For aspiring chefs considering culinary school, studying online might not seem practical at first. After all, can you really develop the hands-on skills you’ll need in a digital classroom?
Absolutely! Online culinary school consists of both classroom learning and an industry externship where students get real-world experience through hands-on training in a professional kitchen.
An online education is a combination of reading, chef demonstration, practice and feedback, just like an on-campus education. But studying online gives students greater flexibility, allowing them to complete their studies from the convenience of their own home.
As the only U.S. accredited institution with 100% online degrees & diplomas that include industry externships, Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts is the leader in online culinary education – accredited by Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training. So we’re sharing exactly what online culinary school is — how it works, who it works for, and what students can learn.
“I looked at many campuses and programs when I decided to pursue my education, and it was the only platform that worked with my desire, my need to stay in the kitchen. It’s just like any brick-and-mortar campus, you will get out of it what you put into it. It has made me a better cook, a better baker, a better leader, a better businessman, and most importantly, a better teacher to my staff.”Lance McWhorter, Online Culinary Arts Graduate; Military Veteran; Food Network “Chopped” Contestant; Executive Chef & Restaurant Owner
How Does Online Culinary School Work?
Here’s what the basic workflow looks like at Escoffier.
Lessons start with assigned reading and video content so students can start to learn new terminology and techniques. Students also participate in discussion boards with their fellow students.
Then, they attend a live virtual session online with their classmates, led by a professional Chef Instructor. The instructor provides further explanation of the reading material and demonstrates techniques to the students. Students can also watch hundreds of custom, step-by-step videos online created by Escoffier.
Next, culinary students complete a weekly assignment based on a provided production sheet. As the students work, they document their progress through photos and a written summary. They also use the Escoffier flavor wheel to assess the taste of what they made.
When they’re done, the Chef Instructor goes through each student’s production sheet, summary and photos, and provides video feedback. Students receive personalized attention from their instructor with tips for improvement.
Finally, after completing all course requirements, Escoffier’s Career Services staff assists students in finding their externship. Students also spend time getting real-world experience in a working kitchen. This is the students’ opportunity to put their technical skills to good use in a busy kitchen environment.
The externship is also a great way for students to network, get a feel for the kind of work they’d like to do, and possibly find a job after graduation.
Who Does Online Culinary School Work For?
A culinary education can open the door to a variety of careers, but getting that education has to be viable. That’s one of the major benefits of studying online — students can fit their classwork into their hectic schedules.
Online culinary school can be a smart choice for:
- Busy parents
- People who work full time
- Those seeking career advancement in the industry
- Students who can’t travel to an in-person campus
- Veterans and active duty military
Escoffier’s graduate Kristin Douglas, for example, completed her program while taking care of her family and building her own catering business in northern Utah.
Shari Spooner completed the online culinary arts program while working full time. She already had a bachelor’s degree, but she wanted to further her education and boost her career within the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
When asked how she juggles it all, Shari said, “Escoffier has made it possible for me to join a class live or watch an archived session at 10:30 at night when I have had a long day. I can wake up early to get my assignments done, and I know that an instructor or fellow student is there to help me navigate the waters.”
Online degrees and diplomas can also be a way for active duty military, veterans and their families to get an education and further their career. Staff Sergeant Michael Allen, a graduate of the online culinary arts program, completed his studies while keeping up with the rigorous demands of active service.
“As an active duty soldier, online school is a big way to stay consistent with education. There is a big need for culinary arts training in my career, but there is not a lot of time to accomplish this. It’s doable, I’m doing it right now!”Michael Allen, Online Culinary Arts Graduate
There’s another benefit to online culinary school — students can complete everything for the program except their externship from their own home kitchens.
What Can Students Learn?
The curriculum taught in Escoffier’s online programs includes classic French techniques — many invented by the famous French chef Auguste Escoffier himself — as well as modern, cutting-edge innovations that Escoffier couldn’t have dreamed of.
Students study kitchen basics like knife skills, food safety and sanitation — more important right now than ever. They also learn pâtisserie (pastries and bread), world cuisines and explore the Farm to Table® philosophy.
Then there is the business side to a culinary education. Chefs must understand purchasing and managing costs, effective communication and restaurant operations. Without a strong business foundation, the best chef in the world can’t manage an effective kitchen.
Bottom line: online culinary school is an excellent option, as thousands of Escoffier students can attest. To take the first step toward realizing your dreams, learn more about our online culinary or online pastry programs.
And don’t let finances stand in the way of your career goals. Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts makes financial aid, scholarships and grants available for those who qualify, including special financial aid options for our military and veterans.
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