What Are The Ratios of Men to Women In Culinary School?
Until very recently, the proportion of men to women in culinary schools (and in the restaurant industry as a whole) has been very uneven.
Just twenty-five years ago, the percentage of women attending culinary school hovered somewhere below 10 percent. Fifteen years ago, that number jumped to around 35 percent. Today, women and men attend culinary school in almost equal proportions.
Of course, these numbers aren’t static across the board. When you look at the more prestigious schools (like the The Art Institutes International Culinary Intitute), male students still outrank female ones 7 to 3. These numbers are a little more evenly distributed than they have been in the past, but female students can certainly feel outnumbered.
Interestingly enough, women always have outranked men when it comes to baking school. In fact, even schools like the Culinary Institute of America sees a disproportionate number of female baking and pastry arts students; in 2003, women accounted for almost 80 percent of the students.
So, what do all of these numbers mean?
The answer can be found by looking directly at the restaurant industry.
Although women and men are now attending culinary school in equal proportions, the number of male culinary professionals continues to be higher. Everyone from the celebrity chefs on Food Network and the winners on Top Chef to the Executive Chefs and restaurant owners currently in operation fall into the male majority.
That’s because it’s going to take a few years before the cooking school numbers are reflected in the workforce. Women are just now starting to graduate and move beyond entry-level jobs to start finding their niches in the culinary industry.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman considering culinary school; these days, the options are fairly gender-neutral. Women may have a few more hurdles to face in proving their physical stamina in the kitchen, but they should have no problems when it comes to the school admissions process.
Culinary schools know that they have decades of inequality to make up for, so more women are finding easy entry than ever before.
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.