Since many of the famous chefs today don’t have formal culinary education, or attended culinary school later in life, many prospective students may wonder if the time and expense of attending culinary school is really worth it. Although in the past it was not unheard of to take a simple salad-maker and transform him into the executive chef of a five-star restaurant, today’s world is much tougher. Your odds of making more than $50,000 per year as a chef become much slimmer without the education from a top culinary school.
Are there drawbacks to traditional school? In some cases, yes, which is why it is a good idea to not only attend culinary school, but attend one of the top schools around the world.
The Benefits of Attending Culinary School
There are a host of benefits of attending culinary school. The main benefit is the skills you will learn. In school, you learn the best way to cut vegetables, how to maximize efficiency in the kitchen, how to plan meals for different-sized crowds, how to stock a kitchen, the best way to uphold health codes, and a whole wealth of other knowledge that would take years to acquire on the job. You also get the chance to work with top chefs in the industry, which is invaluable- both for education and for the networking potential that it brings. In school, you will learn about a whole range of cooking styles and food parings, that you would not experience just working in one specific kind of kitchen. When you learn on the job, you will learn a lot about that particular kitchen and cooking style, but little that you can take with you to another job. When you attend school, you can learn about nearly every cooking style and many skills that will allow you the opportunity to go anywhere you want in the cooking industry- even if you just end up as a food buyer or the manager of a restaurant and never cook in the kitchen.
The Drawbacks of Attending Culinary School
The main drawback to attending school is the cost. Most aspiring chefs make under $30,000 per year, which is barely enough to live on- much less be able to afford an expensive culinary education. However, the expense of the school is often where the salary bump comes from. Some restaurants will even help their chefs attend school if they think the person has promise.
Attending top culinary schools are the best way to achieve industry success in the culinary world. There are many things you can learn quickly in school that you cannot learn in just one kitchen. You will also learn many of the business aspects of running a kitchen, which is invaluable if you ever want to run your own kitchen. In the end, you will learn a lot more much more quickly if you attend culinary school. However, you may want to work in a few kitchens before attending school to make sure you won’t be wasting your money! If cooking is not your passion, you would do better in another industry.