In the early days of man as a cave dweller, fire was discovered and ever since, cooked food has been popular. Over a period of time, culinary skills developed into a body of knowledge such that today, it is both a science and an intricate art. Culinary arts, as it is otherwise known, involves cooking different types of food, either for consumption by the person making it or for service to other people. The food industry is one of the fastest growing ones in the U.S. and employs the most number of people, next to government service. It is an ever-changing industry that is challenging and demanding. Career opportunities in this field are available in restaurants, hotels, on board ships and at resorts. This competitive industry offers various choices to pursue if one is passionate about food.
Chef, caterer, pastry chef and restaurant cook are some of the most familiar options, amongst the many jobs available for someone who specializes in the culinary arts. There are also management positions such as executive chef, food and beverage manager, sales director and housekeeper.
The salaries of chefs and cooks vary greatly according to the region and type of establishment. Wages are usually the highest in elegant restaurants and hotels, in major metropolitan areas, where many chefs are employed to head the food production of each type of cuisine. Culinary arts professionals who decide to work outside of big cities could earn between $8-$14 an hour. On the other hand, a line cook in San Francisco can earn $10 to $22 per hour. A chef in a fine dining restaurant or hotel can earn in excess of $100,000 per year.
According to the U.S. department of Labor and Statistics, 2002, Chefs and Head Cooks had an hourly salary ranging from of $7.66 to $25.86, restaurant cooks from $6.58 to $13.21, institution and cafeteria workers from $6.10 to $13.34 and fast-food cooks from $5.68 to $9.13.
Culinary art is a field highly in demand because it is considered as highly fulfilling in terms of job satisfaction and professionals in the field are well rewarded. Typically, as in any other industry, the salary levels increased with educational qualifications, experience and career advancement.