Realistic Cooking Schools Prep Students for Stardom

Some cooking schools seem to promise the world to their students, creating big dreams of wildly successful careers as a top chef at some 5-star restaurant (perhaps the student’s own establishment).

It is true that a premier cooking school will catapult an already passionate student nearer to the realm of possibility, but it takes a winning student with a flexible mind and creative talent to achieve that kind of success.

While becoming a star chef is certainly a real possibility, getting there has less to do with the school and more to do with the student. What cooking schools may be less inclined to discuss with students is that becoming a star chef means first becoming a good underling. No need to blame the school – it’s their job to support the dreams of students; to create an atmosphere where students can believe in their self because this is what leads to star-quality.

However, assuming that a good school is defined as one that is honest with prospective students about the future, great cooking schools are open to this kind of discussion at the time of admission. There are very few chefs that come out of school and immediately gain stardom in their discipline. To be realistic, a future top chef spends the first half of his or her career putting in kitchen time as a reliable and diligent sous-chef, assistant to the head chef, and even a prep cook.

Entertainment Magazine (the one about entertaining guests, not the other one) recently produced their list of top 10 culinary schools based on feedback from food editors, journalists who write about cuisine and the people who will hire the graduates – restaurant owners in North America. Apparently, there are some cooking schools that really do get it right. Their top three cooking schools were The Culinary Arts Institute of America, The French Culinary Institute of New York City, and the Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute.