How to Become a Gourmet Cook

Learn how to become a gourmet cook. Find information on education programs, training, skills, job growth and salary. View popular culinary schools that prepare students for careers as line cooks.


Individuals interested in becoming a gourmet cook may enroll in a diploma or certificate program pertaining to gourmet cooking and catering. A diploma program may take a few months for students to complete, and students may learn the basics of gourmet cooking. Students may also complete a certificate program where they may study different types of baking and learn how to create gourmet dishes. Select programs may include lab work, in which students create dishes based upon their coursework. Core gourmet cooking courses may include the following:

  • Nutrition and Recipes
  • Tools and Equipment
  • Poultry and Game
  • Grains, Legumes, and Pasta
  • World Cuisines
  • Banquet Service Fundamentals


Most gourmet cooks secure their skills through on-the-job training, which may only last several weeks. Training may start with individuals learning the basics in the kitchen, workplace safety, and food handling and cooking. Some culinary institutes, trade unions, and industry associations sponsor formal apprenticeship programs, which may last several years and include technical training and work experience. In addition, certain workplaces may offer their own training and job-placement programs.


Although certification is not mandatory, individuals who desire advancement opportunities in their profession may pursue a certification to secure a higher-paying position. Students may obtain certification from the American Culinary Federation (ACF). The ACF offers 14 different types of certification, five of which are for cooking professionals. Gourmet cooks may benefit from a certified chef de cuisine or certified culinarian certification.

Job Outlook & Salary

Gourmet cooks may find employment opportunities working in restaurants, schools, hotels, hospitals, and other places where people eat food. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for those pursuing careers as cooks are expected to increase by 9% from 2010-2020. The BLS also reported that as of May 2010, the median hourly salary of cooks was $9.74.

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