Top ten reasons why you should attend culinary school

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Keep calm and cook on

There’s been a debate for a few years discussing the pros and cons of culinary school attendance. Many chefs have attended institutions of higher learning like the Culinary Institute of America and Johnson & Wales. Culinary schools have produced some of the finest chefs in the world. Here are the top ten reasons why you should attend a quality culinary school.

  1. Learn the basics. Culinary school is designed to teach you the basics of cooking in a professional capacity. You will learn all about food and kitchen safety, how to use and maintain your knives properly and maneuvering in a busy kitchen safely, as well as things like how to make a good stock, the mother sauces and what the correct internal temperatures are to safely serve meats. You’ll learn all about the science behind the cooking and serving of food, such as chemistry, molecular biology and even psychology. Culinary school is the foundation of your lifetime of learning, and you should make sure you have a solid understanding of all the concepts. Culinary school will provide an opportunity to learn not just from books, but hands-on, with instructors available at every turn to provide guidance and direction.
  1. Exposure to different cultures. Culinary school will provide the opportunity to learn about, cook and taste ingredients and foods from other cultures. You’ll learn the requisite French, Italian and Asian cuisines, but you’ll also be exposed to foods from Mexico, Argentina, Korea, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Thailand, Romania and even more. Getting exposure to these cultures and foods can only enhance your abilities, sharpen your skills and widen your possibilities after graduation.
  1. Try new flavors and ingredients. Along with gaining access to different cultures, you’ll be afforded the benefit of having access to ingredients in a professional kitchen that you might not have access to in a home kitchen. Professional kitchens have a steady roll of vendors and suppliers they utilize to acquire ingredients from all over the world. Combining some of these together creates new flavors and tastes that students might never have thought of or considered previously.
  1. Possibility of travel after graduation. Many culinary schools offer foreign work study, internships, class trips and job placement opportunities all over the world. If you want to travel and explore different regions, then don’t discount the opportunities your school might offer. In addition, very often you can transfer to a school in another country to continue your education. You could even travel to many different countries by working for a cruise ship and traveling all over. International travel can be an eye-opening adventure you hadn’t considered before.
  1. You’ll learn business and management skills. Most culinary schools teach all aspects of working and operating in a professional kitchen. This includes non-cooking roles such as management and financials. Students will learn various aspects of staff management, employment law and payroll. You’ll also learn how to read and maintain financial records, licensing requirements, inspection details and tax information. Almost all chefs that are higher up in the brigade must know how to manage inventory, place orders and plan and cost menu items.
  1. Culinary school will provide a networking opportunity you would never have access to as an individual on your own. You’ll have access to chefs, vendors and local business people. And don’t discount your fellow students – they too will be chefs one day, and you may be working or collaborating with them. Often culinary schools will bring in speakers from local restaurants and businesses, and sometimes more well-known chefs.
  1. Job placement, internships and apprenticeships. A top-notch school will have a better than 90% placement rate for its graduates. In addition, you’ll have access to internships and apprenticeships that you wouldn’t even know about if you weren’t in school.
  1. Access to talented and experienced chef educators. Many of the chef instructors teaching at culinary schools are very experienced, real-world chefs. They’ve literally ‘been there and done that’ in professional kitchens – some internationally. As a student, you have access to these knowledge fountains for the entire school year. Why not take advantage of it and soak up as much knowledge as you can? Ask questions, learn by watching and pay close attention.
  1. Access to kitchen equipment. Professional kitchens have some pretty high-end and large equipment. Most home kitchens don’t have salamanders, large fryers and grills set up – let alone walk-in freezers. We’re not even talking about the hand tools, pots, pans and the countertop space.
  1. Because you love cooking. There’s no better reason, than a passion for cooking. Investing your time and energy into schooling shows a level of commitment that not everyone can or is willing to do. If your heart and soul is all about becoming a professional chef, then you should start at culinary school.
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