History of Culinary Arts Education at Varna University of Management
Varna University of Management has been offering education in Culinary Arts since 2008. Initially in partnership with a Dutch organization. A while back courses that were held in the span of 2 years, did not allow graduating with a bachelor’s degree. A few years ago, the first admission had less than 10 people in the Culinary Arts programme in Dobrich, but in the years that followed, the popularity of the programme increased and over 50 students got admitted per year (September and February intake). The students are drawn by the quality of the education, the high tech kitchen laboratories, the opportunities for internships in high quality restaurants in Europe and USA. Almost 60% of the graduates in the programme have found work abroad, and the others, which remain in Bulgaria work as chefs in different positions such as Chef de Partie, Sous Chef, Pastry Chef, and Garde Manger in high-end restaurants. It has been noticed that less than 10% have reached the position of Head Chefs/Executive Chefs during their first 5 years after graduation.
In regards to the booming popularity on Culinary Arts at a national and global scale, there has been an increased search in Europe and in parts of Bulgaria. VUM follows the trends of revealing more management positions in the ХоРеКа business, the huge shortage of staff and newfound restaurants in Bulgaria and in Europe as a whole. Only in September 2017, over 40 restaurants were opened. The British Hospitality Association and KPMG published a report in 2017 (KPMG, 2017) which specifies as a consequence to Brexit, until 2029 there could be a shortage of more than 1 million employees in the UK industry. In a report it specifies that the industry should hire at least 60 000 workers per year. In the same time for 2017 the average wage for Head Chefs has reached 32 000 pounds. Judging by the data in Bulgaria where the minimal wage is almost 250 euros, a research, conducted by VUM, was made via the biggest job portal in Bulgaria – Jobs Bg, where a monthly wage for a manager’s position in a restaurant reaches 1500 euros. During the month of May, almost 25% of the published 42000 job offers were for the tourism industry in which almost 2000 of them were for restaurants. According to the Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association in order to offer quality service to 500 000 tourists, over 50 000 personnel is needed. Only for 2018’s summer season 15 000 personnel is needed for the biggest Bulgarian resort – Sunny Beach. According to a report by “Places for accommodation and restaurants for food and entertainment for this current year 2018,the report is said to have 5000 restaurants in Bulgaria, only in Varna and surrounding resorts there are 491, in Burgas and in the region – 533 (Ministry of Tourism of Bulgaria, 2018).
Since 2015 VUM launched a bachelor’s study in the field of Culinary Arts, gastronomy and restaurant management. Its purpose is to prepare managerial staff for the growing restaurant industry. Six students were enrolled during the first year of the programme and for the 2017/2018 academic year the number increases five times.
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