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Culinary School: Why Is it Important and How it Can Help You Find a Career

by Olivia Tacelli
CulinaryEd Columnist
February 8, 2011

It's beneficial to attend culinary school.Debating the necessity of culinary school isn't new. Many who've worked their way from dishwashers and prep cooks to head chefs and restaurant owners, believe that attending a culinary degree program is a waste of time and money. They think: why spend money to learn to cook when you can get a paycheck instead?

It's certainly a convincing argument, but it's not the whole story. Here's why many culinary school graduates believe that earning a culinary arts degree was the correct path for them, and why it might be for you as well.

Culinary School: A Full-Service Education

You can't learn everything at one restaurant. While a full-service establishment can provide great experience, culinary degree programs are designed to teach you a much wider range of food preparation techniques, as well as educating you in areas you may not pick up in a restaurant, like management, business strategies, cost control and product knowledge.

Culinary graduates also have the opportunity to form many networking connections within the culinary world, not just from one or two restaurants. Through externships, job fairs, career counseling, instructors and fellow classmates, students can leave school with a host of contacts from different restaurants, states, or even countries.

Culinary schools offer lots of structured time to practice cooking, along with the confidence that comes with perfecting skills. It isn't the only path to a cooking career, but it can give you a solid and sought-after level of experience and connection that simply working in the field may not.



About the Author

Olivia Tacelli is a freelance writer specializing in all things culinary. She has been a chef and caterer for 18 years, and has run her own whole foods cooking business, The Olive Tree, for 8 years.

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            Culinary Arts
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            Professional Culinary Arts
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            Culinary Arts
            Good for Working Adults

            The goal of Virginia College lies in its responsibility to its students, the technical and business communities, and the general citizenry. We have a long history of offering new direction to students.

            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            AAS Degree in Culinary Arts
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
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            Associate of Science in Culinary Arts

            Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience. 

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            Culinary Arts (D)
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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            Culinary Arts - Diploma
            • Each campus features a public restaurant where culinary students work under the direction of professional chefs for real-world experience.
            • Hosts Platt College’s Food Fight, a friendly dessert competition for students held once a month.
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