Online Cooking Classes

Certification Training and Exam Package

Turn your love of cooking into a career with online cooking classes. Ashworth College's Gourmet Cooking and Catering online classes will help you learn the basic skills needed to enter the professional catering field. You'll learn how to prepare delicious dishes for all occasions, serve gourmet fare, create healthy menus, and manage catered events. Your online cooking and catering classes will prepare you for the National Restaurant Association (NRA) ServSafe® Food Handler Certification Examination. National certification of your skills can help you validate your knowledge of safe food handling and preparation, build your credibility, and distinguish you within the industry. Graduate in as few as 4 months.

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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.

 Close Curriculum Details

Why Choose Ashworth online cooking school for your professional cooking and catering training?

  • Your online catering and cooking class fully prepares you to take the National Restaurant Association (NRA) ServSafe® Food Handler certification exam. Your exam fee is included as part of your program tuition, which means no additional cost to you!
  • You'll receive two comprehensive textbooks that detail the essential topics of food safety, handling, equipment, preparation, and presentation, as well as catering business plans, proposals, menu development, and event execution.
  • You'll receive an online ServSafe® training program provided by NRA to help you assess your level of knowledge and increase your potential for passing the certification exam
  • Your online gourmet cooking and catering training classes includes numerous virtual field trips to Internet locations that will expand the depth of your instruction and assist in the development of your personal resource collection.

Gourmet Cooking and Catering Certification

Ashworth College has partnered with the National Restaurant Association (NRA) to provide you with a valuable opportunity for professional certification.

Why choose NRA for your Food Handler Certification?

  • NRA is the largest foodservice trade association in the world-supporting over 500,000 restaurant businesses. It represents and advocates for foodservice industry interests, provides tools and systems that help members of all sizes improve operating results, and offers networking, education, and research resources that are possible due to its vast and active membership base.
  • The ServSafe® Food Handler Program is developed and maintained by the NRA and is available in formats tailored to your learning environment. The online program covers basic food safety, personal hygiene, cross-contamination and allergens, time and temperature, and cleaning and sanitation. Because the exam is taken online, you can take it at any time and from any place with an Internet connection. NRA allows as many retakes as necessary until you pass the assessment or the online course expires.
  • NRA offers customizable training solutions in multiple languages-including online or print training guides and practice assessments-that are designed to help you achieve and maintain your certification.

Food Handler Certification Exam Requirements

Certification exam prerequisites vary. Please check with the National Restaurant Association for their requirements.

State Requirements

A career in this field may require you to meet certain licensing, training, and other requirements that can vary by vocation and state. You should check with your state, local government and/or licensing board to find out which requirements may be applicable in your state. Click here for contact information on state licensing/regulatory boards and certain professional licensing information.

Our Gourmet Cooking and Catering Course

As part of Ashworth College's Gourmet Cooking and Catering training classes online, you'll learn how to safely handle food, create healthy, balanced menus, operate kitchen cooking tools and equipment, and prepare a wide range of gourmet meals.

Employers and clients are looking for gourmet cooks and caterers who can:

  • Inspect and clean food preparation areas, such as equipment and work surfaces, or serving areas to ensure safe and sanitary food-handling practices
  • Ensure food is stored and cooked at correct temperature by regulating temperature of ovens, broilers, grills, and roasters
  • Ensure freshness of food and ingredients by checking for quality, keeping track of old and new items, and rotating stock
  • Season and cook food according to recipes or personal judgment and experience
  • Bake, roast, broil, and steam meats, fish, vegetables, and other foods
  • Weigh, measure, and mix ingredients according to recipes or personal judgment, using various kitchen utensils and equipment
  • Portion, arrange, and garnish food, and stage plates for waiters or patrons
  • Consult with staff to plan menus, taking into consideration factors such as costs and special event needs
  • Estimate expected food consumption, requisition or purchase supplies, or procure food from storage

Ashworth College Student Reviews

"You can achieve your goals here at Ashworth College. It doesn’t set you up to fail. You can go at your own pace every step of the way."
– Carolyn McDale, Student

"Dreams really do come true! Thanks for helping me reach them Ashworth!"
– Samantha Currier, Student

"I love Ashworth College because I don't have to take student loans to pay my school fees. It is affordable and you can study at your own time."
– Michell Oberly, Student

"Thank you Ashworth for making it possible to go to school while having a family and a job! "
– Anna Bak, Student

Your Gourmet Cooking and Catering Course Includes:

  • Comprehensive cooking and catering textbooks and online learning guides
  • National Restaurant Association ServSafe® Food Handler online training program (after graduation)
  • National Restaurant Association ServSafe® Food Handler Certification Exam (cost included in program tuition)
  • Online exams and assessments
  • Access to Academic Advisors
  • Access to a Learning Resource Center and Library via Proquest
  • Ability to track academic progress and manage account information via the student portal
  • Personalized Career Guidance
  • Ability to interact with students, faculty, and staff via Ashworth's Online Community

What certifications are available for the Gourmet Cooking and Catering Career Diploma Program?

Graduate of Ashworth College online cooking classes are automatically eligible to sit for the ServSafe® Food Handler Certification Exam administered by the National Restaurant Association (NRA).

What features should I look for in the Ashworth College Gourmet Cooking and Catering training course compared to other schools' programs?

It's important that the cooking and catering course you choose covers all of the material necessary to enable you to pursue entry-level employment and to prepare you for a national certification exam. Look for a gourmet cooking and catering training program that has lesson content that's focused on food safety issues and sanitation standards; preparation of healthy, balanced meals; kitchen tools and equipment; and cooking and baking procedures. A well-rounded cook and caterer training includes coverage of the catering industry, with details on business startup and operation.

Is this cooking and catering course all online or do I get books?

The Gourmet Cooking and Catering course uses two physical textbooks, including the classic On Cooking – over 1200 beautifully illustrated pages. Your textbooks are included in your tuition and will be shipped to students at the start of Lesson Groups 2 and 5. Learning guides are available online and as printed booklets.

Take online cooking classes at Ashworth College to start a tasty future career. Call 1-800-957-5412 or enroll online now.