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Where do I begin?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I've wanted to go to Culinary school since I graduated high school in 2007. Unfortunately, I didn't have the funds to pay for school, so I settled with a cheaper community college. Not to my surprise, I hated going to college for a degree in who-knows-what, because I always came back to asking myself "What do I want to do for the rest of my life" and the answer always revolved around food. 


I need some advice. Where do I start? I don't have many options in the small town I live in, so I figure I should get this ball rolling on my own. Culinary school debt just isn't an option. 


Any guidance would be so greatly appreciated :)




post #2 of 3

Depending on what you want to do involving food, a community college might be the right place to start. Food and cooking careers need not be all about the traditional trudge up the brigade system to eventually become a chef/restaurateur. If you have competency in specific disciplines, it might be worth pursuing degrees in one of those disciplines and then using that credential along with your desire to work in food to figure out your career trajectory. For example, if you are strong in chemistry, you may wish to get a chemistry or chemical engineering degree and work in food science. A particularly good mix is business degrees. If you work in a restaurant while obtaining a business/management/accounting degree, you will be positioned excellently to work in a larger food-service business or start your own. Love English composition? Become a food writer! There are many other good options, but you're the one who knows what you are good at and like to do (I'm sure you have more than one interest).


If you want to go the traditional line cook to chef route, culinary school isn't required. Intern in as many places as possible. Travel. Go to places where excellent chefs are and beg them to let you work your butt off for pennies. If you care enough about what you do and work hard enough at it, culinary school won't matter. The problem is, the clock is ticking, so you need to commit to becoming excellent so you can do the hard work while all your parts still work.

post #3 of 3

Another option - if you are open to relocating, many large hotels offer tuition reimbursement programs.  You can get an entry level job cooking, get help paying for classes, then always decide down the road to use that culinary degree in any setting you wish.


However, I agree that you do not need training if you have the drive to learn.  I am just partial because I really enjoyed my culinary school experience.

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