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Culinary Arts School Professional Cooking Schools Are Among the Fastest-Growing Educational Sections in America. Students from all over the world attend American cooking schools. There are close to seventy-five thousand students attending 274 or 475 schools...

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  • Professional cooking schools are among the fastest-growing educational sectors in America.

  • There are close to seventy-five thousand students attending 274 or 475 schools, depending on who is counting.(Some institutes offer a limited curriculum and may not be fully accredited professional schools.)

  • One of the most popular resources is The Guide to Cooking Schools, compiled by ShawGuides( It lists 881 culinary programs worldwide. Of those, 358 are geared toward professional training. The courses are listed with such detailed information as the type of instruction, faculty credentials, tuition costs, student profiles, and status of accreditation. ShawGuides also offers a free job-matching site:

  • Another excellent resource is Becoming a Chef, Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. John Wiley & Sons, 1995. This book lists cooking schools, apprenticeship programs, food-related organizations, recommended reading and guidance for chefs who are planning to open a restaurant. There are also interviews with chefs who give readers personal advice.

  • The American Culinary Federation Educational Institute has a three-year apprenticeship program in which students can learn on the job while still earning an income. The designation of certified cook is received when an apprentice successfully completes the program.

  • The institute of Culinary Education offers 760 cooking courses for both professionals and food enthusiasts at its campus in New York City.

  • Of course, a good number of the students who take courses at large and small cooking schools are not in degree programs. Teaching these eager hobbyists appeals to many trained cooks.

  • Most schools career offices report that more than 90 percent of graduates secure a full-time position after being offered an average of three jobs. The job-placement record for all cooking school graduates has become an important part of their programs.

Do You Need Professional Training
To Find a Food Job?

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The maddening answer is yes-and no. Julia Child attended Le Cordon Bleu School in Paris, but she didn't need a journalism degree to write several best-selling books, nor did she attend drama school before setting her foot on the path to becoming a television culinary icon and a national folk hero.Her background as a file clerk and her passion for precision proved to be excellent training for her later-in-life insistence on accurate i recipes and detailed instruction. Neither James Beard not Jacques P'epin went to cooking school. They learned their craft on the job, as have many food celebrities. Many successful stars of the culinary world arrived on the scene having started their professional life in an entirely different field.

There is no degree program currently available anywhere to qualify as a restaurant critic or a freelance food writer, though training at a professional cooking school or having a journalism degree or BA in liberal arts is undeniably helpful. It is useful, too, to have some business knowledge before setting out as an entrepreneur.

This means that the short answer is yes, it is wise to obtain formal qualifications for certain positions, but it is also important to gain experience on the job and to keep learning. To stay a heartbeat ahead of the competition means following food trends and keeping up with what is happening in all sectors of the food universe. And bear in mind that, in the end, it will be your charming personality that lands you the job.

Who Goes To Cooking School?

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Students from all over the world attend American cooking schools. They arrive from Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, China, Japan, Singapore, India, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Israel, Canada, Belgium, England, and many other countries. Even the sons and daughters of illustrious French, Michelin-starred chefs attend U.S. and Canadian cooking schools.

Dorlene Kaplan, editor of ShawGuides'Guide to Cooking Schools says,"Over the past decade and particularly since 2001, enrollment at schools with professional culinary programs has jumped anywhere from 20 percent to 100 percent." And Meredith Moore, a culinary school spokeswoman, says,"Applicants are entering professional cooking schools with high SAT scores and impressive records of extracurricular activities that could easily earn them admission to top colleges."

Gone are the days when fourteen-year-old boys sweated through apprenticeships in cramped kitchens ruled by menacing ogres before beginning their painstakingly slow ascent up the ladder to the fish station. Nonetheless, students who have completed courses at culinary schools and gone on to successful careers tell new cooking school graduates to be realistic. Restaurant work is backbreaking. It requires considerable physical effort and emotional stamina. It's stressful. The hours are long-and few restaurants close on holidays and weekends.

Many students are admitted to professional cooking school straight from high school and are armed with little more than a diploma and a willingness to learn, though some professional cooking schools may require at least a year of experience, preferable working in a restaurant kitchen.

As many as one-third of the culinary-Student community are career changers in their mid- to late-thirties and older. They come from all walks of life and include former airline pilots, lawyers, advertisers, engineers, scientists, nurses, and entertainers. They previously worked in offices, schools, hospitals, and even in prisons. Some have served in the military and civil service. Many have already worked in restaurants and decided the in-depth education from a cooking school will advance their career options. What they all share is a passion for food, though not necessarily for cooking.

Article source: Culinary Arts School - by Irena Chalmers
150 Great Jobs for Cullinary Students,Career Changers and Food Lovers

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