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.

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
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
5 Program(s) Found
  • 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
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid