Requirements for Culinary Arts
Food Safety Certification
- In order to work in a culinary arts career, you must have food safety certification from an accredited entity. This certification says that you were trained in proper handling and disposal of food. ServSafe, an industry organization, administers the required training materials and certification test to over 2 million culinary arts and food service professionals. This certification process is built into the program of most culinary arts schools.
- While some restaurants and hotels might employ regular cooks or chefs without formal training, most require proof that you've graduated from a culinary arts school or training program in order to be hired as a serious chef (executive or sous). Restaurant schools, culinary institutes, colleges and vocational programs train people in culinary arts to prepare them for work in the industry---most require a high school diploma or equivalent for admittance. A school will also help you get certification with the American Culinary Federation. So formal training is an important requirement if you want to be taken seriously in the culinary arts field.
Ability to Work With a Team
- As a chef or member of a professional kitchen staff, you must be able to work successfully with others as a team. There are various levels of chefs, with sous or executive chefs at the top and junior chefs working under them. The boss chef must be able to communicate with his team effectively, and lower-level chefs must be able to take direction in order to prepare and cook meals as well as manage the kitchen.
Passion for Culinary Arts
- One of the most important requirements for working in culinary arts is a passion for cooking and serving customers. You have to love what you do and be willing to continue to learn new recipes and methods even after being hired in the field. You must also have a knack for tasting and distinguishing flavors to know the difference between an awful, good and outstanding dish (this is also taught in culinary school).