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Career and Education Opportunities for Chefs in Columbia, Maryland

Chefs can find many career and educational opportunities in the Columbia, Maryland area. There are currently 2,780 working chefs in Maryland; this should grow 14% to 3,170 working chefs in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for chefs are expected to grow by about 0.2%. In general, chefs direct the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, or other foods.

Chefs earn about $20 hourly or $42,490 per year on average in Maryland and about $18 per hour or $38,770 annually on average nationally. Incomes for chefs are better than in the overall category of Cooking in Maryland, and better than the overall Cooking category nationally. Jobs in this field include: cooking chef, menu planner, and school cafeteria head cook.

There are six schools within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can study to be a chef, among 109 schools of higher education total in the Columbia area. Chefs usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so it will take only a short time to learn to be a chef if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Chef

Chef video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, chefs direct the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, or other foods. They also may plan and price menu items, order supplies, and keep records and accounts.

Chefs order or requisition food and other supplies needed to insure efficient operation. They also instruct cooks and other staff in the preparation and presentation of food. Equally important, chefs have to check the quantity and quality of received products. They are often called upon to check the quality of raw and cooked food products to insure that standards are met. They are expected to inspect supplies and work areas to insure conformance to established standards. Finally, chefs monitor sanitation practices to insure that employees follow standards and regulations.

Every day, chefs are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for chefs to analyze recipes to assign prices to menu items, on the basis of food and overhead costs. They are often called upon to meet with sales representatives so as to negotiate prices and order supplies. They also manage equipment purchases and repairs. They are sometimes expected to recruit and hire staff, including cooks and other kitchen staff. Somewhat less frequently, chefs are also expected to formulate and supervise the food preparation and cooking efforts of multiple kitchens or restaurants in an establishment such as a restaurant chain or hotel.

Chefs sometimes are asked to record production and operational data on specified forms. and meet with patrons to consider menus for special occasions such as weddings and banquets. And finally, they sometimes have to supervise and direct efforts of cooks and staff working on food preparation.

Like many other jobs, chefs must be reliable and be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Food and Beverage Supervisor. Supervise workers engaged in preparing and serving food.
  • Institutional Cook. Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.
  • Personal Chef. Prepare meals in private homes.
  • Restaurant Chef. Prepare, season, and cook soups, meats, or other foodstuffs in restaurants. May order supplies, keep records and accounts, price items on menu, or plan menu.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Chef Training

Stratford University - Falls Church, VA

Stratford University, 7777 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043-2403. Stratford University is a small university located in Falls Church, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,644 students. Stratford University has 2 areas of study related to Chef. They are:

  • Cooking and Related Culinary Arts, associate's degree which graduated 59 students in 2008.
  • Culinary Arts/Chef Training, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated two and eight students respectively in 2008.

L'Academie de Cuisine - Gaithersburg, MD

L'Academie de Cuisine, 16006 Industrial Dr, Gaithersburg, MD 20877-1414. L'Academie de Cuisine is a small school located in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 53 students and an admission rate of 83%. L'Academie de Cuisine has 2 areas of study related to Chef. They are:

  • Baking and Pastry Arts/Baker/Pastry Chef, two to four year which graduated 39 students in 2008.
  • Culinary Arts/Chef Training, two to four year which graduated 74 students in 2008.

Baltimore City Community College - Baltimore, MD

Baltimore City Community College, 2901 Liberty Hts Ave, Baltimore, MD 21215-7893. Baltimore City Community College is a medium sized college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,884 students. Baltimore City Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Culinary Arts/Chef Training which graduated eight and three students respectively in 2008.

Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale, VA

Northern Virginia Community College, 4001 Wakefield Chapel Rd, Annandale, VA 22003-3796. Northern Virginia Community College is a large college located in Annandale, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,870 students. Northern Virginia Community College has a one to two year program in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts which graduated five students in 2008.

The Art Institute of Washington - Arlington, VA

The Art Institute of Washington, 1820 N Fort Myer Dr, Arlington, VA 22209-1802. The Art Institute of Washington is a small school located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,871 students and an admission rate of 56%. The Art Institute of Washington has 2 areas of study related to Chef. They are:

  • Baking and Pastry Arts/Baker/Pastry Chef, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated two and four students respectively in 2008.
  • Culinary Arts/Chef Training, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated thirteen and twenty-three students respectively in 2008.

Baltimore International College - Baltimore, MD

Baltimore International College, 17 Commerce Street, Commerce Exchange, Baltimore, MD 21202-3230. Baltimore International College is a small college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 500 students. Baltimore International College has 2 areas of study related to Chef. They are:

  • Baking and Pastry Arts/Baker/Pastry Chef, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated zero and seventeen students respectively in 2008.
  • Culinary Arts/Chef Training, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated eleven and seventy-three students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Correctional Foodservice Professional: A key purpose of the Certified Correctional Foodservice Professional certification is to develop the highest standards in.

For more information, see the American Correctional Food Service Association website.

Preventing Disease Transmission: A two-hour training module for employers and employees who, while on the job, may be exposed to blood or other body fluids that could cause infection.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.

Quality Coffee Certification Program: The purpose of QCCP is to provide operators with sales tools and knowledge that will help them begin or enhance their own quality coffee program for their customers.

For more information, see the National Automatic Merchandising Association website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.