Culinary Schooling in Pakistan- A Way Forward

A principle shared by many culinary schools around the world is the idea that anyone can become a chef.

Culinary schools occupy a unique space in education as they present themselves as offering a combination of both a liberal arts education and vocational training. Many schools such as COTHM offer bachelor and even Master’s degrees, much like a traditional liberal arts or research college. But is going to culinary schools a worthy investment for those who have a passion for cooking? I aim to paint a better picture of what a culinary education looks like and how it compares to other routes of entry into the cooking industry.

For the aspiring chef who has no experience in the cooking industry, attending culinary school might seem like a good first step to get one’s foot in the door. Culinary schools promote themselves as teaching practical cooking skills and providing relevant networking needed to succeed in the culinary world. They offer various types of culinary degrees such as hotel management, food safety, but the main allure for students comes from the success stories of famous alumni. The rise of food personalities, food bloggers, and the expanding cooking culture in Pakistan has given the culinary world a new prestige, fueling the growth of commercial cooking schools.

There are many certifications to choose from depending on how much time and what specifics you would like to achieve. Since everyone has to eat to survive, culinary is a sustainable career that won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Culinary Arts is similar to other certificate and degree programs. These cooking schools provide individuals with the know-how and what it takes for a successful cooking career.

These levels of expertise start out as:

Certificate/Diploma Programs: gives you the foundation and prepares you for entry level kitchen employment. The duration of study should be around nine months or less and upon completion; graduates will receive certificates for the achievements.

Graduate Degrees: are based on a two year curriculum and are the most sought after programs among chef candidates. Hands-on culinary kitchen training and general education of Business Communication.

It has a more profound understanding of cooking and business. Having this degree is a high accomplishment and opens doors to culinary jobs and entry level management. Students are taught people skill, accounting, and business. Graduates have a wide range of food industry jobs to choose from after about four years of training.

Yes, cooks can learn a lot just by spending time in the kitchen. However, this also means they are limited to only learning things from that particular kitchen and only one type of cuisine.

In contrast, culinary school teaches students how to cook a wide variety of cuisines. For example, you’ll study cuisines of Asia for in one semester, cuisines of the Mediterranean in another semester. By the time you finish your degree, you have a great background in all different types of food vs. working for three to five years in one restaurant with one type of cuisine.

A major reason why culinary school like COTHM is preferable is that it increases an individual’s chances of being hired. Research shows that the majority of employers prefer that employees, particularly managers, have a culinary or pastry arts-related certification. Employers value the technical skills and commitment the culinary school certification represents. Ultimately, when given a choice between a candidate with or without certification, research indicates most employers prefer the certified candidate.

Moreover, equipping an individual with relevant skills is imperative for better career prospects. COTHM is the by far the sole torch bearer of the notion of ‘Degree with Skills’  With the knowledge and skills taught at COTHM, students are likely to know more about running a kitchen than those without a culinary degree, such as cost control and management techniques. As a result, these individuals are more likely to advance in their careers.

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