Gourmet Cooking and Catering Program

Learn practical skills in our online Gourmet Cooking and Catering program to become a chef or start your own catering business. Graduate knowing how to prepare delicious dishes for all occasions, serve gourmet fare, create healthy, balanced menus, and manage catered events.

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Lesson Group 1—Orientation: Ashworth College Career Program

Lesson 1: Learning at Ashworth  

The goals and values of Ashworth College; time management; creating a realistic weekly and monthly study schedule; the nature and purpose of assessments; how to study effectively to prepare for and take an online examination; developing the skill sets necessary for success in the twenty-first century.

Lesson: Concepts in Business and Self-Employment  

Evaluating your business idea; setting yourself apart from the competition; market testing; investment funding and donation funding; qualities of an entrepreneur; crowdfunding and angel investors.

Lesson Group 2—Basic Skills

Lesson: Professionalism and Food Safety  

Food production and kitchen organization; the roles of the executive chef and sous chef; some of the hazards of food production that might result in illness; preventative measures that reduce exposure to contaminants in the kitchen; how to maintain excellence in sanitation standards; the HACCP system and its role in safe, sanitary food handling; cross-contamination and ways to prevent it; the importance of personal hygiene in food production.

Lesson: Menus, Recipes, and Healthy Cooking  

The essential nutrients, the role each plays in the human body, and their food sources; the information contained on food package labels; the four basic types of menus and their applications; the importance of standardized recipes; how to cost a recipe.

Lesson: Tools, Equipment, and Knife Skills  

Knife construction and the proper use and care of knives; the most commonly used knifes in a commercial kitchen and the purpose of each; heavy kitchen equipment items and their purpose; the knife cuts used to prepare vegetables; the advantages and disadvantages of different cooking utensil materials; the various pieces of table-top equipment and the uses of each.

Lesson: Dairy Products and Mise en Place  

How milk is pasteurized; products created from milk; the different varieties of cheese and examples of each type; how to organize kitchen work and prepare items prior to cooking; the proper breading procedure.

Lesson: Principles of Cooking and Stocks, Sauces, and Soups  

The difference between moist and dry heat cooking; heat transfer and how it affects different foods; the principles of making stocks; the different types of sauces; mother sauce and how it is made and used; how to prepare a variety of clear and thick soups.

Lesson Group 3—Entrées

Lesson: Beef, Veal, Lamb, and Pork  

Common cuts of beef, veal, lamb, and pork and the best cooking methods for each; the best cuts of meat from each animal and where each cut is located on the carcass; the process for fabricating steaks and chops from beef, veal, lamb, and pork; organ meats and their standard preparation.

Lesson: Poultry, Game, Fish, Shellfish, and Eggs  

The different classes of poultry; how poultry is fabricated; the most commonly used poultry cuts; the steps in carving a roasted turkey; the various cooking methods for poultry and when to use them; common game animals; how to inspect, purchase, store, and prepare game; the basic physical structure of fish and mollusks, cephalopods, and crustaceans; commonly consumed varieties of fish and shellfish; the procedures for fabricating flatfish, round fish, shrimp, and lobster; the best cooking methods for fish and shellfish and the appearance of the finished products; different ways to use eggs and the most common methods of production; how to apply various cooking methods to eggs; how to prepare a variety of common breakfast foods.

Lesson Group 4—Accompaniments

Lesson: Vegetables and Fruits  

The varieties of vegetables and fruits; the best ways to purchase, store, prepare, and preserve vegetables and fruits.

Lesson: Starches and Salads  

Different types of potatoes and how to purchase and store them; the best ways to cook different types of potatoes; the parts of a grain seed and their nutritional value; the three categories of pasta and examples of each; the process for cooking fresh and dried pastas; the features of lettuce; how to prepare salad greens; vinaigrette and when it is used.

Lesson: Hors d'Oeuvres and Charcuterie  

How to prepare a variety of forcemeats; how to assemble and cook a variety of pâtés, terrines, and sausages; proper brining, curing, and smoking methods; cured pork products; the three components of canapé construction; the correct use of hot and cold hors d'oeuvres in menu planning./p>

Lesson: Breads  

Gluten and its role in bread and other baked products; the varieties of flours, sugars, and fats used in baking and how they function in different bread recipes; chemical leavening agents and how they affect the texture and performance of baked products; quick breads and yeast breads; the different types of yeast and the ten production stages for yeast breads.

Lesson: Desserts  

How to prepare a variety of pie crusts and fillings, classic pastries, meringues, cookies, and other pastry items; the ingredients used in making cake batters and their roles in the baking process; the various types of cakes; the various types of frostings and their finished textures; the proper methods of preparing custards, creams, sorbets, and dessert sauces.

Lesson Group 5—The Business of Catering

Lesson: How to Get Started in Catering  

How to work from home and how to locate kitchen space and equipment when the need dictates it; the eight steps in writing a business plan; the kinds of insurance required to protect personal and business assets; how to write binding contracts and agreements for use with clients and subcontractors; the process for setting menu prices, writing bid proposals, and determining food quantities and labor needs.

Lesson: How to Be Successful in Catering  

The role each employee plays at a catered event; how employee performance influences the success of a business; how to promote and market a catering business in the community using several different approaches; important considerations when organizing events; time-management techniques; the written documentation required by staff to successfully handle events; the time period following an event; how to evaluate results; ways to close a business experience with a client on a positive note.

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Program Description

Students will learn the basic skills needed to enter the catering field. Topics include professionalism and food safety issues; nutrition; creating healthy, balanced menus; kitchen tools and equipment; techniques and procedures for preparing a wide range of food and gourmet meals; starting and successfully operating a catering business.

Program Objectives

After completing the Gourmet Cooking and Catering program, students will be able to:

  1. Identify the career opportunities available to trained culinary professionals and describe the personal and professional qualities required for success in this career field.
  2. Identify common food safety issues and explain how they can be avoided by following high sanitation standards.
  3. Explain the basics of nutrition and describe how nutritional and taste/flavor profiles are combined to create healthy, balanced menu items.
  4. Identify and describe required kitchen tools and equipment.
  5. Explain how to operate a successful food-service enterprise.

The Gourmet Cooking and Catering program from PCDI Canada prepares you for a tasty future. Call 1-800-535-1613 or enroll online now.