Culinary Blog


If you love the topic of food, here is where we talk about everything culinary plus list our latest page updates. Check here occasionally for unique discussions not found in our regular pages.

Vermont Culinary Schools

Vermont culinary schools includes one of the best culinary schools in the country.

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Top Culinary Schools

Top culinary schools

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Culinary Schools in Atlanta

Culinary Schools in Atlanta

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Culinary School Questions

Find answers to the most frequent culinary school questions.

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International Culinary Schools 2015

International Culinary Schools

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Culinary Schools Washington DC Northern Virginia NOVA 2015

Culinary Schools Washington DC Area, including cooking schools in Maryland and Virginia.

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Culinary School Reviews

Culinary school reviews

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community colleges-culinary

List of community colleges-culinary programs.

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A Pretty Innovative Veggie Burger

This is my 4th article on the home-made veggie burger. I do this to show the variety of treatments that can be made to one standard food item.

If you want to be a chef or caterer you should be experimenting with creative recipes, ingredients, and seasonings. Find combinations that are imaginative and delicious. When I eat out I don't want to order what I can get at home. I want something I've never had before.

Like this veggie burger at an Irish pub we enjoyed last evening (pubs seem to have some of the best home-made veggie burgers).

white bean burger

This burger was made with a base of white beans on a nicely toasted and lightly seasoned sliced bread. Usually white beans are grainy when mashed but this burger had it just right: the beans were creamy. In the mix were colorful veggies standing out in contrast to the cream color.

The veggies were raw and cold: cucumbers (green), carrots (orange), tomatoes and red peppers (red) which provided crunchiness and texture. if the veggies had been soft or wilted it would not have been as effective.

Creating the unique flavor touch was the addition of creamy feta cheese in tiny chunks and caramelized onions.

The red theme was carried out with the burgundy red lettuce leaves.

We also had a Guinness beer, house salad and the meal was so pleasant we topped it off with Frangelico, an Italian liqueur.

Choose some ingredients you like to work with and practice using them consistently in a variety of ways throughout your recipes.

Bon Appetit.

Culinary Goals Interview Followup

What are your culinary goals? Sometimes you don't have one when you are starting out. You think you are on one path and then you find you are on another.

restaurant

That is what happened to the Owner-Manager of the restaurant we chose for our first interview. The Manager happened to also be the owner.

He graciously filled out our interview questions. We hope they are helpful to those thinking of a culinary career as a restaurant owner or manager. We hope to bring you more interviews.

For instance, while his employee did not as yet do the questions, she stated that she did not have a culinary education but after working there is now interested in a culinary career. She feels that she would like to get some education but the practical work experience has been great.

The Owner suggested that an education combined with practical experience is the ideal situation.

Here are the questions and answers:

Background

1) What goals do you have for this job? What is your job or title at the eatery?

Answer-I am the owner. Goals are to provide an attractive store with fresh and healthy flavors not normally offered by other eateries.

2) How long have you worked in the restaurant business?

Answer-8 years

Benefits of the Job

3) Do you consider this job will be helpful to your long-term goals?

Answer-You acquire many skills in the restaurant business that can be applied to a variety of careers.

Education

4) What is your post-secondary school education?

Answer-Bachelors degree in graphic design.

(That was a surprise!)

5) Is your education helping you in this job?

Answer-Yes. I've been able to use my design skills to create marketing materials and menus, websites etc.

6) Do you wish you had more education? If so, what kind.

Answer-No. Real world experiences are very helpful in this career.

7) Reason(s) for not desiring more education?

Answer-Busy running business.

Future Aspirations

8) What aspirations do you have beyond this job.

Answer-I'm always looking for new, exciting business ventures.

9) Have you decided your favorite part of this job?

Answer-Every day is different and exciting.

10) Will you continue to work in the restaurant business?

Answer-Yes, in some capacity.

11) Do you like what you do or are you considering a career adjustment?

Answer-I love what I do.

Thank you to the Owner for a very helpful interview. We hope you liked it.

Remember, if you have questions that will help you with your career goals, I'm sure you can find a friendly and gracious Restaurant Manager to answer them for you.

Do you have culinary goals--Start small--Dream big

I see lots of restaurants with young people just starting their careers and having culinary goals.

I frequent a tiny restaurant that sells wraps, smoothies and salads. I have been wondering about the career goals of the three young people who work there.

I'd like to ask them about their educational background since leaving secondary school and what passions and culinary dreams they have.

The restaurant has a typical organizational structure for a small place: the person at the cash register who takes the orders, the manager who also prepares food, and an assistant who helps the manager prepare the food.

I decided on my next visit there, I would ask them if they would answer these questions for a survey:

  • What goals do you have for this job.

  • Do you consider this job will be helpful to your long-term goals.

  • What is your post secondary education.

  • Is your education helping you in this job.

  • Do you wish you had more education.

  • Reasons for not having more culinary education.

  • What aspirations do you have beyond this job.

  • Have you decided your favorite part of this job.

  • Will you continue to work in the restaurant business.

  • Do you like what you do or are you considering a career adjustment.

Check back for my survey results. You can do your own survey at a friendly restaurant. Find out what people think of working in the culinary field.

It's important for a young person starting out, or an older person starting a new career, to make the job more than just a job. It can be a stepping stone to a bigger goal.

You can learn a lot about the restaurant business in your job. Maybe it can help you have your own business someday.

A job can help you decide what career options you would like the best. Do you like being a manager or do you prefer instead cooking the food.

Sometimes to get where you want to go, you start out somewhere small--or medium or large; just use your experience to learn and grow and have big dreams to reach your culinary aspirations.

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Whole Foods Cooking Classes--and a real Chef …great marketing for WF
and a "night out" for me

Last night I went to dinner at the Whole Foods Market food bar. I do this a couple times a week since it is so easy: no cooking or cleaning up. And one thing about Whole Foods you can have some peace of mind about what you are eating. No GMO's, mostly organic food.

Last night we ate early and as we were leaving someone was setting up a table in the back of the room with chairs. On the table was a blender. And since I had just bought a blender, I wanted to know what was going on. I discovered it was a free cooking class on "greens" by Whole Foods for whoever wanted to attend. Didn't have to sign up but just sat down and enjoyed watching.

There were 2 people giving the presentation. One, a WF professional chef and the other the marketing rep with a nutrition background. The two made a great pair because he cooked and she talked. The chef was obviously well trained. He had that way of doing things to make them look easy. Chop, chop. Sauteed. Served.

The most fun, of course, was the blender demonstration. It was nice because I did have a lot of questions about my new blender and they gave plenty of time for audience questions and participation. She piled the blender to the brim with almond milk, banana, papaya, pineapple, raspberries, flax seeds and of all things added 1 1/2 cups spinach. I had always wondered how it would taste to put greens in your smoothie. It was all blended quickly and samples passed around. You couldn't even taste the greens. Now that is a good way to get your greens if you don't like them.

There were even recipe handouts--so organized. I recommend these free cooking classes. It's certainly more fun than staring at the TV screen at home and feels like a night out. A live demo where one can sit down and enjoy. I wanted to ask the chef where he got his degree and about his career but didn't--maybe next time.

Check your local WF's and see what they offer. Some stores have cooking classes for a small fee in addition to the free ones, and given by some big-name chefs.

Is it possible Chefs are discovering that giving back is also good for their businesses going forward.

Besides Whole Foods, there may be fun and free cooking classes elsewhere in your town.

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and a "night out" for me"

Going to Culinary Schools and Jobs

One thing I know--going to college is not a destination. It is a journey. I watched the President's State of the Union address last night and he said something that perked up my interest. He said that education could be had at low-cost community colleges that train you for real jobs.

I think this is a trend that should be encouraged.

With so many people graduating without jobs to go to (I don't have the numbers) it seems like a real win win to go to school and leave with a job.

Many cooking schools are already doing this. Employers are in need of workers--it is just that simple. (Jobs in the culinary field are expected to increase.)

Employers often connect with the school. They know they will not have to spend their time and money on training when a student graduates from a culinary school that does this for them.

Community colleges can fill the need without leaving students with huge debts. Private cooking schools can cost a great deal. But if you cannot afford them, (especially when just starting out), the less costly community colleges (especially for residents) have excellent programs.

Now, above all, cooking schools will tell you they cannot guarantee you a job--that is up to you. But you can find schools that are more focused on finding culinary employment after you graduate, if this is your primary need, or schools that train you in other skills that are important for employment such as discipline, hard-work ethics, social behavior, etc. And community colleges may have programs that orient you to learning skills. You need to ask the Administration how the school can help you meet your needs.

If a culinary career is your passion, you need to learn the skills you will need. But college teaches you more; college is a journey where one learns many things and it broadens your perspective on life.

If this sounds good to you, visit your local community college that offers culinary degrees and find out more.

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Culinary Site Map

A culinary site map to review pages on culinary-schools-bestguide.

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Culinary Schools in Dallas

Culinary Schools in Dallas

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Hospitality Management Schools

Find hospitality management schools and information.

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Inside Culinary Schools Tip: White House Chefs

Here's an inside culinary schools tip: My friend said she had toured a DC area culinary school and they told her they graduated the most chefs who worked at the White House. (Information needs to be verified.) Needless to say, the chefs at the White House need to be good at their craft so this school must be doing something right for this position.

This tells me a few things:

Since the school is located in the DC area, maybe the White House chefs are recruiting from local cooking schools. (This information needs to be verified.)

The school is teaching something that the local DC market area likes and particularly what the White House is looking for.

The best place to be for your career is in a place where you would like to do the kind of cooking you want to do.

The courses at a culinary school are tailored for the needs or wishes of the area so that students can find jobs.

(Please verify the information with the culinary school.)

For example, vegetarians might want to review the culinary schools in the top states for vegetarians.

I haven't researched this White House chefs information further, but this is the kind of inside info you want. You only get this by attending the culinary school tour or talking to people or students who might have specific information on the culinary school.

So make an appointment today to get some inside culinary school tips--such as where is the best school for being a White House chef.

(Verify all information. We do not recommend or endorse any schools. No school can guarantee employment.)

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Housing for Culinary Students on Campus or Off

Culinary on-campus housing is a good idea for culinary students if the school has it. Unfortunately, not all schools have this bonus feature. If this is a high priority for you, it will help narrow down your school list. However, be sure to ask the school because not all schools mention on their website that there is on-campus housing.

When you are browsing a website, some schools have a screen that pops up and asks you if you have any questions. This is the time you can ask if they have on-campus housing and how much it costs. Or you can ask this question through their "Contact Us" form.

It depends on the school and the curriculum if there is on-campus housing. A few schools actually require a student lives on campus because they know it will be advantageous for culinary students for many reasons:

  • Save student's time since they will be very busy
  • Culinary school is hard work and you will have more rest time when you don't have to commute to and from school
  • You will be immersed in all things culinary
  • Easier to participate in evening clubs and activities
  • May feel more connected to the culinary community
  • Some classes or internships have unusual hours
  • Area restaurants and/or part-time jobs are more accessible

You should ask the school about on-campus housing and why it would be advantageous for culinary students. International students especially might desire culinary on campus housing. These students should seek help from school administrators.

Culinary housing isn't as common at community colleges because so many students live in the surrounding neighborhoods with parents. However, there are often room rentals in a nearby neighborhood home.

If there isn't any on-campus housing, the school may have off-campus housing lists and give students support in finding housing. Area houses and apartments list their rentals with the schools. These are good because they cater to students to live there.

Students tend to gather in certain places wherever they are. It shouldn't be hard to find good culinary housing for students on or off campus.

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Is a Culinary Education a Waste of Time and Money

The other day I heard someone say a college or culinary education was a waste of time. At a time when we have less well educated students than ever before this person was encouraging students not to go to school. I was shocked to say the least.

They cited examples of successful CEO's who were school dropouts. Bill Gates is often used as an example for college dropouts. Then why did Bill Gates drop out. Ask Bill Gates but I don't think it was because he didn't believe in education. On his Foundation's website this fact can be seen bold and plain: High school graduates earn 36.2 percent more than dropouts. The Gates Foundation promotes education and college readiness.

Gates states that schools with high graduation rates may be the result of excellent teachers and that course hours are flexible and meeting the needs of students, especially those who need to work while attending school.

If you are one of those who thinks they can't go to school because of family obligations or lack of motivation, you need to find culinary schools like these.

And back to the person who said school was a waste of time. Why did they say it. They believe in the current economic climate, you simply can't afford it. Is that a reason for not going to school when school is the means to expanding your career and thus making more money.

Of course, you don't want to spend more than you can afford, but that is why there are low-cost community colleges among other options.

No matter what your choice: Outstanding community colleges with culinary certificates and degrees, technical culinary schools with great teachers, private culinary schools with flexible hours and teachers who have mastered their profession, online courses, or 4-year universities to master general knowledge and learn practical skills, you will have a new feeling of pride in your accomplishment.

Money spent on culinary education is never wasted.

Also see: Gates Foundation Ten Fast Facts on College Ready Education

(Please verify all information. We do not endorse any schools or give advice or opinion. Seek advice from culinary education advisers. Make your own thorough investigations of culinary schools and programs as programs and features vary no matter the type of school.)

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Culinary Technical Schools

Find culinary technical schools.

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Georgia Culinary Technical Schools

Find Georgia culinary technical schools and information.

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Florida Culinary Technical Schools

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Wisconsin Culinary Technical Schools

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How to Make culinary career choices

Today I read some student profiles on English website Food Tech Careers about culinary career choices. This site is mainly about food science careers. One particular student's discussion brought up a point relevant to any high school student making decisions about what to study in culinary school. That is, how to decide what the student's main focus of study would be and what direction should their career take.

At a young age when students start college many students don't have any idea what they want to do for a career. They are still deciding. I think too often they have too narrow of choices. A course of study with multiple courses to sample the experience of many careers is often best.

In addition to a wide variety of courses, a period of actual work experience will bring all these courses together and further help you decide on what career direction to take. Most culinary schools have various practical culinary work experience programs such as on-site restaurants and bakeries, externships or internships for this reason.

Being open to various courses of study may be a good option to help us choose and when experienced in an actual work situation we can find what we love best and what career choice to make. We should be given the chance to decide early on without pressure what career direction to take.

Very often a student may think too narrowly about their career choices.

Science or art, cooking or media, management or line cook, restaurant or cafeteria--all very different directions and difficult to alter once started unless we are allowed to have some flexibility in choosing early on.

By trying out a variety of courses and experiencing it in an actual work setting, we may best decide on our culinary career choices.

This is an information only website. We do not give advice. Please seek career advice from professional advisors in the culinary field. Do your own thorough investigations of culinary careers.

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Fall Issue of Sizzle Magazine is Out

I just received my email notification that the Fall quarterly issue of Sizzle is out. Being notified by them is such a handy way to stay in touch with culinary current interests. You can easily subscribe to the free online magazine from their website.

Sizzle is the magazine of the American Culinary Federation. Among their many activities, they are one of the largest culinary accrediting and certification agencies.

There are some good culinary articles this month you might like to read. Consider: a story about Hospital food as a career. Last quarter they explored being a hotel chef.

Always interesting are their travel articles such as this month's "Travel to Singapore."

Here is a link to sign up for an email notification and to read these articles and more.

Sizzle Magazine by ACF

Cooking classes at Culinary Schools

Cooking classes at culinary schools are becoming real entertainment for an evening out. If you haven't checked these out, you will find some culinary surprises. With television becoming more and more mundane and movies such a chance purchase, people are demanding entertainment with some value and reality. How far this culinary trend can go we have yet to discover.

However, if you are lucky enough to be near a culinary school with classes for the public, here are some typical scenarios for these classes you can indulge in for a fun night out that will provide value for a long time after:

Couples cooking classes
Children's cooking classes
Children's nutritional classes
Date Night cooking classes
Girl's night out cooking classes

And more adventurous:

For example, Kendall College, a top culinary school in Chicago, offers in their "Spice Up Your Life" cooking classes "Oktoberfest," a made-up trip to Germany. You get the idea -- and these classes are gaining popularity at our top schools and chef schools made just for non-professional cooking classes.

If you are interested in a culinary career, attending these classes is a great way to get to know the school and the teachers.

So make this an additional way to enjoy dining out--attend a public cooking class and learn how to make your meal and enjoy eating it too at cooking classes at culinary schools.

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A Pub's Veggie Burger

It doesn't seem to matter where you are, the veggie burger culture thrives. We went to a local restaurant styled like an Irish pub. It was a partly rainy, partly sunny day so I was in the mood for this type of atmosphere. The dark wood walls and rustic tables were cozy. The freshly brewed beer was flowing and pot roast was the specialty. The bar had shiny brass accents to complete the picture.

veggie burger I ordered the veggie burger. My husband ordered the pot roast.

This was a black bean burger called the Santa Fe with highly accented Mexican flavor. I always did enjoy a nice juicy hamburger and this sandwich was all of that and more plus the added benefit of healthy ingredients like black beans, veggies and spices. A real pub burger.

The main spice, cumin, highlighted the burger but it was covered or soaked in a delicious home-made salsa of tomato and jalapeno peppers which brought all the spices together and further enhancing the cumin theme. The juices on the bottom of the sandwich penetrated a kind of wheat crisply- toasted bread, an unusual twist, but the sandwich held together nicely.

On top of the salsa was a layer of tender portobello mushroom and layered over that was meltingly warm swiss cheese. Was the chef afraid he'd disappoint. He had plenty of layers on this sandwich. The choice of swiss was perfect. I couldn't imagine another cheese being better. But, of course, for vegans, remember to request no cheese.

Over the cheese were nice thick slices of onion and tomato and vibrant green leafy lettuce. All was held together with an extra long toothpick more like a tiny spear. I was happy I could pick up the sandwich and it didn't fall apart even with the juices soaking through the bottom layer.

The accompaniments were raw carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and dill pickle. There were also 2 savory sauces; one was an avocado dip and the other a vinaigrette with a cumin and bean dipping sauce for the raw veggies.

I also had a nice lager and for dessert I chose strawberry shortcake that came in a large bowl with generous portions of warm Irish biscuit soaking up the juices of the berries and piled high with real whip cream and sweet berry garnish.

The weather outside was a combination of rainy and sunny so we had a real pub experience and delicious meal on a late Sunday afternoon.

Fall Culinary School Registration Deadlines--Too Late to Start?

pumpkin pie

Now that the Fall culinary school deadlines to register are quickly passing at many community colleges and private schools, and if you didn't register, you may be wondering if it is too late to go to culinary school.

Never too late to go to school. If you didn't make the Fall quarter or semester, you simply start in the next quarter if the school is on the quarterly system or the next semester if on the semester system. Check with school admissions reps for requirements to register.

Some schools have on-going registrations so you can start at almost any time. The Art Institutes, a private arts school, is an example of this type of school. They have 8 starting times a year. They have ongoing Open Houses to match. Look for Open Houses at schools for a clue as to when their starting dates will be.

Using the Art Institutes for an example, their next start date is in October 2011. If you need a further explanation of how this works, you would talk to the school's Admission Representatives.

There are schools whose starting dates are end of September--school deadlines vary so you need to check with the individual school's Admissions reps.

Money is never wasted on education and statistics show that those with advanced education, make more money over their lifetimes.

If you are stuck in a low paying culinary job, talk to your employer and ask how you can advance. They may suggest a way to go to culinary school to gain the skills you need to advance and work at the same time.

Many schools have flexible programs and starting dates.

Or your first step may be to talk to public or private school advisers and see what they can do for you and when their registration deadlines are.

Education is a life-long process and it's never too late to go to school.

Washington Culinary Colleges

Find Washington culinary colleges with culinary programs at community colleges.

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Illinois Culinary Colleges

Find Illinois culinary colleges at Illinois community colleges and more.

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Michigan Culinary Colleges

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Texas Culinary Colleges

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Florida Culinary Community Colleges

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Ordering Veggie Burgers Again

I am really liking veggie burgers lately. I have discovered that ones made at restaurants are completely different from those frozen ones bought at grocery stores.

Another thing about veggie burgers enjoyed at restaurants is that they are all different. It's like getting a surprise every time you order.

They have different names, too, like this one called Super Burger that I had yesterday. This one was really "meaty."

It was on an extra large Kaiser roll with a home-made flavor that only comes from being baked fresh that day. The size of the 1" thick burger matched the savory baked roll.

The menu said this one was called a superfood burger made with vegetables, black beans (never know it), brown rice, walnuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and shredded carrot.

Have you had mashed potatoes that seemed a little dry--but were perfectly flavored. This burger had that consistency. The flavors were outstanding with the spice cumin strongly standing out amongst them.

I began to notice the Indian focus in the decor. There was a mural that was flowing water in a modern stream or waterfall design. There were Indian design artifacts on the walls. The influences were very subtle and not noticeable at first since it wasn't an Indian restaurant but an American one.

But on to describing this burger. It was huge, we said that, and it was succulent because it was thick and dry in a nice way.

In addition to the soft, thick and spicy burger, there were 2 generous slices of tomato, a vibrant red color enhancing the eye appeal, and cool and fresh green leafy lettuce; also, a delicious creamy red pepper sauce nicely on the side to moisten everything. The gorgeous orange color of the sauce adding further appetite-tempting appeal to the burger.

Finally, top the burger off with pepper jack cheese and crisp and salty tempeh "bacon" strips criss crossed. Just the right extra flavor touch.

I didn't taste any one particular ingredient in the burger except for some very small bites of corn and a couple very tender seeds. This was a mash as I said.

I didn't care for the accompaniments although they probably were what you would find with a meat burger--potato chips and a thick slice of dill pickle. I set them aside.

This was a gourmet burger; I didn't need potato chips (even if healthy ones); I would have preferred something more creative but then would cost more so I was happy as is.

As an aside, my husband ordered the club sandwich but kept ogling my burger.

I have found a few other restaurants serving veggie burgers that I am looking forward to visiting. This has become a new obsession for me reporting on veggie burgers since they are all different--and creativity definitely needs to be there.

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Culinary Education in Hard Cover

A culinary education in hard cover books can be possible with these famous titles.

We have just added them to our Culinary Books page. They are textbooks used at professional culinary schools.

If you are thinking of a culinary career, you should become familiar with these famous authors and the techniques they teach.

For recreational cooks, these books could teach you more than an occasional public cooking class. These books teach culinary technique with detailed photos and descriptions. There are books for beginners and ones for sophisticated palates.

Here is our newly added list. Let us know if your favorite isn't here and we will add it:

Jacques Pepin "Complete Techniques"
Julia Child "The Way to Cook" or "Mastering the Art of French Cooking"
Ann Willan "La Varenne Pratique" Classic European technique
"The Professional Chef" textbook of the Culinary Institute of America
"On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals" by Sarah R. Labensky; also "On Baking"
Harold McGee "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen"
Karen Page "The Flavor Bible"
James Peterson "Cooking"
"Professional Cooking" by Wayne Gisslen

Also see Our culinary books page.

Key that Unlocks the Door-- the Culinary Curriculum

The Culinary Curriculum (the courses) of a school is your key that unlocks the door to your future. Read it carefully.

The curriculum can vary depending on the location of the school, but most will have the classic foundation courses of the culinary arts.

When you are doing your original research by going to the internet and looking up schools, always look for the page that shows the curriculum, the actual courses that are required to get the degree or certificate.

Most people will look at the campus setting, the location, the facilities, the programs and costs. But it is the curriculum that is the key.

For instance in Seattle, an area that favors seafood and Japanese cookery, the Art Institute has not only a course in Asian Cuisine, it has a course in Advanced Asian cuisine. For someone who is interested primarily in this type of cooking, this would be a plus and worth further exploration.

But if you go to the curriculum at the Art institutes in DC, you find a different curriculum.

Some schools will vary their curriculum by semester so this is another reason to be in contact with the school counselors. Know exactly what courses you will be taking.

Do the courses in the curriculum sound interesting to you. Often there are courses that you just won't need, be interested in or even find boring. If there are too many of those then you may not finish school. Be sure you will enjoy what you are studying and that it is right for you. Look around at other schools to see if the curriculum would be more satisfying to you and meet your goals.

There will always be a few classes that are required that you think are not necessary but the school has chosen them for a reason. Find out why and how it will help you.

It is your future and you are in control. Study the curriculum--it is your key that unlocks the door.

More ideas on what to look for from The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) Excellent Article: What to look for in a school by ICE

Please verify all information as it can change. This is an information only website and we are not affiliated with or endorse any school.

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Culinary Schools in Las Vegas

Culinary Schools in Las Vegas.

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Creative Vegetarian Special

I had a wonderful dinner last night that I would like to tell you about. We went to the local vegetarian restaurant Great Sage again. It's our third time so that means we like it. I had the special. At first when the server explained it, it didn't sound too exciting but my husband was ordering the meal I intended on ordering and I wanted something different from him.

It was explained as garbanzo beans baked with fresh tomatoes with spices and placed over hot fragrant white rice. Simple? But wait, complex. The spices that is. What a blend. Fragrant, savory and playing with the palate. Yes, I had a happy palate.

But I'm not finished. Layered on top of the garbanzos were three oh so thinly sliced zucchini strips coated in cornbread crustiness and nicely held together, not greasy and heavy, but light and flaky. The surprise was that the zucchini, upon biting into, was moist and juicy giving a refreshing lift to a dish that could have come off as heavy. The contrast was surprisingly delightful.

The effect was that I was going back and forth between the hot and spicy garbanzos to the cool refreshing and mild taste of the zucchini. Delicious.

We each had paired a cocktail with dinner--mine an organic ginger, rum and limeade mojito that for the hot weather was again very light and refreshing and went well with my dinner.

The desserts at Great Sage are just as wonderful and I couldn't pass them up. I opted for the warm, fresh Montmorency cherry cobbler dribbled with a not too crunchy walnut crust with homemade vanilla ice-cream on top. I like their scoops--not too large but just right. My husband had the chocolate lava cake oozing with warm rich dark chocolate truffle.

Hmmm, I can't wait to go back and have the dish my husband ordered--unless they offer another tantalizing "special."

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Cost of a Culinary Education vs Your Career Potential

It is only fair to warn you about the cost of a culinary education vs your career potential.

I recently read an article that stated a culinary school wasn't necessary for all. In fact, you would save a lot of money by skipping it. But would you get hired.

However, culinary school is no guarantee either that you will be hired or that you would get anything but a minimum wage starting out.

With the popularity of celebrity cooking shows on television, there is a developing crowd of young people with stars in their eyes. It is a natural tendency for people to wish they could be like celebrities. The reality is a cooking job starting out is more likely to be hard low-paid work.

There is often a high drop-out rate at culinary schools as well. Often students decide the work is too hard or the education is too expensive or they change their mind and find other career directions more alluring.

Unless you have a lot of passion for cooking, the money earned can be very discouraging to a young person starting out.

A culinary school can teach you and save valuable time, but there is no substitute for immersing yourself into the cooking world on a practical level to see if it's for you.

Having alternative plans is always a good idea as well.

No school can guarantee a good job upon graduation either.

A culinary career takes work, dedication and a bit of talent to advance. It is wise to plan your career path carefully and that begins with what kind of culinary education is best for you and your goals.

An education of any kind costs time and money so be realistic about how much you can afford; more so in the culinary field since starting wages are often low and jobs not guaranteed.

Here is the article on the pros and cons of a culinary education. Story from LA Times

This is for your information only. Seek advice from experts in the culinary field. We do not give advice or recommendations. We refer to third parties for your convenience only.

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Best Summer Eating

I found out the best summer eating for extreme hot weather. It's been so hot here that I have really only had a taste for salad and fruit. I have never appreciated them so much.

In the past 3 days I am staying in a hotel in the cooler mountains and dining out. I have had 2 very large farmer's market dinner salads, a portobello sandwich, 2 fruit cups, one with tiny bites of watermelon and cantaloupe in a fruity juice and the other with cantaloupe, fresh, sliced, juicy strawberries and blueberries. All light eating. I have also had a refreshing lemonade and gobs of ice water.

veggie burger

The best meal was a lunch I had with a home-made gourmet veggie burger--never had one this good. Fresh, home-made was a real treat since I am used to eating the frozen ones at home. It had 3 grains: barley, bulgar wheat and rice mixed with 3 cheeses, onions, seasonings. The chef would not give me the recipe which, of course, I don't blame him. It was very special. The topping was a salsa of summer-tasting corn kernels and red pepper; also, sliced tomatoes and farmer's market fresh spinach leaves.

I heard someone in one of the restaurants say it was too hot to eat, but they are missing the real treat of the summer--great salads piled high with cucumber, tomato, greens and whatever you find at the farmer's market that day.

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Culinary Schools in New Orleans

Culinary Schools in New Orleans

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