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Thinking of Culinary School? Think Again.

So you're thinking about fulfilling your culinary dreams by going to culinary school and getting a dream job on Food TV. Turns out you're not alone. Right now, a record number of aspiring chefs are enrolling in culinary school (some of which charge more than $20,000 a year). However, many graduates are finding themselves up to their eyeballs in debt, working long hours, making low wages at entry-level jobs. To learn more about it,


Industry observers say celebrity chefs like Rachael Ray and Emeril Lagasse — with his trademark exclamation, "Bam!" — helped launch the craze. The rising popularity of cable TV's The Food Network and reality shows like "Top Chef" and "Hell's Kitchen" are fueling it.

"It looks really fun on TV," said Tim Ryan, president of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., one of the country's premier training grounds for chefs. "You've got an audience adoring you. You say, 'Bam!' and throw some stuff on a plate and everyone goes nuts.

"That's not what happens," he said. "The work is long and hard. There's a lot of pressure."

So, if you're thinking about enrolling in culinary school, you may want to really consider the reasons why. The percentage of would-be chefs are up, and so is the number of food service jobs, but unfortunately the number of chefs and head cooks has stayed the same.

Source: Inside Bay Area

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Join The Conversation
missnomi missnomi 9 years
working in a kitchen is hardly glamorous. My sister used to be a chef and she was always knackered! Working long hours, and not very much variation (being 'in charge' of potato frying for an entire night is no exception)... she quit after a few years of working in the best kitchens.
puddinpie puddinpie 9 years
^Baking does not take a lot of time or effort, contrary to what most people think. I can put together a cake from scratch usually in about 10 minutes (depending on the beating time), although I've made so many in my life that I just need to glance at the ingredients and the type of cake (e.g. chiffon) and then I don't really need to consult the book for the steps again. If you're looking for a place to start, you can't get any easier (or quicker) than making a batch of shortbread! :)
yayita yayita 9 years
For quite a few years I wanted to go to baking school. I still would love to learn to bake and ake desserts but I have no time :(
luvbriere luvbriere 9 years
Quite a few of the personalities on the Food Network never went to culinary school. I think people think it is going to be some fun walk in the food park. It is hard and you have to have thick skin because you get yelled at...a lot!
puddinpie puddinpie 9 years
^If you want to be the next "Rachel Ray", you don't need to go to culinary school. She was doing demos in an upscale grocery store when she got "discovered".
girly_girl girly_girl 9 years
Thanks for the info Yum. I've always wanted to go to culinary school! I definitely am taking cooking courses for fun...maybe I will just stick to that. I would love to be the next Rachel Ray! :P
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