Food & Hospitality »


Job Skills and Conditions

Professional chefs have a love for food and are passionate about its preparation. You need to be artistic, creative, detail-oriented, flexible and organized. Good math skills, hand-eye coordination and a keen sense of smell and taste are imperative. Successful chefs have a good sense of teamwork and understand the importance of professionalism.

Chefs and cooks are on their feet for long periods and often work evenings, weekends and holidays. They need to be able to function in close quarters during busy periods, lift heavy objects and work near hot ovens and grills. While the kitchen staff of hotels, clubs and restaurants can expect evening and weekend shifts, institutional professionals such as those who work in schools, hospitals and corporate dining facilities are more likely to have conventional work schedules.

Ngoc Trinh

Research Product Development Chef
Pepsico Global Foods and Frito Lay – North America

"Find what it is that drives inspiration and passion for cooking from within you. Whether it is business, science, art, or compassion, cooking can be incorporated throughout. As an ambassador for Culinology, the art of culinary combined with science, it has given me an opportunity to transition from feeding the mouths of one family to feeding the mouths of millions through innovation and technology.

Bridging the gap between culinary arts and product development has taken me on a journey around the World observing the reasons us as human beings eat given the education and support I received through El Centro’s Culinary Hospitality program and their dedicated staff who believed in me."

Job Locations

Food service plays a major role in work at:
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Resorts
  • Cruise ships and railway lines
  • Cafés and bistros
  • Bakeries and pastry shops
  • Catering businesses
  • Food research and development facilities
  • Public and private schools, from elementary to university level
  • Grocery and specialty food stores
  • Hospitals, health service and corporate dining facilities
  • Sports nutritionist
  • Food service entrepreneur

Job Titles and Descriptions

America's Career Infonet and the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook gives detailed information about the skills, abilities, work activities and recommended educational requirements for jobs in fields.

Lauren Wesley

Assistant Banquet – Hyatt Regency Houston

Loren is passionate about the hospitality industry and is a foodie at heart. She started cooking at the age of twelve and ever since then she knew she wanted to be a chef. During high school she completed an internship at the Hyatt Regency Dallas where she learned about multiple departments in the hotel including banquets, culinary, and housekeeping.

After graduating from Duncanville High School in 2005, Loren attended El Centro College where she earned her Associate's Degree in Culinary Arts in the Spring of 2008. Her favorite classes included Advanced Pastry and American Regional Cuisine. Her first professional cooking job was at Hilton Garden Inn as a breakfast and banquet cook. Upon graduation from El Centro College she earned the title of Pastry Chef at Wolfgang Puck Catering and Events in Dallas. After four dedicated years she decided to continue her education at the prestigious Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel Restaurant Management at the University of Houston, where she earned her Bachelors in Hotel Restaurant Management.

Loren is currently the Assistant Banquet Manager at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Houston. Her future goal is to become a food and beverage director for a major hotel chain and one day hopes to own her own restaurant.

Salaries and Projected Job Growth

Salaries vary widely according to the required skills, experience required, type and size of the food service operation. A large metropolitan area such as the DFW metroplex has more career possibilities than average, with higher salary ranges.  For current information see America’s Career Infonet and the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

Professional Associations

Students enrolled in a training program accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the American Culinary Federation may join the ACF as junior members.  Upon graduation, students who are members may apply for certification as culinarians (CC) or pastry culinarians (CPC). With so many candidates competing in the job market, it is vital to prove your culinary/pastry expertise. Certification through the American Culinary Federation demonstrates skill, knowledge and professionalism to the food service industry

Certified Culinarian® (CC®): An entry level culinarian within a commercial foodservice operation responsible for preparing and cooking sauces, cold food, fish, soups and stocks, meats, vegetables, eggs and other food items.

Certified Pastry Culinarian® (CPC®): An entry level culinarian within a pastry foodservice operation responsible for the preparation and production of pies, cookies, cakes, breads, rolls, desserts or other baked goods.

Carl Hall

CEO/ Executive Chef
3 Dimensional Catering & Design

"Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but how we react to what happens; not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst... a spark that creates extraordinary results."

For details about graduation rates, program costs and other important information, view the gainful employment disclosure.