Are you looking to become a professional chef? If so, you may be considering attending culinary school. Well, it is that time of year where culinary schools are back in session so I figured now would be a great time to discuss whether culinary school is a good option for you.
Professional experience is very important in the food service industry. While culinary school is a great thing for your resume, nothing beats real world experience. That being said, in order to make yourself more marketable, culinary school is a great option. There are a lot of great culinary schools out there so it may be overwhelming when you apply. Below are some things you should consider when applying to culinary school:
- Accreditation – If a school is accredited, it has already undergone a thorough inspection from the American Culinary Federation (ACF) that is basically a seal of approval for a schools facilities, faculty to student ratio, instructor qualifications, and the overall curriculum. Accredited schools tend to provide what is perceived as a better education.
- Alumni network – Obviously, the goal when you graduate is to find a better job. Alumni are a great resources to go through in order to find that open position. The more alumni access you have, the higher your networking opportunity is for finding a job upon graduation. Alumni also make for great guest speakers.
- Facilities/equipment – It is important for a school to have up to date equipment because that is what you will be using in the “real world”. You want to become familiar with the equipment that you will actually be working with. This is often a catch 22 with the cost of the school, but what’s the point of learning to use outdated equipment if you are then going to work in a restaurant where can’t work any of the equipment. You also want to make sure that the school not only prepares you for the cooking aspect, but also the equipment purchasing and maintaining processes so you get the best bang for your buck. If you are looking to buy any equipment, you please feel free to check out the Restaurant Source website www.restaurantsource.com.
- Instructor experience – You want to learn from the best. In order for your instructors to gain your respect, they must have some relevant kitchen experience. After all, you don’t want your teachers to have no real world experience.
- Internship requirements – As I stressed before, real world experience is extremely important. A school that requires you to do an internship helps force you to form a relationship with a potential employer. This real world experience may be your first real introduction to a kitchen so it is important to make sure that this is the life that you really want. Internships also allow you to add additional experience to your resume.