For the budding chef, attending cooking school is a major stepping stone to a successful career. There are many benefits to this – culinary schools teach a wide variety of skills you would find useful in paid kitchen work, including techniques for preparing a variety of cuisines and instructors who can give you their undivided attention.
The best culinary schools in the world often come with other perks, such as internships or placements at top-notch restaurants. This, in the minds of many students, justifies their exuberant costs. the Culinary Arts School Auguste Escoffierfor example, often places among the three best establishments of its kind in the world, and its fee of US$30,935 reflects this result.
This may be justifiable if students were guaranteed well-paying jobs after graduation, but this is hardly the case. Graduates of the most prestigious culinary schools can only land roles as line managers or deputy managers after completing their course. Here, they only earn between 2% and 11% more than chefs with a high school diploma.
Unfortunately, this often limits culinary schools to a select few who can afford the high price tag. However, that doesn’t mean a culinary arts education is unattainable – and its solution comes in the form of community colleges in the United States.
A degree from a community college is generally considered undesirable or inferior to those from private universities. Despite this, many are moving up the ranks by offering an education that is just as – or perhaps much more – valuable than what is offered at more well-known institutions. How, exactly, do they do this? By providing one that is rooted in practicality rather than prestige.
“There’s always a stigma that it’s a community college,” Martin Kester of Sussex County Community College Recount The New York Times. He currently acts as the Program Supervisor for Culinary Arts and Hospitality. “That’s something we work very hard to change with programs like this that are very forward-looking and immersed in the community.”
Sussex County is one of many community colleges in the United States to refocus its culinary arts course to reflect the local demand for competent and qualified cooks. With that, he’s now turning his sights to professional cooking — and given his recent graduates’ 100% employment rate over the past three years, that strategy is working.
“They learn to work in the real kitchens that most restaurants in the United States are, rather than being trained to work at the top restaurant level,” said Los Angeles restaurant owner Mina Park. at the New York Times. “There is this curiosity, this openness and this go-getter attitude.” She says many have “less ego” than those who went to private schools.
“All the teachers are really there for you,” adds student Stephanie Kirkpatrick. “The big schools, they have a lot of things to do. It is more difficult for them to be closer to the students.