Culinary School

Culinary Academy

Being a professional chef is a very popular vocation.  Chefs don’t just cook – they must plan menus, decorate and run their restaurants, and motivate employees.  So chefs need a lot of training at the culinary academy in fields beyond cooking.  If you decide to pursue a career in haute cuisine, do your homework first and find the right culinary academy.  There are plenty of culinary schools and culinary arts colleges. Picking the right culinary academy can be daunting. 

How to choose and pick a culinary academy?

Before you pick a culinary academy, know your own skill level and choose a culinary academy accordingly.  Technical and vocational schools offer excellent programs for the new culinary arts professional.  These culinary arts schools, often part of the county or state school system, will cover cooking, nutrition, menu planning, and business.

Private culinary arts institutes also welcome the new chef.  In almost any big city, you can find a world-class culinary academy. 

The famous culinary academy, the Cordon Bleu, has branches in the United States, for example.  

Many four-year colleges also offer an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in the culinary arts, often with either day or evening classes. And as part of a larger school or college, you have the option to take electives to make you a better chef.  If you are interested in growing your own ingredients, you can also cross-enroll in some horticulture classes.  If you wan to work in a hotel or spa, you can sit in on some hospitality management classes at a culinary academy.

Choosing the location of the culinary academy

You can find a culinary academy in every state in the union and in many other countries.  No matter where you go, a basic culinary arts education focuses on French methods.  But if you want to study other cuisines, look carefully at the location of the culinary academy. 

A culinary academy in Maui might sound ideal, but maybe it is not for the future pastry chef.  California is beautiful too, but will you find teachers and local chefs interested in New England food?  The point is, pick a culinary academy that you know matches your interests.  Maui might be ideal for learning Asian cuisine. And, consider moving to New England if you want to learn chowders. 

How much does a culinary academy cost?

A public culinary school and a private culinary academy have very different price tags.  Private culinary academy courses can cost up to $30,000 a year, and if you have to borrow money to pay that, your post-school financial life may be bleak for a few years. 

For the new chef who is starting an associate or bachelor’s degree in culinary arts, a public culinary academy might be the best choice.  Check to see the services they offer to students and alumni.  Any culinary arts program should have connections for internships, job placement assistance, and successful alumni mentors.