I Just Graduated From Culinary Arts School…Now What?

Culinary Arts Graduate after Degree

You have put your heart and soul into your education at culinary arts school and graduation day is finally here. Now comes the time to put your skills to the test and move forward with your new career doing what you love. Students with a culinary arts degree have many rewarding career paths they can choose from once they finish school. If you’re curious about what’s next, keep reading to learn more about what a culinary arts program entails and how it can be applied toward rewarding and exciting career opportunities for the future.

With a culinary arts degree, you don’t just learn cooking techniques. Of course, that is central to the education of any culinary expert. However, culinary arts degrees cover a much broader reach of topics, including nutrition, food safety and sanitation, food service purchasing, hospitality management and food service mathematics. And of course, you will learn everything about cooking, from stocks to sauces, baking and international cuisine. All of these skills that you will acquire will prepare you for your future career in the culinary world. But just what does that world look like? What can you do with your degree after culinary school?

It’s true that many culinary arts career paths involve the food service industry. But there are many other graduates that thrive in other industries, including hospitality, universities, hospitals, and even cruise ships or casinos. To learn more about what a culinary professional does day-to-day, follow along below, or visit us at our upcoming Open House!


Chefs, also known as head cooks, are the bosses in the kitchen. They direct food preparation and supervise all kitchen staff. These professionals are in charge of developing recipes and planning the menus. They are responsible for ordering and maintaining the inventory of supplies, as well as ensuring the freshness of all the food used in preparation of menu items. Chefs handle the hiring and supervising of the cooks and kitchen staff. They are in charge of inspecting kitchen equipment, work areas and ensuring all sanitation practices are followed.


Working as a cook is one of the most common professions for a culinary arts graduate. Cooks work in the kitchens of restaurants, hotels, and other institutions. Some kitchens distinguish between prep cooks, line cooks, and others. They typically work under the direction of chefs, in conjunction with teams of kitchen staff to prepare and cook food. Cooks are responsible for handling and storing ingredients in the kitchen as well as ensuring their freshness. They prepare foods including weighing, measuring and mixing ingredients; they also bake, grill, fry, broil, and steam many varieties of food. They are also responsible for cleaning up their work space and arranging and serving the food.

Personal Chef

Personal chefs have jobs very similar to chefs, however, they are typically self-employed. They prepare and serve meals to their clients, private parties and households. They work with clients to develop and plan menus based on culinary requests, preferences and dietary restrictions. Some personal chefs prepare meals in advance to be enjoyed throughout the week, while others may work on a meal-to-meal basis. They may work in people’s homes or in venues for private events or special occasions.

Food Service Manager

Food Service managers direct and coordinate the kitchen staff that prepares and serves the food. Also known as kitchen managers or assistant managers, they manage the daily operation of restaurants and other establishments, including hiring, training and overseeing the employees involved with food preparation. Food service managers are also responsible for ordering food and supplies, inspecting equipment and ensuring food safety standards are in compliance.


Caterers prepare meals remotely and serve guests at large events such as weddings, fundraisers or corporate events. They discuss the menu items and food presentation for the event with the clients prior to the event. Caterers are often self-employed and therefore must create contracts and keep records of their business dealings. Part of the job is to develop menus based on client preferences and needs. They will prepare, cook and serve large amounts of food and comply with all food safety rules.

Food Stylist

Food styling is an art that is utilized by restaurants, advertisements and cooking shows to showcase colorful images of food for film or photography. A food stylist is responsible for preparing these pristine dishes for modeling for photographs or on camera. Food stylists use a variety of techniques to make the dishes more appealing, such as using chemicals to steam or alternative cooking styles to maximize color. Food stylists work with marketing companies, magazines, television shows and can be self-employed as well.

Food Scientist

Food scientists are researchers that look for ways to improve on food safety practices. These professionals work exclusively in research and development, or in regulatory, processing or quality assurance fields. Food scientists specialize in the technical and chemical aspects of food, focusing on everything from food packaging and preservation to how foods smell and interact with each other. They are employed by food manufacturers or laboratories at universities or research locations.

As you can see, there are many career opportunities for a graduate of the Stratford University culinary program. With a mastery of cooking techniques and the ins and outs of the food industry, the world is your oyster. The next step is finding the best fit for you and your career goals.

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