Culinary Arts 2: Baking, Pastry, and More!

Kitchen Associates - Unidades del curso Sous Chef Career Pathway

Unit 1: The Basics of Baking

Although there are many specialties in the culinary arts, baking is among the most popular and versatile. Building a career in this field requires knowing some kitchen basics, including having a working knowledge of baking. After all, not only is baking the key to many delicious dishes, but it is also a great way to learn important skills such as how to measure properly, convert recipes, and maintain equipment. And once you’ve got these skills under your belt, you’ll be ready to delve into the wonders of baking!

Unit 2: Bread

Walk into your local bakery or the bakery section of your local supermarket and you will find many different kinds of bread. Some will be dark while others are light and fluffy. Others will be made of multiple grains or have a thick crust. But what creates these differences? And what makes them all bread? It all comes down to the ingredients, from the type of flour used to the amount of butter in the batter. We’ll explore the elements of bread and the chemistry that happens when they come together. Whether a time-consuming yeast bread or a basic quick bread, there is a lot to learn about this bakery staple!

Unit 3: Pies & Pastries

When you think about dessert, what comes to mind? Freshly baked pies? Fancy French pastries? Crisp cookies with gooey centers? A talented baker can make any of these with ease. Like bread, these desserts are all about the dough. They represent other ways in which bakery staples like flour, butter, eggs, and sugar can be arranged. But these baked goods are not just for dessert; there are plenty of meat-filled pies and pastries that make a hearty meal. Pies and pastries are great vehicles for fillings, particularly fruit and creams. Cookies can also take on many different flavors and textures, making them a diverse dessert category of their own. There are a lot of possibilities for dessert when baking!

Unit 4: Cake

Are you one of those people who thinks that cake is all about the frosting? Or are you the one eating your cake plain, fresh out of the pan? Or is a festive cupcake your go-to snack? When it comes to cake, there are a lot of choices and preferences. Whether it is making that perfect, moist, cake or creating a filling that takes the cake to the next level, a lot of ingredients go into making the perfect cake. From the basics of batter to the icing on the cake, we’ll explore them all. With so many flavors and ways to combine them, it’s no wonder there is a cake for every occasion!

Unit 5: Desserts

There is more to dessert than baked goods! Whether they are the star of the show or an important accent, knowing how to make dessert basics like custards and ice cream is an important part of any chef’s repertoire. Similarly, a working knowledge of chocolate in its various forms prepares you to make any number of tasty treats. Dessert elements like chocolate and caramel need a skilled touch because the chemical processes that give them the right taste and texture are easily derailed. But with a little practice, you’ll be on the path to making and presenting your desserts like professionals do!

Unit 6: Building a Career Around Dessert

Have you ever wondered how celebrity chefs got their start? Today, they play an important role in shaping the American culinary landscape. This has been true for decades and their innovations still define what is served everywhere from elite restaurants in Europe to your corner bakery. But shifts in the culinary world come from many places and identifying trends can be a great way to build a business, particularly in the baking and pastry arts. Having a trendy product is not enough though – it also takes a lot of business savviness. And, for those who do not necessarily want all the risks that come with owning a business, there are plenty of other career paths as well!

Unit 7: Nutrition in the Kitchen

How healthy is the food on your plate? For culinary arts professionals, that’s an important question! Nutrition comes from food, but how you store and prepare it has a lot to do with how healthy it is. Preparing healthy meals also requires knowing what good nutrition should be and how to adjust dishes to maximize the benefits. With some simple adjustments, even those with restricted diets can enjoy the full range of foods. When health meets flavor, it’s a winning combination!

Unit 8: Farm-to-Table and Sustainability

Have you ever wondered exactly where your food comes from? Most of us have a general sense that food comes from farms, but where exactly are these farms? What kinds of techniques do they use to grow their crops? How do these techniques impact the environment? A career in the culinary arts will require considering these kinds of questions. Fortunately, there is a lot that culinary arts professionals can do to be mindful of the environment and good global citizens.

Unit 9: Working with Proteins

What’s the difference between a skirt steak and a ribeye? Is the dark meat really the best part of the chicken? What is a fish fillet, anyway? With some basic understanding of animal proteins, these become easy questions to answer. But getting it right is not just about the cut. It also requires knowing the right way to prepare it. Some meats need to be slow cooked and seasoned to shine on the plate. Others require a short time over dry heat to bring out their best. Once you have the basic cuts of meat and seafood down, it becomes pretty simple to know which to choose and how to prepare it to get it just right.

Unit 10: Global Perspectives

Are you one of those people that can’t stand mushrooms? Or does the smell of onions make you turn away? A lot of what we eat comes down to taste, but there is a lot more to it than what we put in our mouths! It engages all of the senses. But taste also comes from culture, and we grow up liking the flavors around us. Cooking techniques also vary among cultures, offering another level of variety to flavors. Innovative chefs are always looking for new ideas and techniques, and there are plenty to try. As a nation of immigrants, the United States has a lot of flavors to offer!

Unit 11: Catering & Running a Kitchen

How does a restaurant know how much to charge for a dish? Which costs can be adjusted when times are slow? What sets a restaurant apart from its competition? These are just a few of the questions that those in culinary arts need to answer to run a successful business. Understanding the rules of pricing, whether in restaurants or catering, makes sure that the costs are covered. Once you’ve got the menu down, marketing helps you reach potential customers and tell them what to expect. By being professional, you can ensure that the customers keep coming back!

Unit 12: Kitchen Safety

When you work in the culinary arts, you have people’s health in your hands. This is why it is so important to keep the workplace safe. Everything from storing food properly to putting it away before bacteria forms is part of being a good employee. While there is a bit to learn about food handling, picking up these basic skills is not just good for customers. It also keeps the staff of the restaurant safe and healthy, and that is good for business! Whether it is education about appropriate practices or exchanging information about the business, communication is key when building a career in the culinary arts.