Is Culinary School For You?

Today’s blog post is written by a former Culinary Apprentice, CCI’s Jesse Diaz!

Here’s a little bit about him… 

Education: 2012 Culinary Apprentice Graduate, Humber College
Training: Metropolitan Hotel (currently the Doubletree), The Windsor Arms Hotel
Favourite courses in school: Culinary Skills and Techniques, Butchery Practical, Discovering the World of Wine

Have you ever considered turning your love of food into a career?  Are you curious to know how professional cook’s and chef’s turn simple ingredients into artistic, mouth-watering works of art?  Or do you just want to learn how to cook like the pros? Regardless of what your goals are, there is a culinary program out there to suit your needs.

Cooking isn’t always easy. It’s not always the glitz, glam and entertainment we get to see on TV. To be able to cook is a skill.  Some people innately possess this skill, but for others cooking can be a foreign language.  The beauty of cooking is that anyone and everyone can learn.  There are hundreds of culinary schools across North America, but is it really the institution that determines the individual’s success?

Like any student, you should conduct your due diligence – but what’s the basic criterion for someone who wants to learn the art of cooking? Here’s a short list of questions to ask yourself. The different answers could ultimately play into your final decision. It might be worth seriously considering these things before choosing which school is the best fit for you.

  • Are there state-of-the-art facilities?
  • Are the culinary professors devoted and knowledgeable?
  • Are there opportunities to be involved in extra-curricular activities?
  • What are the curriculum and course descriptions?
  • What is the student to faculty ratio?
  • Does the cuisine focus match your interests and goals?
  • Is there flexibility in class schedules?
  • Are there any internship opportunities?
  • How many graduates find jobs after graduation?

Aside from all the bells and whistles that these culinary schools will insistently promote towards their future students, it ultimately boils down to you.  What do you want out of the experience?  Do you someday want to be the executive chef, running your own kitchen brigade and calling all the shots? Or do you simply want to learn how to make the perfect soufflé?  Regardless of what your ultimate goal is, it is of utmost importance to be prepared to have a work ethic that matches your passion.

If you are stuck at a crossroads I hope this helped you get back on track and helps you focus on the right things. Feel free to leave comments and questions and I will do my best to answer them!

– Jesse Diaz


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