What Is the Right Age to Start Culinary School?
Many culinary schools make it a point to target a young demographic. They may offer scholarship programs with affiliated high schools or dormitory housing for students just making their first solo forays into the world.
However, culinary colleges are unique in that they draw students of virtually any age. From teenagers excited to begin their lives to adults looking to change careers or even find an enjoyable way to spend retirement, there’s no such things as the “wrong age” for entering a culinary program.
Students entering culinary arts schools immediately after high school have the benefits of low responsibilities on their side. Going to culinary school can be expensive, and having no fiscal responsibilities (such as a mortgage, kids, or other bills) can help in making culinary school more affordable. Younger students also tend to have more stamina and flexibility, which means you can handle the more strenuous and time-consuming aspects of culinary school that much easier.
Cooking School In Your Twenties
Most twenty-somethings in culinary programs enjoy the same benefits that new high school graduates do: more time, fewer bills, and more energy. However, they also have the added benefit of more advanced palates and a stronger sense of where they want their careers to head.
You have had time to determine what type of culinary career you’d like to have (e.g., hospitality, baking, classical French, catering), so you can direct your education in the right direction from the very start.
Culinary Training at Thirty and Beyond
While the percentage of older culinary school attendees is certainly smaller, there is no age cap. Many of the culinary students in their thirties, forties, or even fifties have decided to either change careers or finally fulfill a lifelong passion. This makes them the most dedicated of the bunch, and the ones with the most emotional investment in the culinary education process.
Many of these types of students also gravitate toward more specialized cooking programs (such as Thai cooking or advanced knife skills), since you can develop certain skills in a condensed format, rather than take on several years of comprehensive training.
No matter what your age, culinary school can be the type of decision that will change your life forever. You should always map out your future career path and find the cooking school that will best suit your age and your goals.