Food service programs vary greatly in quality. Here are some things you should look for in a food service program that stands out from its peers.
A Robust Curriculum
There are a few standard topics that are covered in every food service program. You'll need to learn about food safety guidelines and safe food handling. Food preparation techniques can also be a big part of the curriculum. You may learn about new software that's used in the food service industry. Sometimes, basic customer service skills are taught. Some schools go above and beyond to offer specialty topics, such as specialized baking courses or even business applications for your skills. Find a program that gives you a lot of leeway in studying the topics that interest you, while also giving you a good foundation in the skills that matter most.
A Mix of Online and In-Person Materials
Both online and in-person materials can help to round out your learning experience. The in-person sessions are very important for allowing you to see the skills being demonstrated live. Your instructors will have a better chance to critique your work in the in-person sessions than they would from a distance. But online course materials have their place, as well. They allow you to process the material at your own pace to make sure that your knowledge has solidified. And if you want to go back to review materials or if you miss a class session, having course material online is invaluable for catching up.
Many food service programs offer you internship options, either during or directly after your food service program. It's one thing to learn the skills necessary to do professional work, but it's another thing to successfully apply them in a busy restaurant setting. An internship offers a little more than getting a job right out of the program because your school has the chance to vet employers who will be welcoming and understanding of your freshly minted skill set. It can also be daunting to find a job right out of school, so internships can take the legwork out of it and get you in the kitchen right away.
Finding the right food service program can be a challenge, but there are many resources online and through the schools themselves to help you evaluate what each school offers. When you're in doubt about how to choose, it helps to make a list of requirements and must-haves, and then contact a school representative for more details.