What's Your Major Malfunction?

One question asked quite frequently is how to determine what major is right for you. Many students today have a hard time determining whether culinary or baking and pastry arts is right for them. After my three years at Johnson and Wales, along with talking to many students as to why they chose their major or even why they switched, I have come up with a few factors to think about when deciding.

The first question to ask is simply: What major is more appealing to you? If you feel strongly about one or the other than there is your answer. This is a career that is all about passion, so following what feels like the best choice will most likely be the right choice.

If Culinary Arts Is Your Specialty
Do you like being able to just mix flavors? Do you like working more on the fly? Do you work best in a very hot, stressful, and fast-paced environment? Do you like how adding one flavor over another can change the whole dish?

When you cook, you can create a dish solely based on the tastes of the ingredients and not the process of mixing or heating. If the flavor of the dish is off a bit or needs something, you can easily add more salt or more cream to perfect the dish, whereas in baking this is not possible.

Culinary professionals work in a very fast paced environment and need to be able to work under pressure. If you can handle burning your hands while working on 6 dishes, having your chef scream in your ear, and all the while turning out some amazing tasting food, then culinary arts is your avenue.

If Baking and Pastry Is Your Passion
Are you good at math and science? Do you like the structure of both subjects? Do you love the perfection of one amazing tasting ingredient, like great chocolate or a ripe strawberry? Are you very creative and artistic and committed to seeing a project through from beginning to end?

When you bake, you need to have perfect math and science or your product will not turn out correct. Some recipes leave room for tinkering, but for the most part if you do not follow a formula exactly, your product will not bake properly.

You need to have the artistic skill to pipe chocolate onto a cake, braid bread into challah, and stop cooking the caramel just at the right moment for perfect candy. When you work as a baker, you are responsible for starting a project from scratch and working on it all the way until you artfully place it on a plate,whereas chefs may only work on a part of the finished plate.

Where Do You Want to Work?
Another factor to think about before making a decision is that all-important question: What do you want to do with your life? If working late hours every night and on the weekends isn’t your cup of tea than culinary arts may not be the right avenue. If you are a morning person who likes to have the rest of your day to do what you want, then working in a bakery may be perfect for you.

Before you make any decision, you should do you research and discover which avenue would be right for you. While you may have thought at first that one path was what you want, you may realise that you fit better in the other.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            4 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            4 Program(s) Found
            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
            • Has student housing available.
            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
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            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            3 Program(s) Found
            • Has been training students in the culinary arts since 1946.
            • Teaches hands-on culinary training in French, Asian, Mediterranean, Latin and American cooking, along with professional baking and pastry techniques.
            • Helps students gain professional skills in culinary management.
            • Offers an Italian Culinary Arts program where students get to externship in Italy.
            • Its instructors are respected chefs who put their dedication and life experiences into their instruction.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            2 Program(s) Found
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits