Chef / Culinary Arts

What to expect from a career as a Chef or Culinary Professional

A passion for food may lead you into a career as a chef or culinary specialist, but be prepared to have a work ethic that matches your passion. Chef and culinary programs at Ontario colleges demand both creativity and drive from their students, as they learn traditional cooking methods while developing their own flourish.

If you’re interested in a career that takes cooking to an art form and can’t wait to don your chef hat, here’s what you need to know.

Chef and Culinary Courses

Chef courses are designed to teach more than just cooking. With classes in workplace communication, kitchen management and sanitation complementing food theory and preparation courses, you’ll come away with the professionalism necessary to make it in the industry. You’ll also learn to deal with customers, hectic conditions and team dynamics, all without ruffling your chef coat or losing your cool in the kitchen.

Along with classroom education, students can expect plenty of hands-on training. Many chef and culinary programs at Ontario colleges run in-house restaurants managed by their students. Many schools also incorporate a work placement as part of the curriculum.

General Chef and Culinary Program Requirements

Chef and culinary programs require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent for entry, and many require a grade 12 English credit. Recommended classes and preparation may include communications, entrepreneurial and hospitality classes, as well as any experience in the food industry or with food appreciation.

Chef and Culinary Jobs and Salaries

The market for chef jobs and other culinary professions can be competitive and often you’re expected to work your way up the chain with time and effort. However, there is plenty of room for creativity in the profession. Areas you may explore as a chef include:

  • Catering
  • Personal chef services
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Cruise ships and resorts

Outside of being a chef, careers in food and beverage management, purchasing and many other related fields are available. Salaries will vary depending on the position, but the average starting salary for chef and culinary graduates is roughly $25,000 to $35,000 per year. Salaries will increase with experience and skill.

Ontario Colleges Offering Chef and Culinary Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of chef and culinary programs at Ontario colleges.

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