First, IMHO, you do NOT need formal culinary schooling to embark on a career as a PC. You DO need to be able to cook what you will be offering your potential clients.
Cooking is the easy part of becoming a PC. In addition to cooking you will need to know and understand:
- Food Safety and Sanitation (ServSafe, NRFSP, or equivalent)
- Basics of bookkeeping
- Basics of business practices and business law
- Business laws and regulations pertaining to your planned area of operation
- Marketing, advertising, and self-promotion
As a practicing PC since 2000, let me offer a note of caution concerning specializing as a PC, be sure you understand exactly how specializing reduces your potential market.
According to some reports, vegan/vegetarians comprise something on the order of 3-5% of the people in the USA. Thus, IF you choose to restrict your potential market to vegan/vegetarians, you are choosing to ignore 95-97% of your potential market. That is NOT a problem as long as you recognize the choice you are making.
In my 10 years of experience, about 20% of any given population has the CASH to afford a PC and about, oh, 25% of those with the CASH have any grasp as to the benefits of a PC and maybe a quarter of those really end up willing to spend the CASH for a PC.
So, for every 100,000 population, 20,000 can afford a PC, of which maybe 5,000 understand what a PC is and does and maybe 1,250 are willing to hire a PC. Not bad, you only need, what, five weekly clients? That is only 0.4% market penetration.
But wait, limit it to vegan/vegetarians and the potential market is now 62-63 per 100,000 and your five clients are now about 8% of the potential market, in other words 20 times as difficult.
Again, cooking is the EASY part, develop your business plan and seriously analyze your potential market before making ANY commitments.
And yes, if you attend a conventional culinary school, you will most certainly be handling animal products and, more than likely, be required to taste them.
That being said, I think there ARE Vegan/vegetarian culinary schools out there.