Why You Don't Have to Go to Culinary School to Learn How to CookFeb 11, 2021
So, you’re considering culinary school?
Whether you want to become a professional vegan chef, open your own plant-based restaurant chain, or simply wish to learn how to cook delicious food, then culinary school is certainly one way to achieve this.
But it’s not the only way. Nor, perhaps, is it the best way.
At a time when the popularity of plant-based cuisine is increasing and kitchen bullying is gradually diminishing, so the routes into a chef career are evolving.
In this article we’ll discuss the pros and cons of culinary school and some of the alternatives you may wish to consider, including apprenticeships and online cooking classes.
What is culinary school?
A culinary school is a professional institution dedicated to the art and science of food preparation and cooking. It combines discipline with traditional techniques to teach individuals the skills they need to learn how to cook.
Why go to culinary school?
There are many different reasons why people want to learn how to cook and consequently, there are many different types of cooking school. For example, some institutions offer academic degrees and diplomas for those who wish to become professional chefs, whereas others are aimed towards amateur enthusiasts who simply want to expand their cooking repertoire.
What do you learn at culinary school?
Once again, this depends on the school or the cooking course you wish to take. The foundation courses will cover anything from knife skills to kitchen organization, recipe and menu development, safety and sanitation, and plating.
Location can also determine what is taught and some aspiring chefs travel across the globe to attend specific culinary schools, such as to study French classical cooking in France or pasta making in Italy.
Some schools are even geared towards existing professionals who wish to add to their repertoire or specialize in the art of pâtisserie for example.
Do you need to go to culinary school?
There are plenty of passionate arguments for and against cooking institutions, particularly because many successful chefs rose to fame without any formal training. Tom Colicchio, Ina Garten, Gordon Ramsey, Rachael Ray, Chloe Coscarelli (by Chloe), and Henry Firth & Ian Theasby (Bosh!) are all professional chefs that never went to culinary school.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of top chefs that promote cooking schools. After all, it can provide a well-rounded education, plenty of hands-on experience, numerous networking opportunities, expert teaching staff, training on how to use unique and expensive equipment, and an impressive qualification from a recognised establishment to boot!
On the other hand, culinary classes can involve incredibly long hours, stressful and pressurized atmosphere, teachers with high expectations, strict attendance rules, and a high prevalence of bullying and bias. Cuts and burns due to the fast paced environment are common.
Culinary school also ranges from $17,000 for a Culinary Arts Certificate to as high as $120,000 for a Bachelor’s Degree. Many of these courses require full-time attendance, making it difficult for those of us with a life!
What’s more, if you’re vegan, you’d be hard pushed to find an institution that won’t force you to gut a fish or debone a chicken.
What are the alternatives to going to culinary school?
You’ll be glad to know that there are many!
Of course, you could do it the old fashioned way by working your way up the ranks and learning on the job, or by taking an apprenticeship.
But, if Masterchef has taught us anything, it’s that anyone can become a professional chef without any prior experience.
Of course, one could argue that culinary school provides one with a professional advantage and benefits that no other option can offer. Nevertheless, the cons outweigh the pros for many individuals.
In which case, is there a way in which one could go to a cooking academy whilst avoiding all of the disadvantages?
The solution? Online culinary school!
For many years, cooking academies have lacked inclusivity. Factors like finance, poor accessibility, and illness have prevented many individuals from learning how to cook through a professional institution.
Thanks to the rise of the Internet, online culinary schools have been able to establish themselves and offer online cooking classes to the masses.
What are the benefits of online cooking classes?
Nowadays, you can benefit from all of the advantages of learning from a professional institution whilst avoiding the disadvantages, simply by enrolling in an online culinary school.
You can take these classes and learn all of the essential skills and techniques from the comfort of your own kitchen, without the pressure of performing in front of an angry chef.
If you get sick, you can take a day off to recover.
Need to take your child to school? Go to work? Practice self-care? Online culinary school will let you do that.
The Internet allows you to learn from trained professionals from all over the world. You can take the lessons in your own time and you can repeat them as many times as you want.
Raw food? Thai cuisine? Swiss chocolate? Vegan classic Italian? Vegan cheese? Choose which courses and cuisines you wish to learn based on your needs and requirements.
There’s no pressure to compete against your classmates, but you still have the benefits of joining an online community.
With an online culinary school, you can still receive personal feedback, network with other students, and achieve cooking certifications, without the bullying, strict attendance rules, or emptying your pockets in the process!
Ready to learn how to cook?
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