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Catering and Gourmet Cooking: Online Diploma

Learn about online certificate programs in catering and gourmet cooking. Get a detailed overview of the requirements and learning tools used in an online catering and gourmet cooking certificate program. Obtain career and salary information, read online course descriptions, and explore continuing education options.

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Essential Information

Online diploma programs are not available in catering and gourmet cooking, but students may find entirely online certificate programs in the subject. Catering and gourmet cooking certificate programs are designed for individuals who enjoy cooking, as well as people who want to start a catering business or find an entry-level job in the food services industry. Lessons cover menu creation, catering protocol, food safety, desserts and starting a food services business. Students typically need to complete supplementary cooking exercises in their home kitchens.

Related Degree Options

For those looking to advance beyond a certificate, there are a number of online undergraduate degree options in fields related to cooking and catering. These degree programs include:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts
  • Associate of Applied Science in Pastry Arts
  • Associate of Occupational Studies in Hospitality and Restaurant Management
  • Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Management

Overview of Online Certificates in Catering and Gourmet Cooking

Online catering and gourmet cooking certificate programs train participants to store food, present dishes, meet sanitation requirements and start a catering business. Additionally, they'll obtain hands-on experience preparing and cooking foods in their own kitchens. Students typically explore classical and modern culinary techniques.

Program Information and Requirements

To earn an online certificate in catering and gourmet cooking, students read from textbooks and complete modules online. They typically have up to 12 months to complete requirements. All courses can be taken via distance education; no campus visits are required.

Students generally receive their textbooks through the mail. Other requirements include high-speed Internet access and media plug-ins, such as Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Acrobat Reader or Windows Media Player.

List of Common Catering and Gourmet Cooking Classes

Courses in this program cover cooking basics, food presentation principles and the business of catering. Coursework includes training from industry professionals.

Basics of Cooking

This course covers sanitation and safety in cooking, the food service industry and food products. Students explore tools used in the trade and basics of following recipes and creating menus.

Meat and Vegetable Preparation

Students discover proper methods for preparing different kinds of meat, including fish, poultry and beef. They learn to create sides with vegetables, mix salad dressings and use starches, such as potatoes.

Breakfast Foods

This course trains participants to prepare drinks such as coffee and tea and to operate a bakeshop. They learn about breakfast foods, including ways to bake and present them. This course also covers the use of dairy products in cooking.

Catering

This introductory course provides information about what catering is and how to find clients, as well as covering different catering styles and ways to plan events. Other topics include methods for organizing equipment, setting prices and preparing foods.

Beginning a Catering Business

This course provides the information students need to write a business plan, market their business and determine how much product they need for events. Students also learn to solve common catering problems and create menus.

Career Information for Graduates

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), chefs and head cooks made a median annual salary of $40,630 as of May 2010, while restaurant cooks made $22,140 (www.bls.gov). According to Payscale.com, catering sales managers made a median salary of $39,432 as of February 2012; catering managers made $34,483. The BLS projected that, between 2008 and 2018, employment would increase by eight percent for restaurant cooks, but it wasn't expected to increase or decrease for chefs and head cooks.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of online certificate programs in catering and gourmet cooking might be eligible for the National Career Certification Board's certification exam for catering associates. They also can continue their training through online or on-campus associate's degree programs in hospitality and restaurant management or culinary arts, as well as bachelor's degree programs in culinary management. These can prepare students for advanced positions in the hospitality industry, including managerial positions in restaurants and hotels.

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