Food Service Occupations

Training and Certification

The traditional way of advancing in the hospitality industry was to get an entry-level position and then work your way up to more skilled positions almost solely based on your work experience and learning from others. Today, formal training at a college or trade school is often needed if you are to advance in your chosen career, particularly if you wish to advance into supervisory or management positions. This training might be a post-secondary certificates, degree, or diploma; apprenticeship training; and industry certifications.

In any case, the industry still tends to promote people from within, and even with formal training, most people will start in entry-level positions and then work their way into positions with higher levels of responsibility over time. Advancement in the industry follows a logical series of progressive steps as you gain more experience, which is often referred to as the career ladder (Figure 1).

Career ladder shows the progression within the kitchen. Dishwasher, Prep cook/kitchen helper, Cook, Chef, Restaurant Owner
Figure 1 Typical career ladder for the kitchen. Image used with permission of go2HR.

Post-Secondary Training

Many public and private colleges and trade schools, and also some high schools, offer training in the industry for both the culinary professionals and those looking for training in front of house occupations like bartending or wine service and hospitality management. Most post-secondary programs group training into certificates, diplomas, and degrees, based on the number of courses and length of time it takes to complete. Many of these programs also ladder into other training such as apprenticeship or industry certifications.

Apprenticeship Training

Apprenticeship is a system of training that has been around for hundreds of years. Before there were trade schools and colleges, if someone wanted to learn a trade that person would seek out an experienced tradesperson (called a journeyperson or master, depending on the level of experience) and learn the trade by working with the tradesperson until he or she had developed enough skill to perform the job alone. This system has evolved to include formal training at a college or trade school, but still has two main components: practical training (practising techniques and procedures while producing products) and technical training (learning new skills). Practical training is achieved on the job, supervised by a certified journeyperson, and technical training is delivered by accredited institutions.

In British Columbia, all apprenticeship and trades training falls under the authority of the Industry Training Authority (ITA). For a full list of ITA programs and certifications, visit the ITA website at www.itabc.ca.

For trades that are offered in multiple provinces, the national Red Seal program is available, which is a national endorsement that is added to provincial qualifications upon the successful completion of the interprovincial Red Seal exam. There are 57 Red Seal trades in Canada, including Cook and Baker in the food service industry. For more information on the Red Seal programs, visit www.red-seal.ca.

In British Columbia, there are three levels of certification available through apprenticeship, as shown in Figure 2.

 

Professional Cook 1: Workplace Skills: Professionalism - personal hygiene, organization, teamwork and communication Workplace and food safety Use of tools and equipment Knife skills / common cuts Trimming and portioning meat, poultry, and seafood Trade math - following and adjusting recipes Basic terminology and nutrition Applying basic cooking and baking techniques Receiving and storage procedures Products you can make from scratch: Basic stocks, soups and sauces Common vegetables and fruits Basic potato, rice, and pasta dishes Basic meat, poultry and seafood dishes Salads, salad dressings, and sandwiches Eggs and breakfast items Basic pies and tarts, and cookies Fruit desserts and custards Basic quick and yeast breads Coffee and tea products, Professional Cook 2: Workplace Skills: Professionalism - personal hygiene, organization, teamwork and communication Workplace and food safety Use of tools and equipment Knife skills / common cuts Deboning and portioning meat, poultry, and seafood Following and adjusting recipes Basic terminology and nutrition Basic cooking and baking techniques Receiving, storage and inventory procedures Preparing food for allergies and special diets Volume and banquet cooking Basic cost calculations Basic menu planning Products you can make from scratch: A wide range of stocks, soups and sauces Common vegetables and fruits A wide range of potato, rice, and pasta dishes A wide range of meat, poultry and seafood dishes A wide range of salads, salad dressings, and sandwiches Hors d’oeuvre and appetizers Eggs and breakfast items Basic pies, tarts, and cookies Fruit desserts and custards Basic pastries, cakes and cheesecakes Basic quick and yeast breads Presentation platters Coffee and tea products Professional Cook 3: Workplace Skills: Professionalism - personal hygiene, organization, teamwork and communication Workplace and food safety Use of tools and equipment Knife skills / common cuts Deboning and portioning meat, poultry, and seafood Following and adjusting recipes Basic terminology and nutrition Basic cooking and baking techniques Receiving, storage and inventory procedures Preparing food for allergies and special diets Volume and banquet cooking Basic menu planning Specialty cooking methods Maintaining food safety systems Food and labour costing Basic teambuilding, leadership and supervision skills Buffet presentation and layout Basic wine knowledge and selection Products you can make from scratch: A wide range of stocks, soups and sauces A wide range of vegetables and fruits A wide range of potato, rice, and pasta dishes A wide range of meat, game, poultry and seafood dishes A wide range of salads, salad dressings, and sandwiches Hors d’oeuvre and appetizers Presentation platters Pates, terrines, basic sausage making, curing, and smoking Eggs and breakfast items Basic pies, tarts, and cookies Fruit desserts and custards A wide variety of pastries and cakes Basic quick and yeast breads Hot and specialty plated desserts Frozen desserts, ice creams and sorbets Basic chocolate and sugar garnishes Coffee and tea products
Figure 2 Cook certifications in British Columbia. Image used with permission of go2HR.

 

With the various certifications, there are a number of options for working in the industry, as outlined in Figure 3. For more information on the certification and career options at each level, visit https://www.go2HR.ca/training/apprenticeships.

Career options after professional cook 3. Restaurant that is Casual/Family career options include prep cook/kicthen helper, line cook. Once the certified professional cook 3 is attained the career optoins are supervisor, kitchen manager, general manager, franchise. The career options for restaurant upscale casual are cold kitchen, line cook. Once the certified professional cook 3 is achieved the career options are team leader, kitchen leader, and regional chef. Restaurant Fine Dining career options include prep cook/kitchen helper, cold kitchen, cook. Once the certified professional cook 3 is achieved the career options are sous chef, chef, and owner. Hotel career options include prep cook/kitchen helper, third cook, second cook, first cook. Once the certified professional cook 3 is achieved the career options are chef de partie, sous chef, executive sous chef, executive chef, food and beverage manager/director. Insitutional and Camps career options are prep cook kitchen helper, cook, and once the certified professional cook 3 is achieved the career options include supervisor sous chef, kitchen management/chef, regional chef. Catering career options include prep cook and kitchen helper, cook. Once the certified professional cook 3 is achieved the career options include team leader, sous chef, chef, and owner.
Figure 3 Career options related to Cook (Professional Cook 3) Red Seal certification. Image used with permission of go2HR.

Industry Certifications

emerit

The Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC) offers training and certification in over 40 tourism occupations from front line to management level, under the emerit brand. For a full list of training options, visit emerit‘s website at www.emerit.ca.

Canadian Culinary Federation certifications (Canadian Culinary Institute)

To progress beyond a provincial or Red Seal certification requires further training coupled with on-the-job experience. Much of the training is presently on an informal basis, but there are certifications offered by the Canadian Culinary Federation (CCFCC), Canada’s national occupational association for cooks and chefs, designed to fill this gap.

The CCFCC has three programs designed to certify chefs: the Certified Working Chef (CWC), Certified Chef de Cuisine (CCC), and Certified Master Chef (CMC). Candidates must take theory courses followed by written and practical examinations. Course components include theoretical and practical seminars and self-paced learning packages. For more information see the Canadian Culinary Federation website: www.ccfcc.ca.

In summary: There are many options, but the example below shows the different types of training and certification available in Canada for the culinary arts, and how they relate to each other. The interactive career map is available from the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council.

Wine training and certifications

Additional certifications for restaurant staff include internationally recognized wine service certifications such as the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) courses and those offered by the International Sommelier Guild.

 

License

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Training and Certification by go2HR is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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