How to Decide If Culinary School Is the Best Choice For You
A love of food and the culinary arts is fairly common in today's society. Almost everyone has heard the names of top chefs and top culinary schools, and an appreciation for fine food and fine baked goods means that more restaurants open up every day.
While this is good news for anyone considering culinary school, since job opportunities are only expected to increase over the next few years, the fact remains that getting a culinary education isn't for everyone. Like any other career field, there is a pretty heavy investment of time and money that goes into that entry-level degree.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before quitting your job and moving to New York to pursue your new culinary career:
Do you love cooking?
This includes everything from loving the ingredients and the heat of the kitchen to pleasing large crowds of people. If there's any part of the cooking process that you don't enjoy, you may want to consider whether you would be happy working 40 to 60 hours per week in a restaurant setting.
Do you enjoy working as a team?
Although the head chef or restaurant owner might get to order other people around, most cooks and chefs work as part of a larger team. Unless you can work collaboratively with others, culinary school might not be for you.
Do you lead an active lifestyle?
It might seem like a small thing, but most cooks and chefs spend 8 hours per day on their feet in a high-impact industry. While culinary school can be good “training,” it's not always a good career for people who prefer working in front of a computer or at a desk.
Are you ready to make the investment?
Most culinary programs last between six weeks and four years, and can cost upwards of $50,000 when all is said and done. If this is a change you're ready to make, be sure you know what sacrifices you'll have to make to reach that culinary finish line.
Becoming a chef can be one of the most rewarding careers out there – as long as it's what you really want. Remember, though, that the road to chefdom is a long, hard one, and you may have to put in several years at the entry level before climbing to the top. For a more detailed look at the question of Culinary School and is it right for you, please read our article called Is Culinary School Right For Everyone?