I go to the community college in the metro Detroit area and they are accredited and have chef's with many credentials sewn on their whites but I don't know what any of that means. I am learning a lot and it is practical to the job that I have, but I don't know how a degree in culinary arts is good for and if I should have chosen the bigger vocational school in the area.
Curious of my choice in culinary school
If I may.........
A school ( any kind....take your pick) is a tool like any other that is used to learn a subject.
The way the tool is used is more important then the tool.
You can choose to go to a technical school to learn cooking basics.
You can go to a fancy prestigious (and expensive) culinary school and learn cooking basics.
The impetus is on YOU.
Both places will offer the information.
The difference between the 2 (besides the cost) will be your ability and drive to absorb it all and use it.
Experience versus education (doesn't matter what job you're in) has always been at odds with each other.
A Chef may teach you a select amount of knowledge that you can keep in the back of your memory for later use,
but a college education will teach you WHY,HOW,WHEN, WHERE.......
You can not learn everything from a book and you can not learn everything from listening and watching a Chef.
If you were to use the search engine here on ChefTalk you would find more than a few threads on this subject.
There are threads from professionals who'll agree with me on the above mentioned points.
As for the credentials on the Chef's coats.......They could be from the alternative American Culinary Federation (ACF)
This too is a way of learning from the industry, but it is not accredited to the point where it is accepted by the USA as a recognized
organization ( as yet). Many restaurants are hiring ACF accredited Chefs because of the higher standards they hold.
Supposedly..........................if a ACF Chef is on hand, the place should run better....not always though.
Good luck with your search.