who goes to culinary school? a huge variety of people! high school graduates, mid-career changers, those who want to be chefs, those who want to go into food media, those who just want to learn about food. there's no limit on who can attend and who you'll find in your class.
i don't think i'm good enough. that's the beautiful thing about school - they teach you from the beginning. you don't need to be good, that's what you're going to learn. you're not going to roulade a turkey on your first day. you'll learn to identify herbs, hold a knife, apply a bandage.
how much does it cost? culinary school comes in a wide array of costs. on average, you can expect to spend around 20k for the entire program. however, the most well respected schools like the cia cost significantly more.
what are the hours like? this entirely varies based upon the program selected. i attended ice's hybrid program - with classes on wednesdays and thursday nights from 6 to 10 pm - and then again on saturdays from 9 to 5. most normal programs are monday through friday, 8 to 5.
how long is the program? this varies heavily from school to school. most programs are between nine months to a year. the cia requires a 2 year commitment.
what culinary schools are there? they're all over! most cities now have a culinary program offered at a nearby college. new york has the cia, ice, and the international culinary center. le cordon bleu is all over - including in chicago and austin. i recommend doing a search to see what's closest to you!
do i need to go? not at all. there's arguments on both sides on whether or not you should attend culinary school. the bottom line is that you should go if you want to. it will give you a great foundation of knowledge before heading into a professional kitchen - but you'll still be green as sin and have to work your way up. alternatively, you could choose to not go and save yourself the tuition. a lot of amazing chefs have followed this path, choosing instead to climb the kitchen ladder and learn on the job.
do you eat everything? you can. you should. you don't have to. we had several vegetarian and vegan students who ate as their diets allowed. as a diabetic, i was extremely moderate and careful during certain (pastry, i'm looking at you) lessons.
do you have to kill things? yes. you'll at least need to kill (dispatch) a lobster. trust me, it's not so bad.
how much homework is there? less than you're afraid of and more than you may think. there's far less traditional homework - you're unlikely to be doing much in the way of papers (i think we had about one per module), but you are expected to take copious notes, read your copious notes and commit them to memory, and spend a great deal of your personal time volunteering and trailing. this industry is about connections as much as it is about skill.
can i do this on top of a full-time job? definitely! ice offered nights and weekends as a program. check out your local school to see if there's something similar.
what can i do with a culinary school degree? anything you can imagine! you could become a professional chef in a restaurant, a private chef, write the cookbook on modernist cuisine like maxime bilet, open a restaurant or manage one, go on to study food science, write recipes, blog, anything at all!
have more questions i missed? let me know and i will add it here!
don't miss a post! follow spoontang on facebook!