Learning to Cook… Online?

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Almost everything is available to do virtually now, including learning how to cook. There are several accredited courses you can take online that will make you a chef! One of the primary benefits of online education is that it provides flexible learning on a schedule that can fit your busy home and work life.

As we move into a more technological world, more institutions are trading in the classroom for the world wide web, and their degree programs are following them. Culinary schools are no different. Online culinary schools offer all the training you would receive if you practiced at a physical location, but takes away much of the stress. Working online means that your current job that pays your bills will not suffer as you earn your culinary degree that will lead you to a career.

Because culinary school is traditionally a hands-on program, earning your degree online must take an alternative approach. Keep in mind, while it is possible to obtain an online degree or certificate in Culinary Arts, but most programs focus on the management aspect of restaurants.
Whether the goal is to become a professional chef or to hone your at-home cooking skills, completing a culinary arts program is a great first step. There are numerous different training avenues for the prospective culinary professional that spans a spectrum of specializations.
 Free online cooking classes, courses and learning materials aren’t commonly offered through public or not-for-profit private schools. If a student completes a free online cooking class, it’s for personal fulfillment as he or she won’t be able to earn college credit.


Choosing an online culinary school is no different than choosing a physical campus to attend. Check that the school is accredited to ensure that your culinary degree will hold value after you graduate. Research what kinds of financial aid are offered both from the school and other agencies that may offer grants and scholarships to the institution.

The Different Types of Culinary Programs

If you’re aspiring to become a chef or baker, then your best option is to get a culinary program degree. A culinary degree will provide you with vital cooking skills that you can only find in educational programs. Degrees will also teach you about ingredients, food preparation, as well as skills like timing, making recipes for hundreds of people, and cost control when purchasing the best quality ingredients.

There are multiple different certificate and degree options within the culinary arts. The program and degree option that you choose should help meet your specific career goals. The following are some degree options within culinary programs:

  • Certificate Programs:
    The quickest way to get a culinary arts education is through a certificate program. These provide you with a background in culinary arts and help you gain practical experience for an entry-level job. Curriculum is based on learning hands-on cooking and baking skills. You can get a certificate in numerous specializations, including: baking and pastry arts, culinary arts, culinary management, and wine and beverage. Admission to certificate programs is typically based on academic and work references, as well as a high school diploma or GED.
  • Associate’s Degree:
    An associate’s degree is the next step up from a certificate in culinary arts. These are typically 2-year degree programs that give you more experience and make you more employable. You can get 2-year degrees at many culinary art schools as well as community colleges or technical schools. Curriculum is usually focused on hands-on cooking and baking skills, safety and sanitation, management, and nutrition. You also have more options of specializations with an associate’s degree. Typically, admission to associate degree programs is based on academic and work references and previous work experience, and most programs also require a high school diploma.
  • Bachelor’s Degree:
    A bachelor’s degree is one of the highest degrees you can get in culinary arts. It’s the most advanced degree and is best if you’re planning to own your own restaurant, be a restaurant manager, or be a top chef at a fancy restaurant or resort. These are four-year programs that focus on many aspects of culinary arts. Typical curriculum focuses on business, finance and management, cooking and baking skills, food science, and high-end food preparation. Admission requirements include high school diploma or GED, a satisfactory high school GPA or previous college GPA, SAT scores, personal essay, and professional and academic references.
  • Apprenticeship Programs:
    After you’ve completed a certificate or degree in culinary arts than you should consider an apprenticeship program. Apprenticeships provide you with real-world cooking experience that you need before going out on your own. Typically apprenticeships involve hands-on learning from a skilled professional while working in a hotel, club or restaurant. You usually need high academic and work references, as well as previous education at the high school level or higher. These programs can be highly competitive, so the more training or experience you have the better off you’ll be.

What to expect from an online culinary program

Online culinary arts programs are traditionally delivered in several different formats, each of which presents a different learning experience for prospective students. Although online instruction varies by institution, students engage with the curriculum in several different ways, including the following:

  • Live chef demonstrations
  • Instructional videos
  • Interactive quizzes
  • Online learning management platforms
  • Individual mentor and instructor support
  • Students seeking flexibility in their education can select the delivery format that works best for them.

Below is an overview of the common types of online culinary arts programs:

Individual classes: Some programs, such as Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy, offer a roster of single topic classes through their online learning platform. Curriculum is delivered through interactive learning modules, skills-based instructional videos, and online assessments.

Hybrid: Hybrid programs blend online education with hands-on instruction in a physical location. Although curriculum varies by individual institution and area of study, students typically complete knowledge and theoretical-based instruction through online classes and complete a practicum or externship in a professional kitchen under the supervision of an instructor to hone their skills.

Fully online: Some culinary programs, such as culinary operations or hospitality management, may be completed entirely through online studies.

Negatives of Online Culinary Schools

  • Difficult to find a program that incorporates practical experience
  • Less social interaction
  • Requires greater self-motivation
  • Less flexibility in specialties/offerings

Positives of Online Culinary Schools

  • Ideal for those interested in every aspect of food service industry
  • Tuition is often much cheaper than psychical institutions
  • Total cost is reduced even further by not having to commute
  • Flexible schedule: learn, study, and progress at your own pace

Whether the goal is to become a professional chef or to hone your at-home cooking skills, completing a culinary arts program is a great first step.

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