Eastwick’s culinary degree a recipe for success

With shows like Top Chef, Good Eats and Cupcake Wars more popular than ever before, and the rise of “foodie” blogs on Pinterest and other popular sites, it’s clear that culinary has come to mean more than just standing over the stove. It’s something of an art, a passion and a calling, that involves preparation, presentation and a little pizzazz. And Eastwick College offers a popular program that uses this unique approach to help students make masterpieces in the kitchen.

The 18-month culinary arts program, offered by Eastwick College Hackensack, is an associate degree path of study, unlike many of the certificate programs offered in the area. It features a state-of-the-art cooking facility designed by executive chef for the renowned international restaurants Carmine’s and Virgil’s, Glen Rolnick. The program has started to make a name for itself, with its students winning first or second place in the last four culinary competitions in which they’ve competed, and several earning acceptance to the Alpha Beta Kappa Honor Society.

Students learn a wide range of cuisines, from French and Chinese to Traditional American, but there’s more to the program than just cooking a delicious dish. They also study all facets of food service operations, including bar management, facilities design, nutrition, and event/menu planning. And every Tuesday and Thursday when school is in session, they contribute their time and newfound culinary expertise at the Bergen County Housing, Health, and Human Services Center (also known as BCHHH or the county shelter) providing the daily lunch service for shelter clients.

“What makes our new culinary degree so unique is it’s built from the ground up, utilizing a specialized kitchen classroom fitted with the modern equipment, and a curriculum focused on the latest trends in the food service industry. What this means is our students will graduate with a versatile set of skills to pursue a wider range of career opportunities,” explains director of the program, Pat Romero. “As this field continues to grow and change rapidly, this will be especially valuable.”

And the culinary field is growing, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting 205,300 new jobs for cooks by 2022, for example. This includes culinary jobs for cooks and chefs in full-service restaurants, fast food cooks, and cafeteria cooks. But some areas of the culinary industry will likely expand at an even faster rate. As interest in healthy eating increases, so does the demand for natural food preparation. There is also a growing need for nutritional consultants who provide dietary information for institutions that prepare food on a large scale, including hospitals and schools.

Graduates of the culinary arts degree at Eastwick College Hackensack are prepared for entry-level opportunities including prep cooks, line cooks, station chefs, and bartenders. With experience, these opportunities may lead them to positions as chefs, sous-chefs, pastry chefs, executive chefs, food service managers, and careers in restaurant management and ownership. Graduates are able to sit for certification in ServSafe Manager Safe Food Handling, ServSafe Alcohol Service, Allergen Awareness, and OSHA Compliance.

Click here to learn more about the culinary program offered by Eastwick College Hackensack and get started in your culinary career.