Alternative Culinary Schools in Richmond Virginia
There is a lot of discussions now about the value of a culinary school education. This is nothing new. This conversation has been discussed online, in newspaper articles as well as restaurant kitchens throughout the country.
It is an important question especially if you are thinking about investing a lot of money, time and effort getting into and attending culinary school, baking school or hospitality management school.
This week I read an interesting post by Stephanie Ganz for the RVANEWS, an online publication that looks at all things Richmond, Virginia. In her article, Back to (Culinary) School: The new era of culinary education in RVA, Stephanie shares some of her own experiences while attending Johnson & Wales in Charlotte back in 2005 and why she decided to drop out and finish learning her craft in a professional kitchen.
She talks about that first semester at J&W and the basic concepts she learned that she uses every day in her professional career. But then she asks the question why should anyone spend a ton of money on culinary school when it is perfectly acceptable in the restaurant industry to work your way up through the ranks starting as a dishwasher and eventually becoming an executive chef.
Stephanie’s response to her own question is, “for many, culinary school provides an opportunity to learn in a focused, hands-on environment where students can develop skills without the pressure of a Saturday night dinner service”
I like that viewpoint. I hear her saying that for some, culinary school may be a waste of time and money, but for others who need a more focused approach to learning, it may be the best way to go.
The rest of the post looks at three schools in the Richmond, Virginia area that are not part of the big named schools like The Art Institutes but smaller programs that include a community college, for profit program and school of professional & continuing studies at the University of Richmond that are typically less expensive and often take less time to earn a degree.
According to Ms. Ganz, these three Richmond schools are “more affordable than the big guys and they’re located smack in the middle of a blossoming culinary town with soaring demand for qualified, dependable chefs.
Three Richmond Culinary Schools
The three schools are:
J. Sergeant Reynolds Community, a two year program that puts you on a fast track to earn a Culinary Arts Associate of Applied Science Degree.
University of Richmond’s Center for Culinary Arts offering certificate programs in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, nutrition and food science as well as food service management.
Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College offering a 36-week culinary immersion program where students can “learn the skills that enable them to pursue a career in the culinary arts.”
To learn more about these three Richmond culinary schools, I invite you to read Ms. Ganz’s article. To find more schools like these in other parts of the country, I recommend you visit our directory of culinary schools listed by state.
Read, Read and Read Some MoreOne of the best suggestions I have for anyone thinking of going to culinary school or just getting into the restaurant industry is to read everything you can get your hands on. Learn from professional chefs who have worked in the industry and those who have taught in culinary schools.
There are many great books available to get you started in your culinary education and I suggest you read as much as possible before making that big decision to make sure this is the right move for you. Below is just a sample of books you might be interested in checking out.
For a much more comprehensive list of books for aspiring culinary, baking and restaurant management students, I suggest checking out my post on books for future culinary students and chefs.