• Is Cooking School Right for You? Five Qualities of a Good Culinary Artist

    Attending cooking school is a big decision. An education in culinary arts is a great way for you to hone your culinary skills, whether you're an enthusiastic foodie or simply fiddle with a food processor from time to time. Do you have what it takes to be a good culinary artist?

    1. Do my culinary skills include a good sense of smell and taste?
    Can your nose discern the difference between coriander and cardamom? Are you able to taste new dishes and name most of the ingredients? In a profession that often deals with the sensual aspects of food, it is essential that your nose and your taste buds are up to the challenge.

    2. Do I enjoy creating new and unique flavors and food combinations?
    Many culinary professionals consider themselves artists as well as technicians. As in any art form, creativity is a vital trait, used to develop new dishes, unique pairings of ingredients, and aesthetically pleasing presentations.

    3. Do I communicate well with others?
    Whether you aspire to work as a personal chef, a hotel manager, or a restaurant owner, you'll need to be able to forge and maintain relationships with clients. Customer service is a key component of almost any successful business and the food industry is no different. The need to communicate with guests may give extroverts a natural advantage in this field (but is not a required trait).

    4. Do I thrive in a fast-paced environment?
    Cooking, even in its simplest form, usually involves some level of multi-tasking. Managers in a commercial kitchen may have to supervise line cooks, communicate with wait staff, oversee product flow, and prepare parts of the menu, all without losing their cool.

    5. Am I driven by creativity and guest satisfaction?
    Art really can be made in the kitchen. Whether you're creating a unique dinner at home for someone special or working in a kitchen to craft a delicious meal, it can be satisfying when your guest smiles in response to your culinary efforts. If you thrive on creating unique concoctions that satisfy others, working toward a career as a head chef or cook may be the right path for you.

    With your answers to these questions in mind, start researching the field of culinary arts to see what piques your interest. Talk to people in the field to get a better grasp of what they enjoy and what they consider challenging. Your appetite for a culinary job may very well be insatiable, and a well-planned education can help turn that craving into the culinary career that's right for you.

    About the Author:
    Chloƫ Dowley is a freelance writer based in rural Maine. She frequently writes culinary features and career pieces featured on Yahoo! and MSN.

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