Have you ever wondered what it takes to run a hotel or a resort? Or are you constantly wandering around farmers’ markets finding the best produce to whip up some MasterChef worthy dishes? If the answer is yes, then you should consider a degree in hospitality management or culinary arts. But what exactly does it mean to study these disciplines? Here are some frequently asked questions relating to hospitality management and culinary arts.
What does it mean to study hospitality management and culinary arts?
Hospitality management and culinary arts are part of the same service industry where the customer experience is at the forefront. However, both these streams are extremely different.
Hospitality management encompasses the daily administrative, operational and commercial tasks of any business in the realm of the tourism, travel, hotel and restaurant industry.
On the other hand, culinary arts focuses on the practice of cooking. It allows students to learn about cooking and presenting meals and includes craftsmanship with food and beverage to create gastronomic experiences for customers. In addition, it includes academic courses such as food safety, nutrition, food and beverage management, accounts and much more.
Both programmes focus on the practical side of the business, while also teaching you about service and guest experience. Along with this, you can gain insights into other dimensions of the industry such as consumer technology, luxury retail, digital marketing strategies, entrepreneurship and financial performance management, among others.
Where can I study hospitality management and culinary arts and what are some common courses?
These courses can be studied almost anywhere, but the most popular destinations are Switzerland, France, US, UK, India, Australia and New Zealand. Both hospitality management and culinary arts can be studied at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
At the undergraduate level, programmes are usually three-five years long, with each school offering either a BBA, a BSc or a BA degree in Hospitality or Hotel Management, or a similar programme. In Switzerland, for example, Les Roches Global Hospitality Education offers a BBA degree in Global Hospitality Management, while Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) offers a BSc degree in International Hospitality Management. While both these degrees include courses such as marketing, sales, operations and finance, along with professional internships, they differ in the programme structure.
In terms of culinary arts, École Ducasse in France and Culinary Arts Academy in Switzerland both offer bachelor programmes. The former offers a Bachelor in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor in French Pastry Arts, while the latter offers a single Bachelor in Culinary Arts degree. During these degrees, you will learn a mix of culinary skills through both coursework and internships, management skills, and engage in an internship.
If you are considering hospitality management or culinary arts at the master’s level, there is a wide range of courses from which you can choose. Master’s programmes last anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. Cornell University, for example, offers an MMH in Hospitality Management and an MS in Hotel Administration. Glion Institute of Higher Education offers a Master’s in Luxury Management and Guest Experience.
For culinary arts, there are many diploma and executive education programmes that focus on cuisine or pastry or offer both together. You could also opt for specific courses as well. These programmes are great for career switchers or people who have realised their love for food at a later stage.
Are there any internships or practical experience opportunities?
Most courses will offer hands-on experience either through practical work or internships during the programme. Practical immersion in hospitality management programmes can take the form of food gastronomy, fine wine, housekeeping, cocktail making and banqueting, among others.
In culinary arts, these experiences can be at restaurants, hotel kitchens or bakeries in various roles. For example, you could be shadowing a manager/supervisor or have the opportunity to immerse yourself into a supervisory/managerial role or spend hours in the kitchen working on perfecting recipes. Shorter programmes may not include real-world experience as part of the curriculum, however, they may help with placements after the course.
Can I major or specialise in a particular field?
Most culinary arts programmes will not let you specialise in one subdivision however, most hospitality management programmes do allow you to choose a specialisation. This can include hospitality entrepreneurship, digital marketing strategies, hotel financial performance management, luxury brand management, event management and resort development and management, among others. Usually, the decision to choose a specialisation can only be made in your last term.
At the master’s level, the programmes are usually already broken down into specialisations. During your studies, you may have the option of choosing from a set of electives, however, you won’t be able to specialise in a particular area outside of your degree.
What is the application process like?
Undergraduate hospitality management and culinary arts colleges have the same admissions cycle like most other overseas institutions. Depending on the institution and country you choose to study in, you might need to start your application in grade 11 or even in grade 12. Apart from your marks in grades 9-12, you may need to take a language proficiency test in the language of instruction. The most important element for your undergraduate application is demonstrating your passion. This does not mean you need to learn hundreds of recipes or know the difference between every wine varietals. It means that your interview and essays should demonstrate your ability to take initiative, overcome failure, act on feedback, grow through experiences and most importantly adopt a global mindset. If you have undertaken any extracurricular activities in a related field, these will help your application. Most colleges do not have any subject prerequisites.
Master’s programmes also follow similar admissions requirements. You must have a bachelor’s degree in any field, however, a related field is preferred. Work experience is valued but not required. Language tests may be required and during your interviews and in your essays, you need to demonstrate your passion and enthusiasm for hospitality management or culinary arts.
Diploma and certificate courses each have individual requirements which may or may not include any additional requirements besides an application form.
What happens if you are vegetarian or have dietary needs or allergies?
Whether it’s practical learning or personal dining, all hospitality management or culinary arts programmes will respect your dietary choices and preferences. In practical learning, if a student is vegetarian/vegan and is not comfortable cooking non-vegetarian food they will not be forced; they will be assigned other tasks which they are more comfortable carrying out. However, if a student wants to pursue culinary arts, they will have to spend approximately 1000 hours per semester dealing with cuisines from all over the world, whose cornerstone may include non-vegetarian. It is better to email your programme and share your individual requirements before applying.
What are your career options post-study?
With an undergraduate or master’s degree, there are a vast number of careers available to you. Some of them are the more obvious and popular options such as F&B brand manager, sous chef, hotel and restaurant managers, events manager, airline management, travel agents and tourist ministers among others. However, some unique career options include luxury brand management, retail managers, real estate managers, marketing executives and more.
If you are planning on applying for hospitality management or culinary arts in Australia, get in touch with us.