Cleveland is known for its great restaurants. Their popularity has created such a demand for qualified food service employees Cuyahoga Community College has developed a culinary arts program to help meet the need.
“(Cooking) was a passion for a very long time,” said Sumitra Chandra, 26, from Pepper Pike, an aspiring chef who is enrolled in Tri-C’s program.
Chandra told Call For Action Reporter Lorrie Taylor she learned how to cook in her mother’s kitchen but it was the instructors at Tri-C who taught her how to make sauces, soups and stocks.
“They really teach you the basic steps of cooking,” she said.
Paul Glatt, an Assistant Professor of Food Service Management at the college, told Taylor the sky is the limit when it comes to making a living in the food service industry.
“We have students that are in their early 20’s that have graduated this program that are working in top kitchens around Cleveland because they can produce,” he said.
Educational requirements aren’t that demanding if you’re thinking about pursuing a career in the field.
“You don’t need a master’s degree or a doctorate to be successful in the food service industry,” Glatt told Taylor. “What you need is a good work ethic and performance.”
According to Glatt, the salary range is as wide as the opportunities that are available. Entry level employees might earn between $20,000 and $40,000 a year. More skilled professionals, like sous chefs, command a higher price, Glatt says somewhere closer to $100,000. That’s a salary that sounds pretty good to Chandra.
“I love it, I love it, I wake up every day and feel like I’m so lucky to be in this program,” Chandra said. “Not only that, but to work in the industry, it’s a life-long passion of mine.”