Jackson College approved to offer bachelor's degree in culinary management

Take students with a passion for cooking, add a new bachelor’s degree program and a burgeoning career field and you have the recipe for a satisfying future!

Students may soon begin working toward Jackson College’s new Bachelor of Applied Science in Culinary Management and Hospitality! The College recently received approval from the Higher Learning Commission to offer this new bachelor’s degree option. The College has offered associate degree and certificate options for several years, along with several shorter-term credentials that can be building blocks toward a career. Bachelor’s degree courses will be available in fall 2017.

Dining trends prompt demand “Careers in culinary arts are up,” said Chef David Hooper, culinary arts instructor. “For the last 30 years in America, we’ve gone from about 24 percent of food dollars to more than 50 percent of food dollars spent toward going out to eat. Those trends create an increased need for more food service workers.”

In 2015, sales at restaurants overtook spending at grocery stores, according to Commerce Department data. With people dining out more and demands to increase quality, restaurants will increasingly hire experienced cooks and chefs. In the workplace, culinary arts professionals may:

  • prepare food,
  • supervise and coordinate the activities of food service workers or dining room employees,
  • plan menus,
  • estimate daily or weekly needs,
  • order and maintain inventories of supplies and equipment, and
  • keep records of meals served.

The bachelor’s degree program will add business and management courses to prepare students for full-service careers. A final capstone course will be in hospitality, managing customer service, taking and tracking reservations, engineering duties and more. A student may also earn chef certification through the American Culinary Federation (ACF) as well as the NRAEF ManageFirst and the ServSafe National Certification.

Necessary ingredients for success in culinary arts and hospitality management are enjoyment of cooking, strong math skills, professionalism and ethical behavior.

“Like an artist or an athlete, you need to have a passion for cooking. Believe that you possess a gift or talent that can be developed,” Hooper said. “You know you have that passion if you end up getting paid to do something you would love doing for free.”

While television shows have highlighted some famous chefs and cooking competitions, Hooper said those don’t give a fair picture of the career. “I’m not saying they are not gifted, but that’s not the real side of culinary. It’s real work. You need to want it, and while cooking skills are important, it will take more than cooking skills. Communication, management skills, how to deal with and work with people, those are all important.”

Average pay for cooks is about $21,720 per year, while chefs and head cooks start at about $41,800 per year. Holding ACF certification increases average wages, while different areas of the nation tend to have higher average salaries.

  • Executive Chef $41,877-$99,329
  • Executive Sous Chef $67,680
  • Food Service Director $71, 000
  • Instructor/Postsecondary/Higher Education $55,250 and up

Reported by: www.payscale.com/research/ US/Certification