Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kitchen Management Courses Help to Launch a Hospitality Career

“The key skills we learn are sanitation, for one — always being clean and making sure there’s no chance that anything can be contaminated,” says Keith Ali of the hospitality program at Centennial College called Hospitality Operations – Kitchen Management. “Also, customer service — always put your customers first and know that they’re happy with their meals and they get what they paid for. [One day a week], we come in and we usually have to run the kitchen on our own. We get graded on how well we run the kitchen.”

While Keith offers great insight into this undertaking from a student’s perspective, let’s take a closer look at some of the details. First and foremost, this hospitality program takes one year to complete and results in an Ontario College Certificate, and the Smart Serve program and the National Sanitation Training certificates. To attend its Kitchen Management Courses, applicants must have completed at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. Students must also have attended the compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment or equivalent. It should be noted that possession of minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the hospitality program.

This hospitality program and its kitchen management courses are designed to offer students a range of hands-on kitchen experience as well as business practices in accounting, human resources and supervision. Within their hospitality courses, students learn skills such as sanitation, hygiene and safety as well as quantity food preparation, practical supervision of food production, customer service, human resources and career planning, hospitality accounting, practical math, purchasing for the commercial kitchen and many others.

Meanwhile, hands-on practice in the school’s on-campus living lab-restaurant called Horizons allows students to interact with real diners and customers. This practice prepares students for their last semester Hospitality Program field placement. This opportunity provides meaningful work experience in approved jobs within the food service industry, enabling students to relate classroom theory to the practical world, while adding another educational dimension to their career preparation. Field placement enables learners to better understand the dynamics of the industry, increase their knowledge of industry practices and provides a competitive advantage of experience in the job market.

Students who have attended Centennial College’s kitchen management courses and hospitality courses have two options. First, they have the opportunity to stream into the second year of Centennial’s two-year Food and Beverage Management program. This further study will provide them with different opportunities and more knowledge. Secondly, they may enter the hospitality operations field as food operations managers — a position that sees them planning, organizing and directing a varied staff of food service personnel in a many types of food service operations, including catering and banquet, restaurants or specialty snack food service. Specific duties include: planning work programs, staffing for cash food service, interviewing and hiring employees, training employees, reviewing inventory, requesting and purchasing food supplies, planning menus and price points, supervising operations, observing quality of service and other such daily tasks.

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