Why a Culinary Certificate is Not Just a Piece of Paper

If you’ve ever made the joke, “I paid $50,000 for a 10¢ piece of paper,” you may be a college graduate. While we can all chuckle at this statement made in jest, unfortunately, too many seasoned professionals believe it to be true after realizing the degree they’ve invested so much time, effort, and resources earning means nothing when switching careers.

So, how is a culinary certificate a different kind of investment than your average college degree?

A culinary certificate represents the skills you know.

If you’re thinking, “Well, a certificate is still just a piece of paper,” we’ll agree with you, because in the culinary industry, it’s not what you have, it’s what you know. A culinary certificate tells employers what you know: how to cook the finest cuisine and how to manage a food business.

In the UT Culinary & Catering Program, you’ll learn how to be a chef and everything in between, so when you land your first interview, you’ll land the job too after demonstrating the skills you’ve mastered.

FAQ: What Will I Learn in 12 Weeks at the UT Culinary & Catering Program?

A culinary certificate gives you an edge when applying for that job you want.

Chances are you’ve been around the block when it comes to applying for jobs. Wondering how you’ll stack up against the competition can be stressful if you’re not confident you meet all of the position’s requirements. When applying for kitchen employment, whether it be in a restaurant or a catering business, a culinary certificate will give you an edge that many applicants will not have.

While you’re working toward your culinary certification, the UT Culinary & Catering Program will also provide additional support to any student interested in becoming certified through the American Culinary Federation (ACF). Several of our past students have taken advantage of this great opportunity and have attributed their ACF certifications to broadening their horizons. Tara Garland shared with us how her ACF certification helped get her foot in the door at the Nashville Omni Hotel shortly after graduation.

“Do it! Go the extra mile and do it. You won’t regret it. Getting my ACF certification was one of the most incredible things I’ve done to this date.

I 100% believe my ACF certification has helped me get into the door at the Nashville Omni Hotel. The networking within the ACF is amazing and my certification provides me with the extra validation I needed to be taken seriously right out of school, especially being young and a female.” – Tara Garland

Curious about what life as a Culinary & Catering student is like? Read Tara’s answers to some of your burning questions.

A culinary certificate prepares you for the demands of that job when you get it.

In most industries, new hires experience a significant learning curve when starting a new job. In the culinary industry, “new” hires may be new to the company, but most are not new to the kitchen (which is probably why they were hired in the first place).

If you’ve never worked in a professional kitchen before, a culinary certificate will help you avoid the “need experience to get experience” catch-22, because in earning your culinary certificate, you already have the hands-on know-how employers look for in a capable chef and food business manager. When you experience lunch rush on your first day, you won’t be caught by surprise; you’ll stay cool as a cucumber and work through the tickets like you’ve done so many times in our program.

Want to learn more about how earning a culinary certificate will help you discover a career you love?

We host free information sessions throughout the year, so you can choose a path that satisfies your needs at a time that’s right for you. Save your seat by filling out a registration form online or by contacting Pam Quick at quickp@utk.edu or 865-974-3181.