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.

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            Culinary Arts (AS)
            • Program areas include Culinary Arts, Culinary Management, and more
            • Students are taught cooking styles from around the globe, including Classical European, Asian, and Latin cuisine
            • Curriculum designed to prepare students for a career as a chef, with course topics that include Culinary Techniques, Management by Menu, and Nutrition
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Intensive Sommelier Training
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            Culinary Arts
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid