A Culinary School can Prepare you for a Rewarding Career
Culinary schools can be found in most states across America, and also in the UK and Europe. Anyone thinking of a career as a chef or in the hospitality industry requires a certain level of education and expertise in the culinary arts that can be best acquired at a culinary school.
Le Cordon Bleu International college of Culinary Arts is a recognised and esteemed institution that offers courses leading to a diploma acknowledged worldwide. In the US Le Cordon Bleu partners with various schools throughout the nation to provide courses based on the philosophy of good living and the culinary excellence of French cuisine exemplified by Escoffier and Bocuse. Tuition costs vary depending on the location and chosen program.
The Culinary Institute of America is also one of the worlds premier culinary arts institutions and has three main locations: in Hyde Park, New York; San Antonio, Texas: and St Helen, California. Programs include an associates or bachelors degree, and courses are focused on baking and pastry skills. There are many other reputable culinary schools such as The French Culinary Institute (New York), Culinary Academy of Austin, LEcole Culinaire (Memphis), and the Culinary School of the Rockies, for example.
An aspiring chef can begin his or her education and training by enrolling in a suitable culinary school course, but should give some thought as to what will best suit. There are a number of considerations:
- The length of course and qualification to be achieved
The length of course offered by culinary schools can vary from a couple of months to 3-4 years, with proportionate levels of content. A short course may only prepare you for a basic position in the workplace whilst a comprehensive 2-4 year program will give greater depth of knowledge and a much better chance as a chef. Thus, whilst a certificate may get you started in the field of culinary arts and hospitality, a bachelors or associates degree will carry far more weight.
There is a three year apprenticeship program sponsored by the American Culinary Federation that offers paid on-the-job training in a food service establishment as well as the opportunity to earn a college degree.
- The cost of education
On-the-job training may be necessary for someone unable to afford college fees which can be substantial. Fees vary quite considerably, so it is worth checking out a number of different schools. In some cases scholarships are available and some colleges have loan plans.
- Study time
A full time course will obviously enable you to get through the maximum amount of training possible, but a part time course may suit someone already in employment but looking to change direction.
- The qualifications and accreditation of the school.
In the US culinary schools need to have accreditation to be taken seriously, and instructors should have credentials such as certification by the American Culinary Federation
- Is real world experience part of the program?
Some have facilities on campus such as a day to day restaurant for students to practice their skills in a realistic environment and such experience is invaluable when it comes to your first week in gainful employment! If not available on site it may be possible to get work experience locally in some cases.
- Whether any books or materials are provided along with tuition.
- Whether the course is entirely traditional or has a modern component, featuring healthy eating, international cuisines, use of fresh ingredients, and any speciality dishes or methods.
- Whether the school has a placement office that will be able to help you find a suitable employment position in the area you desire.
The food and hospitality industry is huge in the Western world and likely to continue to be so. The opportunities are immense and diverse providing you have the knowledge and skills, plus enthusiasm. An enrolment in a good culinary school can be the springboard to a rewarding and satisfying career.
Start with a cooking class to see if you like it.
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