Is Culinary School in Your Future?

Chef2Chef hosted a fun and informative chat on Twitter today called "So you want to go to culinary school...." Fellow student blogger SweetKell and I helped answer some questions. The topics ranged from chefs' salaries and white Russians to how to make a decision on which school to attend and your perfect last meal.

The overarching points I go out of the chat: If you're unsure about a career in the kitchen or culinary field, perhaps try working at a restaurant (even if it's a low-level position) before you put down the investment. This field doesn't always pay the best, so be sure this is a labor of love for you.

In my time at the French Culinary Institute, I couldn't agree more with those points.

I'm going into considerable debt for culinary school, and I wouldn't have done so if I didn't really love cooking for a career. So yes, you won't be raking in a six-figure salary in your first job - be prepared for that if money matters. That said, chefs at my school insist that if you're committed to the field and on growing as a chef, you can make a living as a chef. In our chat today, it was brought up several times that people have a distorted view of working as chef because of shows like "Top Chef" and other Food Network celebrities. I think diners often forget that behind the dishes chefs parade out of the kitchen is a lot of sweat, commitment and love.

If you're trying to make a decision on whether culinary school is right for you, think about these issues beforehand. But also research the school, talk to students, visit the school and think carefully about what you're passionate about because I can guarantee you it can be a very rewarding path.

Featured Culinary Schools

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5 Program(s) Found
  • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
  • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
  • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
  • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
  • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
Le Cordon Bleu Schools of North America , Online (campus option available)
  • Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
  • Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
  • Provide hands-on training from instructors who are certified, master chefs.
  • Offer flexible schedules and online programs.
  • Has 30 schools worldwide, spanning 5 continents, including 17 campuses in the U.S.
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Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
  • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
  • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
  • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
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  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • Offers more than 150 self-paced, career-relevant programs that are connected to a supportive 24/7 online community of students and faculty.
  • Profiled in many publications such as The Boston Globe, Fox Business, and  Inside Higher Ed.
  • Nearly 25,000 graduates each year.
  • Accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
  • Founded in 1890 in Scranton, Pennsylvania    
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  • Online Courses