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Is Cooking School Worth It? Top Five Reasons to Enroll

Will cooking school be worth your while?

Once you've decided on a career in the culinary arts, you're next decision likely has to do with whether or not to attend cooking school.

Given the current economy and the serious chunk of change that is cooking school tuition, you may be wondering if attending a culinary arts program still qualifies as a smart investment.

While it's certainly possible to launch your culinary career the old-fashioned way—by taking a low-level job in a restaurant kitchen and working your way through the ranks—there are still some significant benefits to formal training.

Read on to learn the top five reasons why cooking school is worth considering.

1. At cooking school, you won't get fired for making mistakes.

Cooking school welcomes beginners. You can ask all the questions you want, and while you may take some flak if you're slow to learn, at least you won't be tossed out on the sidewalk. This is particularly important when it comes to working with expensive ingredients.

2. Learn perfect technique.

Working in a fast-paced restaurant kitchen, you may end up doing what you need to do to get by, rather than learning to do things correctly. You may not enjoy your cooking school instructors hovering over your work station, critiquing everything from your knife skills to how you're roasting that chicken, but your technique will likely be the better for their constant attention.

3. Develop a wide breadth of knowledge.

At cooking school, your curriculum will likely include a broad range of courses. From knowing how to prepare a banquet to studying various ethnic cuisines, cooking school will give you the opportunity to develop a knowledge base that would take years to build in any other setting.

4. Make professional contacts.

Your cooking school instructors and classmates will serve as excellent references throughout your career, and many culinary schools have career placement offices that will continue to work with you, as needed, for years after you graduate.

5. Learn basic business management.

Business skills are critical to your ability to advance to the top ranks in a professional kitchen, but chances are slim that anyone in a busy kitchen is going to sit down with you and show you how to use a spreadsheet—let alone the business skills that require the use of spreadsheets. While it may be tempting to forgo cooking school, keep in mind that some types of learning are simply more suited to a classroom.


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