Culinary School

Culinary School Questions: Can I Go To Culinary School if I Can't Cook?

Absolutely--the main requirements are motivation, creativity and passion. You must have a love of cooking. You can learn the skills at culinary school.

Culinary School Questions: Is Culinary School necessary?

Like any school, it depends on your goals and is a personal decision. If you have excellent cooking skills or are working with a mentor in a cooking facility, you may get by without school, but most people do not have the basic skills and must learn them at a culinary school. Chefs will tell you that you are always learning.

Should I get a certificate or degree.

Again, this is a personal decision that involves many factors. A certificate or diploma will get you started faster and costs less money generally. Seek counseling from professional advisers at culinary schools.

How do I choose a location.

Check out your local schools first to see if they have what you want. If a school located in another state has more of what you want, it is desirable to then visit and consider that school as well. You may decide to relocate in order to get the right school for you.

I am a vegetarian. How do schools handle that.

Most schools will be cooking meat and as you know you must taste your food as a chef. You do not have to eat a meal but you do need to taste even if a little bit. There are some purely plant-based schools but very few. You can also get the foundational skills. Skills stay the same even if the ingredients change. I know this is a hard one for vegetarians and sometimes compromise is not possible or desirable. In that case, find a school that fits your needs.

What is the most common reason for dropping out of culinary school?

Like any school, life changes or you change your mind about your goals; but, one of the commonest related to culinary school is that the work is too hard. Your passion must be very strong and you need to be highly motivated to have a culinary career.

Is attending a prestigious culinary school more of a guarantee of a better job.

Not at all--it is your passion and skill as well as ambition to succeed that is the driving force in getting employment. Naturally attending a school that is more difficult will be an asset but it is not the main thing that gets you a good job. If you can afford the expense of a well known school you should still review it and decide if it is for you and not be influenced by how many celebrities attended.

What does a culinary career offer me.

There are many careers a culinary education can prepare you for: chef, sous chef, line cook, restaurant and hotel management, restaurant entrepreneur, culinary writing, food photography, commercial kitchens and on and on. A school or program may have a certain focus so you should ask about that. Seek this information from culinary school counselors.

When do classes start?

It depends on the school. Some are on the semester schedule and some on the quarterly schedule. Some are ongoing. The quarterly schedule will allow you to graduate sooner if you are full time.

Culinary School Questions: Will I study what I am interested in?

It depends on the school. It is best if the school allows enough flexibility to teach from an angle of what the students personally want to know about. Ask.

How much money should I spend on culinary school.

Spend what you can afford. Do not be swayed by any claims by a school that they will get you better jobs because that is up to your skills, personal passion and motivation.

As in any college, a school cannot guarantee you employment or salary. You can get foundational skills at good quality inexpensive junior colleges as well as very expensive private schools. Consider that if your goal was to have your own restaurant that some school's tuition is as much as you would spend on opening your own restaurant so you should decide if you have enough for both. It is a personal decision depending on your financial resources and goals. Seek expert counseling. We do not give advice.

Culinary School Questions: What are some top well known schools?

Probably the best known are Le Cordon Bleu, the CIA, Johnson and Wales and Art Institutes--all national schools.

What is the best way to get a teaching position.

To have several years of culinary experience at fine restaurants or hotels. Seek advice from experts regarding your long-term goals. Teaching requires another set of skills such as being able to communicate your thoughts clearly.

How many chefs are there in the U.S.?

More than 100,000

How many culinary schools are there?

Over 200.

What are the best culinary areas?

Look at the locations of schools. They are usually located in the best areas for culinary careers. For instance Art Institutes has 45 schools but their culinary schools are in the locations they consider best for culinary (38). Generally, the best known areas for culinary would be New York City (many restaurants, many cuisines, culinary jobs), Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, and Phoenix. But there are many other top areas as well such as Denver, Washington DC, Charlotte and Austin.

Some good smaller cities would be Arlington in Virginia (Wash DC area), Portland, Oregon, Durham, (Triangle Area) NC, Fort Lauderdale, Fl; No. Hollywood (Los Angeles area), Calif and Sunnyvale, (San Francisco Bay Area) Calif.

You still need to find a program in those areas that fits your needs.

Culinary School Questions: What is your best advice on culinary schools.

We don't give advice (seek out culinary experts) or recommendations of schools or even opinion.

But consider that trends change but the skills remain the same. Get the basic skills whether at culinary school or practical experience. Most schools would agree the basic skills are: Knife Skills; Classic techniques; Garde Manger; Baking and Pastry; Safety and Sanitation; Cost Control; Menus; Operations Management; Restaurant Management.

As you can see, if you have no intention of starting your own restaurant, you may not need all of these skills. You might wish to consider schools that focus on what your career goals are.

If you are not sure of your goals, then an overview such as above would probably be good but always seek a professional culinary advisor for any advice. There are many factors to be considered when deciding on a culinary school.

Culinary School Questions: Is this a good time to be a chef?

Cooking careers are harder to get started due to the economy than previous years, but there is still a high demand for culinary employees especially in areas where the demand is greatest.

What is chef certification.

See International Association of Culinary Professionals. I would expect it is an important component of a successful culinary career as many schools align their curriculum to meet the requirements for certification upon graduation. Seek expert advice.

Culinary School Questions: Is there housing at schools.

Please ask the school as a school may not have on-campus housing but may give support to help you locate housing. This is something that you may not find out if researching online since it is not always stated, but can if you ask the school.

Please verify all information for Culinary School Questions. We do not give advice or even opinion. This is an information only website. Seek advice from culinary experts. We do not recommend or endorse any school.

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