are presented below.

Ability to Think Out-of-the-Box
As mentioned above, you ought to have good imagination to be able to come up with innovative ideas. You should be able to think what ‘non-food’ items can substitute for real foods or in which setting a food can look best or what are the props that can be used and so on. You should also be able to think of the ways, in which you can render special effects to food. For instance, say if you wish to style a piping hot beverage with steam erupting from it. Now, a camera lens cannot capture steam erupting from foods, and even if it does, the effect can never be the same. In such cases, you should be able to come up with innovative ways to render a natural effect.

Ability to Implement Your Culinary Knowledge
Food stylists are people with strong culinary background. However, simply knowing stuff is not enough. You should be able to implement your culinary knowledge while dressing up the dishes. As a chef or a culinary expert, you should know what ingredients can render the best visual appeal to the food. Accordingly, you should be able to substitute these ingredients in your recipe. For instance, substituting cream for milk renders a richer, creamier look to the recipe and also makes it less soggy.

Ability to Work in Team
Food styling involves the efforts of many people. As a food stylist, you will be required to work with many professionals such as photographers, chefs, directors, etc. Thus, you should be able to collaborate with these people and deliver the required results.

Ability to Work at Odd Hours
As mentioned above, food photography involves many people. Thus, you may have to work as per the convenience of your team members. Besides, as this job deals with food, a perishable entity, the whole process of styling and shooting food needs to be completed quickly, as food items start to lose their freshness within minutes of cooking or baking.

While these were some of the personal qualities required for a food stylist, you also need to satisfy certain criteria of formal education to be able to start a career as a food stylist.

Graduating from Culinary School
In order to become a food stylist, you will first need to obtain your degree or diploma from a reputed culinary school. This program introduces you to the delights of cooking, baking and several other culinary aspects. This knowledge forms the basis for a food styling career.

Acquiring a Diploma in Culinary Arts
This is an advanced diploma which focuses on the artistic aspects of food. Here, you will be introduced to various styles of food styling, background styling and also learn the nuances of food photography. Besides, you will gain a hands-on experience in food styling through various projects and lessons.

After completing your formal education, you can start styling food under the guidance of an expert food stylist, instead of starting on your own. This will help you understand the tricks of the trade and familiarize you with the industry. As a food stylist, you can get an opportunity to work for advertising agencies, restaurants, magazines, etc. You can aim to earn anywhere between $30,000 to $50,000 a year, or even more with some experience.