What is a Culinary Management Degree?

A Culinary Management degree is an academic program that combines culinary arts training with business and management principles. This degree program prepares students for careers in the culinary industry, with a focus on culinary arts, kitchen operations, and food service management. It equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed as chefs, culinary managers, or food service entrepreneurs.

Here are some key aspects of a Culinary Management degree program:

  • Culinary Arts Training: Students receive hands-on training in culinary techniques, food preparation, and kitchen operations. They learn cooking methods, knife skills, food safety practices, and menu planning techniques from experienced chefs and culinary instructors.
  • Food and Beverage Management: The curriculum covers principles of food and beverage management, including menu development, cost control, inventory management, and purchasing. Students learn to analyze food costs, set menu prices, and manage food production processes to maximize profitability.
  • Hospitality Management: Students gain an understanding of hospitality industry trends, customer service principles, and guest relations. They learn how to create memorable dining experiences, exceed customer expectations, and build customer loyalty in the hospitality sector.
  • Business and Entrepreneurship: The program includes coursework in business management, entrepreneurship, and marketing. Students learn about business planning, financial management, marketing strategies, and legal considerations for starting and operating a culinary business.
  • Restaurant Operations: Students study restaurant operations management, including front-of-house and back-of-house operations. They learn about dining room management, table service techniques, kitchen layout and design, and workflow optimization to ensure efficient restaurant operations.
  • Event Management: Some Culinary Management programs include coursework in event management and catering. Students learn to plan, organize, and execute events such as weddings, banquets, and corporate functions, including menu selection, event logistics, and customer service.
  • Culinary Entrepreneurship: Students explore opportunities for culinary entrepreneurship, including food truck operations, catering businesses, pop-up restaurants, and artisanal food production. They learn to develop business plans, identify target markets, and launch culinary ventures.
  • Nutrition and Dietary Considerations: The curriculum may include coursework in nutrition, dietary considerations, and special diets. Students learn about nutrition guidelines, food allergies, dietary restrictions, and the role of nutrition in culinary arts and food service management.
  • Sustainability and Food Ethics: Some programs address sustainability issues in the culinary industry, including sourcing local and organic ingredients, reducing food waste, and promoting ethical food practices. Students learn about sustainable food systems and environmentally responsible culinary practices.
  • Leadership and Management Skills: Students develop leadership and management skills necessary for supervising kitchen staff, managing culinary teams, and overseeing food service operations. They learn to communicate effectively, delegate tasks, and motivate team members to achieve culinary excellence.
  • Culinary Trends and Innovation: Students stay current with culinary trends, innovations, and industry developments. They explore emerging food trends, culinary technologies, and international cuisines to stay competitive in the dynamic culinary landscape.
  • Internships and Experiential Learning: Many Culinary Management programs offer internships, externships, or cooperative education experiences in professional kitchens, restaurants, hotels, or culinary businesses. Students gain real-world experience, apply classroom learning in a practical setting, and build industry connections.

Program Options

Program options for a Culinary Management degree may vary depending on the institution offering the program and its specific focus areas. However, here are some common program options you might encounter:

  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Culinary Management: An associate degree program that provides a comprehensive curriculum in culinary arts, kitchen management, and food service operations. Students gain hands-on experience in culinary techniques, menu planning, and restaurant management.
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Culinary Management: A bachelor’s degree program that combines culinary arts training with business management principles. Students learn culinary techniques, kitchen operations, and food service management skills, along with coursework in business, marketing, and entrepreneurship.
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Culinary Management: Some universities offer B.A. programs in Culinary Management with a liberal arts focus, integrating culinary arts training with humanities, social sciences, and communication skills. These programs provide a well-rounded education while preparing students for careers in culinary management.
  • Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Culinary Management: BBA programs with a concentration or specialization in Culinary Management combine core business coursework with specialized culinary arts and food service management courses. Students learn about business principles, financial management, and marketing strategies tailored to the culinary industry.
  • Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management with a Concentration in Culinary Management: Some hospitality management programs offer concentrations or tracks in Culinary Management. These programs provide a broad foundation in hospitality management principles, with specialized coursework in culinary arts, kitchen operations, and food service management.
  • Certificate Programs in Culinary Management: In addition to degree programs, some institutions offer certificate programs in Culinary Management. These programs provide focused training on culinary arts, kitchen management, and food service operations for individuals seeking to enter the culinary industry or advance their careers.
  • Diploma Programs in Culinary Management: Diploma programs offer shorter-term training in culinary arts and management skills. These programs provide intensive hands-on training in culinary techniques, kitchen operations, and food service management for individuals seeking entry-level positions in the culinary industry.
  • Online and Executive Education Programs: Many universities offer online or executive education programs in Culinary Management designed for working professionals or individuals seeking flexible learning options. These programs may include online courses, workshops, or seminars covering key topics in culinary arts, kitchen management, and food service operations.

Skills You’ll Learn

In a Culinary Management degree program, students develop a diverse set of skills that blend culinary arts expertise with business management acumen. Here are some key skills you can expect to learn:

  • Culinary Techniques: Master fundamental and advanced culinary techniques, including knife skills, cooking methods (e.g., sautéing, roasting, braising), and food preparation techniques (e.g., butchery, baking, pastry-making). Develop proficiency in creating a wide range of dishes and cuisines.
  • Menu Planning and Development: Learn to create balanced and appealing menus that cater to diverse tastes and dietary preferences. Develop skills in menu design, recipe development, and food costing to create profitable and innovative menu offerings.
  • Food Safety and Sanitation: Understand food safety principles and regulations to maintain a clean and sanitary kitchen environment. Learn proper food handling, storage, and sanitation practices to prevent foodborne illnesses and ensure compliance with health and safety standards.
  • Kitchen Management: Acquire skills in managing kitchen operations, including staffing, scheduling, inventory management, and workflow optimization. Learn to coordinate kitchen activities, delegate tasks effectively, and maintain efficiency and productivity in a fast-paced culinary environment.
  • Restaurant Management: Gain an understanding of restaurant operations, including front-of-house and back-of-house functions. Develop skills in dining room management, table service techniques, guest relations, and customer service to create exceptional dining experiences.
  • Cost Control and Budgeting: Learn to manage food costs, labor costs, and other operational expenses to maximize profitability in food service operations. Develop skills in budgeting, cost analysis, and financial management to ensure efficient use of resources.
  • Hospitality and Guest Relations: Develop strong interpersonal skills and customer service abilities to interact with guests, address their needs, and exceed their expectations. Learn to create welcoming and hospitable environments that enhance the dining experience.
  • Marketing and Promotion: Understand marketing principles and strategies to promote culinary offerings and attract customers. Learn about branding, advertising, social media marketing, and promotional tactics to drive traffic and increase sales in culinary establishments.
  • Leadership and Team Management: Develop leadership skills to motivate and inspire culinary teams, foster teamwork, and cultivate a positive work culture. Learn to provide guidance, feedback, and support to kitchen staff to maximize their potential and performance.
  • Event Planning and Catering: Acquire skills in planning, organizing, and executing events such as weddings, banquets, and corporate functions. Learn to coordinate catering services, manage event logistics, and ensure seamless execution of events to meet client expectations.
  • Business Management: Understand business management principles relevant to the culinary industry, including entrepreneurship, strategic planning, financial management, and legal considerations. Develop skills in business planning, market analysis, and risk management to succeed as a culinary entrepreneur or manager.
  • Problem-Solving and Adaptability: Develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills to address challenges and overcome obstacles in culinary operations. Learn to adapt to changing circumstances, handle pressure, and make informed decisions in dynamic culinary environments.

What Can You Do with a Culinary Management Degree?

With a Culinary Management degree, you can pursue various career paths in the culinary industry, combining culinary arts expertise with business management skills. Here are some potential career options for individuals with a Culinary Management degree:

  • Chef: As a chef, you’ll oversee kitchen operations, including menu planning, food preparation, and staff management. You’ll create culinary masterpieces, develop innovative dishes, and ensure high-quality dining experiences for guests in restaurants, hotels, resorts, or catering companies.
  • Restaurant Manager: In this role, you’ll oversee all aspects of restaurant operations, including front-of-house and back-of-house functions. You’ll manage staff, coordinate dining room activities, handle customer inquiries and complaints, and ensure smooth and efficient restaurant operations.
  • Catering Manager: As a catering manager, you’ll plan and coordinate catering services for events such as weddings, corporate functions, and social gatherings. You’ll work with clients to customize menus, organize logistics, manage staff, and ensure the successful execution of catering events.
  • Food and Beverage Director: In this leadership role, you’ll oversee the food and beverage operations of hospitality establishments such as hotels, resorts, or event venues. You’ll develop menus, set pricing strategies, manage inventory, and ensure exceptional dining experiences for guests.
  • Food Service Director: As a food service director, you’ll manage food service operations in institutional settings such as schools, hospitals, or corporate cafeterias. You’ll oversee menu planning, procurement, production, and service delivery while ensuring compliance with nutrition standards and regulatory requirements.
  • Entrepreneur: With entrepreneurial spirit, you can start your own culinary business, such as a restaurant, catering company, food truck, bakery, or specialty food shop. You’ll be responsible for business planning, marketing, operations management, and customer service to build and grow your culinary venture.
  • Hospitality Manager: In this role, you’ll oversee hospitality operations in hotels, resorts, or hospitality venues, with a focus on culinary offerings. You’ll manage guest services, dining facilities, and food and beverage outlets to create memorable guest experiences and drive guest satisfaction.
  • Event Planner: With expertise in event management and catering, you can pursue roles as an event planner or coordinator, organizing and executing a wide range of events such as weddings, parties, conferences, and festivals. You’ll work with clients to plan menus, select vendors, and manage event logistics to ensure successful outcomes.
  • Food Writer or Blogger: Utilize your culinary knowledge and management skills to pursue a career in food writing, blogging, or culinary journalism. You’ll write about food trends, restaurant reviews, culinary experiences, and industry insights for publications, websites, or social media platforms.
  • Culinary Instructor or Educator: Share your passion for cooking and culinary arts by teaching aspiring chefs and culinary enthusiasts. You can work as a culinary instructor in culinary schools, vocational training programs, community colleges, or cooking academies, providing hands-on training and culinary education.
  • Food Stylist or Photographer: Combine your culinary expertise with artistic skills to work as a food stylist or photographer, creating visually appealing food presentations for advertisements, cookbooks, magazines, or food-related media productions.
  • Food Product Developer: With a background in culinary management, you can work in food product development, creating and testing new food products, recipes, and menu concepts for food manufacturers, restaurant chains, or culinary brands.


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