"We prepare them
for jobs as food and
beverage directors and
other jobs that require
"Cooks coming into
our program leave with
more confidence to
be chefs. The program
acts as a mentor."
education the education edge
Culinarians who yearn for top positions, higher pay and restaurant ownership need to have more than the cooking skills attained in culinary school or on the job. Today,
financial finesse, including costing, purchasing and other money matters, and soft skills
such as employee and vendor relationships and customer service, are necessary for success.
Increasingly, chefs and future chefs are turning to culinary programs to provide these skills.
Back to school
Thirteen years ago, a love of baking led Melissa Ventura to Wegmans Food
Markets in Rochester, New York. She started working part time in the bakery and
“just blossomed,” she says. Although she had a degree in health science, she went to
Ventura gradually worked her way up, and today she is a bakery manager
at a Wegmans store where, among other responsibilities, she oversees the
work of 30-40 employees. Her goal is to continue to move up to a position
at the corporate office or as an area manager.
At school, her classes included basic nutrition, accounting and
communications skills. “They have absolutely helped me in my job,”
Rebecca Griffin has a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts and service management
and a master’s of business administration. She has worked as a foodservice director
and in catering for Aramark, and also has garde manger experience. Now she is
an assistant professor and chair in Monroe Community College’s hospitality
department. “Students come here for their associate degree in hotel management
with an emphasis on food and culinary
arts,” she says.
The college also has a certificate program
in culinary arts and another one in food
management. Certificates are geared toward
working professionals who are interested in
food and beverage management. “We prepare
them for jobs as food and beverage directors
and other jobs that require management
skills,” Griffin says.
A management degree can take your
career to new heights. // By Suzanne Hall
The Education Edge