Should I even go to culinary school?
I'm graduating from culinary school (really a food and beverage management degree), so I'm biased towards it.
The biggest question to ask is if you want to make a career out of cooking. If it is, I would say go and cook. Then find a 2 year program that will go over the business aspects, such as how to cost a menu, control food and labor costs, and how to read financial statements. I wouldn't borrow money to do it.
I've spent a total of about $3000 on my degree, but all I had to take were the program specific classes.
I hope this helps.
@BaconBarrett when you are so undecided the best thing you can do is actually go work in a professional restaurant, catering business for a year and see if you really like it. Then if you do and you feel culinary school is worth it then go. Now days culinary school is a huge expense and you really (really really) need to be sure it is the right path for you. My personal recommendation would be to follow similar lines to @CSchley . You do not need to spend a fortune to go to culinary school to learn to cook.
Speaking from my experience I attended the Culinary Institute of America - Hyde Park and was an incredible experience. Amazing school, campus, chefs teachers and it was an experience I truly enjoyed. However, when I attended the CIA it was $25K which was a lot in the 90's and now it is about $60K. When I graduated I had an Associates degree in cooking! I honestly can't recommend spending 60K to get an associates degree in culinary arts unless you can do it without going into debt.