Reality Check

Hot kitchens. Demanding chefs. Long hours. Hard work.

Yes, that's what many of us sign up for when we go to culinary school. Many of us pursue this career because we love it - working with food, the creative aspect, the kitchen's energy and also, I think, the innate hospitality chefs like to share with guests. But I'd venture to say that in this age of the celebrity chef, an increasing number of people are entering the field for stardom.

On my first day of class at the French Culinary Institute in August, one student tells the class he was attending so he could be on "Top Chef." That's a fine goal, but I had to roll my eyes, too. Of course being a chef can bring you fame and success, but for every Mario Batali and Cat Cora, there are countless chefs working hard in a cramped kitchen trying to keep their business thriving.

I'm not anti-"Top Chef" or much of the Food Network, but I admit I don't watch often or care. It's great that the culinary field has gotten so much attention. But I hope people realize that a kitchen is much more than one chef, celebrity or not. Our chefs at school emphasize how everyone's role is crucial (especially the dish washer!).

There are many folks who work hard to bring out that entree for your special dinner, a person selecting the wine and the worker cutting vegetables meticulously way back in the kitchen. So I hope students realize this when they drop thousands of dollars for culinary school, a wonderful experience whether your career winds up in the kitchen or not.

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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