It seems once you consider going to culinary school, letters and pamphlets flood your mailbox. I think I could literally wall paper my house with the magazines, newsletters, and brochures I received from Johnson and Wales, La Cordon Bleu, and the Art Institute.. No offense to any of the other schools, but I knew right off I wanted to either go to JWU, or CIA.. Charlotte was much closer, so here I am.

If you’re considering culinary school, don’t think you can just up and decide to enroll, and be in class next week. It seems I was constantly on the phone with either Health Services, Financial Aid, or Student Academic services straightening something out with them. Sometimes the ‘holds’ they can place on your account can be a pain to do away with. If you’re sure it’s something you want to do, be prepared.

Open houses are also something you should look into.. they’re constantly doing tours of the school. My dining room instructor referred to the labs "the giant fish bowls." Not only are we there to learn, we’re also there on display… thats why some chefs (like my introduction to baking and pastry instructor) were so particular about our uniform.

Speaking of uniform, we have two uniforms. The Front of the House, and Back of the House whites. Our BOH uniform consists of our checkered pants, black shoes, your coat, hat, and a color coded neckerchief system (Freshman: Blue, Sophomore: Light blue, Baking and Pastry Freshman: Green, Baking and Pastry Sophomore: Teal, and Seniors/Hospitality: burgundy.) White socks and a plain white undershirt you provide. An apron, two side towels, a thermometer, Sharpie, pen, and your name tag are also considered part of the uniform. The FOH uniform is your name tag, black pants, black shoes, and a white dress shirt. A white undershirt, black socks, and a belt you provide. The only classes you use your FOH uniform in is Beverage, Essentials of Dining, and Advanced Dining. For the Dining labs, you will also need a wine key (a lever actioned cork screw) and a crumber for taking crumbs off the table.

You are issued two pairs of checkered pants, three chef coats, one dining room shirt, one pair of dress pants, two hats, five aprons, a set of side towels, and your shoes your freshman year. They issue a second set of uniforms your Sophomore year.

Uniform is a huge part of school, stressing professionalism. Most Chefs have no problem sending you home for faulty uniforms. So when you come to class, come Clean, Shaved, Pressed, and Complete!