What is the Difference Between Culinary and Cooking?

Clarence Boyd III

March 21, 2023

Clarence Boyd III

While both Culinary and Cooking titles sound similar to an untrained individual, they have quite a few differences. Culinary arts are the study areas that involve preparing, cooking, and presenting food. Generally, chefs are trained to understand the taste and cooking techniques and create recipes from scratch with fresh ingredients.

Culinary Arts

There are many careers in the culinary industry. Cooks are in high demand, and a chef’s job can be fast-paced.

Earning a degree is the best way to get a foot in the door. That way, employers recognize your seriousness and will likely offer you a job opportunity.

Culinary art is an academic program that combines food science with the art of cooking. It’s a hands-on training environment where students learn from real-world chefs and food specialists in state-of-the-art kitchens.

While most culinary programs focus on various cuisines and techniques, there are also specialty courses for those interested in international or fusion cuisines.

A culinary arts degree is ideal for those wanting to get into a commercial kitchen. In addition, a degree in culinary management is beneficial for those seeking to work as a restaurant manager or other food industry professional. This education provides theoretical and practical knowledge for restaurant and kitchen management, including addressing food safety needs, menu design, supply chain, and other restaurant-related issues.

Baking & Pastry

While we hear “baking” and “cooking” all day, they are very different. While cooking combines ingredients and heat, baking is about precise measurements and science.

Baking involves using fat, sugar, and other ingredients to make cakes, cookies, pies, and other sweets. These are generally made in a kitchen, and baking skills can also be useful for food service establishments like restaurants or hotels.

Pastry, on the other hand, is all about artistry and intricacy. This means it includes chocolate embellishments on a cake, sugar-sprinkled flowers, and the delicate puff of a meringue.

A pastry chef is a professional who works in a restaurant or other food service facility and creates sweet desserts. They often run a pastry department in larger kitchens.

If you love to bake, a career as a pastry chef might be your dream job. However, before you undergo the extensive training and education to become a pastry chef, weigh your options and find the right school.


Cooking is the process of preparing food through heat. It can be done by people in their homes or professional chefs in restaurants and other food establishments.

Cooks typically use a variety of different techniques and ingredients to create dishes. These include herbs, spices, vegetables, meats, fruits, dairy products, fungi and yeast, water, salt, and other additives.

Baking is another type of cooking, and it involves baking food through the heat in an oven. It can be done to make cakes, muffins, cookies, pies, tarts, scones, and other desserts.

The difference between cooking and baking is that cooking is more improvisational while baking is more precise. This is because cooking recipes are usually open to interpretation, while baking requires a lot of precision and accuracy in measuring ingredients.

Restaurant Management

Restaurant management involves overseeing daily operations to ensure a restaurant is operating smoothly. It also involves building a strong bottom line for long-term growth.

The restaurant industry is notoriously unpredictable, so a good manager knows how to keep their cool even when things don’t go as planned. Problem-solving skills are a must to deal with issues that arise, like theft, service delays, and unforeseen labor costs.

Another key skill for a good restaurant manager is communication. They must be able to connect with their employees to foster transparency and build a positive work environment.

A restaurant manager’s job description often includes managing human resources, ensuring employee safety and health, and keeping employees motivated by paying them well. In addition, managers need to report business performance and share growth opportunities with owners.