Think Outside the Restaurant Box for Culinary Arts Careers

Many students who enroll in chef school want to head directly to the kitchen of a pricey restaurant the minute they graduate. Their dream is to be a top chef, and they crave a restaurant career. Other culinary arts students hope chef school will point them down a solid career path leading to a job with substantial benefits. If you're willing to think beyond restaurant careers, consider onsite foodservice to turn your chef school degree into a profession.

Culinary Arts: Put Yourself in the Big Picture

Chefs who work in onsite foodservice--and foodservice management--work for dining services in businesses, universities, and other institutions that offer in-house foodservice. Cooking on this scale requires special skills, yet culinary arts schools often give industrial-size cooking short shrift. The industry's solution? To sponsor classes at culinary arts schools. Christine Dozal of Food Service Solutions, a consultant to the noncommercial food industry points out that sponsoring chef school courses is "a way to insure that noncommercial foodservice gets coverage in culinary programs that typically ignore it or give it short shrift."

Culinary Internships Teach the Arts of Foodservice

Because chef school students tend to think restaurant first, foodservice companies offer attractive internship opportunities to those willing to consider a large scale food career. "Internships are an extremely successful tool in recruiting and training good talent," according to Christine L. Monzidelis, head of recruitment and training for N.Y. based Whitsons Food Service. Yes. Recruitment. Foodservice companies take on chef school interns hoping they'll stay on. Top foodservice companies like ARAMARK, offer internships year round, though the bulk fall during the summer months to dovetail with chef school schedules. ARAMARK offers management training as well.

Support for Culinary Arts School: Plan B

The Society for Foodservice Management wants potential culinary students to explore possible careers in onsite foodservice. The group offers both scholarships and internships, and their website is a terrific resource for students who are willing to work outside the restaurant box.