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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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