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Culinary Arts

Earnings Potential

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the US Department of Labor, median hourly earnings of head cooks and chefs were $14.75 in 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.71 and $20.28. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.28, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $26.75 per hour.

Facts at a glance

  • Chefs are responsible for directing the activities of other kitchen workers, menu planning, recipe creation, food and supply ordering, and some specific cooking duties. They are typically the most senior members of the staff.
  • Cooks are responsible for the day to day food preparation at the restaurant or facility. Depending on the size of the facility, there may be several cooks, each responsible for a different part of the menu, or a different type of food. For example, there are fry cooks, vegetable cooks, pastry cooks, and other specialties.
  • Food Preparation Workers work under the supervision of chefs and cooks, and typically perform less skilled duties. For example, they may chop vegetables, prepare salads, and prepare materials used by the restaurant's chefs and cooks.

Summary of what this Career Entails

Someone in the culinary arts field (that’s not a manager) is usually a chef, cook or food preparation worker. There is a difference in the three positions, mainly the fact that a chef has more training than either a cook or a food preparation worker. What someone in the field does depends on not only the job description, but also the establishment he or she works for. For example a large restaurant, a hotel or a resort would have all three and they would be separated by the type of foods being made. In a smaller restaurant, there would be either a cook or a chef surrounded by several helpers.

Examples and or details of work

The chefs, cooks and food preparation workers who work in the culinary arts field are the men and women who are cooking the meals that you eat when you spoil yourself by going to the Trump International Hotel Tower. When you want to treat your significant other to a nice dinner, you are putting your taste buds in the hands of people who work in culinary arts. Another thing about the culinary arts field is that it is a profession that can be applied outside of the work place. A chef or cook would obviously cook meals for his or her family better than the average person. 

Degrees that lead to this career

Degrees needed for a career in culinary arts include culinary and hospitality management, management supervision, occupational studies, culinary arts, art of cooking, baking and pastry, culinary arts and restaurant management, culinary arts and restaurant ownership, culinary arts and culinary skills, culinary arts management, culinary management, entrepreneurship and restaurant ownership, event planning and promotions management, hospitality and restaurant business management and pastry arts.

Specific Career openings in this field

Specific careers in the culinary arts field include chef, cook and food preparation worker.