Do you have a recipe book filled with the best recipes you’ve ever tasted? Can you create your own recipes and cook them flawlessly? Do all your friends say you should be a professional chef? Wonderful! Just one problem…before you go out and start pounding the pavement for that dream job behind the stove, you’re going to have to graduate from a formal culinary arts program. A culinary arts chef school will prepare you with more than just recipes and skills.
There are a lot of different culinary arts programs out there, and they all offer different programs and train by different methods. All the schools teach the basics of cooking, of course, but you will also need in-depth training and internships as well to prepare you for the real world of a culinary arts profession. Students will study food science, business, and dining room operations. In addition, they will be required to serve internships so they can see exactly what their future will be like.
Sure, having a job as a chef sounds full of prestige and status. Studying a two year program doesn’t sound that difficult, either. But those who think they should become chefs because they can make tasty home-cooked meals won’t be ready for the rigors of either the school or the profession. A chef must be ready to understand what’s required to make an entire list of food items every day, and be able to plan the timing and ingredients on all of them. Chefs are on their feet almost the entire workday. Only those who are ready for the raw realities of cooking professionally should consider culinary arts chef schools.
Also remember the sacrifices you will have to make for this profession. Chefs often give up their weekends, holidays, and other prime days off for their professions, and while everyone else is enjoying holiday meals and family gatherings, chefs are on their feet for long hours preparing meals in a different environment.
Even if the fat paycheck sounds worth it all, remember that graduation from even a top chef college doesn’t guarantee you a good job, especially if you’re right out of school. The chances that you’ll be hired in a 5-star hotel or fine restaurant are slim, and you will have to work many years before you’re qualified for these positions. If you have dreams of managing a restaurant, you will have to add more education.
So remember, although it’s a good idea to find and graduate from a fine culinary arts chef school, you will still have to gain experience in lower levels of the restaurant business.