While the main focus of culinary school is, of course, to learn how to cook, there are a lot of other topics to cover. Planning menus, managing a kitchen, and food safety are just also an important part of a complete culinary education.
Food Safety and Sanitation
There are probably thousands of dishes that can be created to wow a food patron. There are probably just as many ways to make them sick. Cooking schools teach food safety, such as how not to cross contaminate utensils when cutting chicken, what temperatures specific foods should be kept while in storage, etc. Students often come away with a bit of medical knowledge as it relates to toxins and poisons that can be present in mishandled food.
Chefs are not born with the knowledge of how to run a kitchen. These are skills learned in a good culinary arts school. Menu analysis, food costs, inventory management, budgeting, dealing with restaurant suppliers, handling issues with the patrons and interacting with the staff are all skills with roots in cooking school. Understanding how these aspects of a professional kitchen work will produce a student who knows how to perform under pressure, juggling the multitude of things that is required in a commercial kitchen.
Professional Cooking: The Team Effort
Watching cooking shows might give the impression that running a professional kitchen is a one-man job. This is untrue kitchens are busy and full of people who much work at as a team in order to get the job done. Culinary arts school will teach their students all about the entire staff behind the scenes making all of the magic that comes from a great restaurant.
How to Respond to Kitchen Emergencies
Responding to kitchen emergencies, along with knife handling is one of the first lessons learned in cooking schools. What should be done if there is a fire? What if there is a plumbing malfunction? How to create contingency plans and handle the unexpected are all questions that will be answered for students learning the fundamentals of a professional kitchen.
The workplace of the kitchen is a very diverse atmosphere. There is a lot to learn other than the cooking itself. A good culinary school will turn out students who are responsible and very informed on the fundamentals of the kitchen. The environment of the professional kitchen is demanding. A good culinary faculty teaches students how to meet all of these demands without disrupting the flow of the kitchen. Those interested in cooking will have a new appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes at a restaurant.