So you want to become a chef, caterer, baker, or some other restaurant industry worker? That’s Awesome! Before signing up and throwing yourself to the grace of culinary school, it is always a good thing to learn everything you can about new ad upcoming things before jumping headfirst to see what happens.
In this article, I will teach you what it is like to attend culinary school from my own experience. I add some aspects that I saw in my classmates and teachers to really give you the idea of whether culinary school is the right place for you or not.
The culinary school will give you valuable information and skills needed in the restaurant world as a whole. You will also specify into one area of the culinary arts like chef, baker, or caterer. Culinary school is definitely worth it, however, you can also work your way up into the restaurant industry.
There are so many benefits to culinary school that we must go deeper into the subject and see what exactly will you know after graduating, how it will affect your personal life afterward, and what it is like to attend culinary school in the first place. I know you are eager to learn so let’s get to the business!
Culinary School Teaches the Basics
The ultimate thing that you get out of culinary school is the basic skills and knowledge needed to work well in a commercial restaurant. It all starts with the basics such as how to hold and use a knife, how to make bread, or how to use pots and pans. In the later stages, you will learn multitasking, how to work and communicate well with others, all the different equipment, and more advanced recipes which is quite fun.
By the time you get your culinary school diploma, you will have the basic knowledge to jump into nearly any kitchen staff and be a valuable part of the operation. This simply isn’t possible if you have no experience at all from the business.
You Will Get Personal Training
In culinary school, there are many professional chefs with decades of experience to share their skills and knowledge with you, therefore you are in a great position to learn something in a couple of years that takes literally decades to accumulate.
The great thing about culinary school is that you will get hand-to-hand guidance from the teachers if you run into trouble and they will guide you down to the right path so you are never alone in your studies.
Your Training Will be Diverse
This aspect of the culinary school is where it really comes in handy. If you would start in a kitchen with no culinary skills, you would be extremely limited in the equipment, supplies, and knowledge in that specific restaurant.
However, culinary school, they are equipped with all the latest equipment, supplies, knowledge, and additional things that you simply couldn’t get from working in just one restaurant. This makes it easy to really choose a restaurant for your personality without running into any troubles along the way.
Culinary School Boosts Earning Potential
The thing is when you apply for a job in a restaurant and you have culinary school education and another applicant has not, you are more likely to be hired for the job and with more pay than you ever would have gotten if you didn’t have attended into culinary school. This is assuming that the other applicant doesn’t have 20 years of experience without a diploma because that would get the job before novice culinary school applicant. Generally, you have more chances for earnings and a bigger paycheck.
You Will be Taken More Seriously
When the employer is browsing all the applicants for the job and they see culinary school graduates, they will take more time eyeballing those applications above the rest and you will be taken more seriously because they know for sure what is teaches in the culinary school and the benefits of it.
Again, this is assuming that there aren’t some head chefs with 20 years of experience that just haven’t attended culinary school because obviously, they have a lot of experience and skills. Especially many older generations haven’t attended culinary school but they are working in important positions within the restaurant. I personally know many really, really skilled chefs with no culinary school education.
However, in the modern days, employers are looking more and more into the education part of things and it is not as easy as before to just get into the business and start as a chef from day 1.
Higher Advancement Potential
From the diverse training in culinary school, you have a wide span of knowledge and you can see the bigger picture which is the pillar stones to success. With these skills, you are much more likely to advance into your job or even creating a restaurant, bakery, or some other establishment of your own.
The Cons of Culinary School
There are cons to everything and culinary school is no exception. I have talked about this with my former classmates and coworkers and we found a couple of cons that are important to bring to your attention.
First, even when most of the teachers were totally competent and skilled, there were some that just weren’t transferring their knowledge due to the absence of it or that they were so bored with their job that they just weren’t helpful. Of course, this will vary between schools but you should keep an eye on the good teachers there.
The second con is that not everyone was interested in culinary at all, and the class was so diverse because people from many ages and situations were attending so when you were eager to learn, someone would just mess around and the whole class could go into controlling certain students. This depends highly on whether you are attending into younger or older class groups.
The third con isn’t exactly a con but more likely an absence of something. Even when you learn a lot in culinary school that will benefit you for the rest of your life, there are just some things that you can’t teach in a school and the real tempo and heat that can be present in the job weren’t available in school.
”Culinary school was great and exciting for me because I attended there so young so I got the benefits of absorbing the studies so young and I also love to work with my hands and food of course so culinary school was the obvious choice for me. I also treasure my great friends that I got from there as the experience as a whole. The most important learnings were the skills, work ethics, and ergonomics which is really important when working in a restaurant.
”Culinary school was a lot of fun where you got to learn much of the whole industry. Also, my culinary school was included with multiple internships which was the most valuable experience because I got to know the real working life even before graduation which was valuable for me. Culinary school really opened up many doors and opportunities for the future and I’m so glad I went there.”
‘Culinary school was valuable and fun because I got to use equipment and cook things that I would never get to do at home or in a restaurant where I would get into without culinary school education. The key learnings were the basic knowledge about everything but the real learning came when I first started to work as a chef in a real restaurant.”
I wanted to interview myself last because it looked like fun and I have some additional aspects to share which could be helpful to you.
For me, culinary school was a great place where I got the feel of the industry and I got used to the things there so it was really easy to function properly in a real restaurant afterward. However as said before, the real deal came when I went to my first job as well but I can imagine that if I didn’t have my culinary education It would have been much harder in the beginning.
In addition, I got so much more from culinary school than just the knowledge such as long-lasting friends and fun memories.
Is Culinary School Hard
Culinary school isn’t hard if you are motivated to learn and really interested in the culinary arts. In fact, it will actually be rather easy when the studies just flow on their own. The mathematics and other subjects aren’t as hard either because the main focus is the culinary arts, whereas similar subjects could present difficulties in a University etc.
How Long is Culinary School
Depending on which culinary school you attend to the time can vary between 1 to 4 years. My personal culinary school lasted 2 years and 9 months because I graduated 3 months earlier so it was a total of 3 years of studies. Some people graduated 6 months earlier and some months later. I recommend familiarizing yourself with the nearby culinary schools and see what they are saying on their website.
How Much do Culinary Graduates Make
The answer to this question varies so much depending on which country or state you live in, what kind of restaurant are you working in, what is your experience and negotiation skills, and more.
However, according to CollegesUSA the starting salary straight from culinary school is somewhere near $30,000 which is a decent amount for just a graduated person. The pay will only rise from there when you get more experience, higher responsibilities, and proceed to more high-end restaurants.
Can a Chef Be Rich
In short, the majority of chefs won’t become rich but there are some filthy rich chefs and that’s for sure. This will also depend so much on the choices you make in your personal life, spending habits, and other factors. Chef’s pay usually doesn’t make you rich as it owns but it really can be.
Read also: Can a Chef Be Rich?
All in all, the culinary school is worth it if you are ready for the restaurant industry and don’t want to work your way up the ladder that could take as long as the culinary school itself.
I recommend putting all the pros and cons into a notepad and see in which direction you lean on but I do recommend culinary school if you wish to enter the restaurant industry!