'culinary school' on Serious Eats

Hard-Sell Tactics at the California Culinary Academy

Remember the story from early last month about the high cost of culinary school? How cooking schools were being accused of playing up the celebrity chef thing to attract students? How those folks were graduating into a field whose starting salaries often aren't enough to pay off student loans? There's another, longer, more depressing story in SF Weekly about that topic, and this one talks to two former admissions counselors who describe the questionable practices they were told to use: ... the admissions counselors tried to make the program seem worth its exorbitant price tag by giving students the impression that the school was selective. "We were advised to tell the students that because it's such a prestigious school, Cordon... More

'Broke Chefs' Wisdom from Serious Eaters

There's a great conversation going on in Ed's post "Would-be 'Top Chefs' Are Broke Chefs." Some insight from the folks talking there: Work in the food industry before you decide to go into culinary school. The American Culinary Federation has an apprenticeship program that might be worth exploring. "Are you kidding? Cooks are the poorest people in New York. That $10 an hour is gross, not net .... so do the math on that." The Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State College might be an option: $3,000 for a certificate, about $6,000 for a two-year degree. "One of the things that irks me is that since the food channel started they have made chefs into rock stars. Kids want to... More

Would-be 'Top Chefs' Are Broke Chefs

It's rare that I come across a food or restaurant-oriented subject that I haven't at least thought or heard about, but Kim Severson's page one story about culinary school grads defaulting on their student loans is just that. And according to our new, smart as a whip resident web developer who has cooked professionally, Kim's story is just the veritable tip of the iceberg. In fact, our man, who wants to remain nameless, says that would-be chefs are weighed down by not only a mountain of student loan debt but also by significant out-of-pocket expenses incurred when they are just starting out. Things like knives, kitchen clogs, expensive restaurant meals, and cookbooks are essential but not cheap, especially when you... More

Should You Go To Culinary School?

David Lebovitz worked at Chez Panisse for 12 years, so people considering professional careers in kitchens ask him all the time for advice, like whether or not they should go to culinary school. He says, "There are some very good culinary schools, but in general, I think it's worth getting some experience either in a restaurant kitchen or bakery before you decide to invest a lot of money in education. Perhaps the work is far more challenging than expected or the pay is going to be far (very far) lower than what you're making as, say, an anesthesiologist." He goes on to lay out the pros and cons of the life of a professional cook, schools to consider and other... More

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