Benefits of Culinary School
Jul 01, 2020 12:55 PM EDT | By Staff Reporter
Anyone who wants to work in a kitchen may spend time weighing the pros and cons of attending culinary school. While it is possible to work your way up through the ranks of a kitchen, becoming a chef after putting in years of hard work, it is not always the best way to do so. Attending college to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in culinary arts prepares you for the back of house work of a busy restaurant in a more well-rounded way than if you learn on the job. Many people want to avoid the financial outlay of attending college. Private student loans allow you to pay for your school expenses while earning your degree. Once you graduate, you will be in a better position to earn competitive compensation than if you attempt to work your way up from an entry-level dishwasher position.
It is possible to learn how a kitchen works on the job, but the fast-paced atmosphere is not an environment that is best for learning. The high-stress environment of a busy kitchen does not offer many chances for more experienced workers to train a novice. You will be expected to learn quickly and follow directions that may be confusing and conflicting. Learning the skills needed to work in a commercial kitchen as part of a college degree program ensures that you learn the proper methods of food preparation and plating, without stress and with the explanation about what matters, and why things are done a particular way. It also ensures that you know how to do things properly. Once you are working in the fast-paced kitchen environment it is common to use shortcuts, but this will not be a handicap if you have learned how to do things properly in school.
An Established Curriculum
A college curriculum is designed to build on itself. You learn the basics before you learn more advanced skills. This is normal for any degree, whether your major is education, engineering, or cooking. By earning a college degree in culinary arts, you can be confident that your education is built step by step in a way that makes sense and gives you progressive responsibilities. By the time you graduate you will have learned everything from safe food temperatures and storage methods, efficient food preparation methods, basic business practices, and more.
A college degree can help you find more lucrative job opportunities as well as qualify for better jobs and promotions. In a field where many of your coworkers are learning on the job, a college degree will help you stand out. This does not mean you won't have to work hard. Working in a commercial kitchen is a competitive, stressful business, and it isn't for everyone. If, once you enter the workforce, you find the job is not what you expected, having a degree gives you options. You may want to transition into a different position, working in an assisted living kitchen, catering facility, or even pivot into a career in food research or hospitality management.