Applying to Culinary Arts Schools Alexandria VA
Temple Hills, MD
Silver Spring, MD
Applying to Culinary Arts Schools
Entering a culinary art school seems like a twofold decision. For one, cooking schools and culinary art degrees are new to the industry. Chefs from a decade or two ago actually do not have culinary art degrees and did not enter culinary art schools; they gained their knowledge of the art of cooking through practice, reading, and experience. In fact, an artist of any kind (not just those connected to the culinary arts) can tell you: arts degrees are useful, but not necessary. This applies to writers, painters, musicians—and chefs.
But as the years passed, applying to culinary arts schools became more and more necessary. For one, the more recent acclaimed chefs did enter culinary schools. Most (though not all) chefs today are school-trained before they entered the restaurant industry. And because they entered these schools, most of the head chefs and even chef slash restaurateur consider a culinary art degree as a solid qualification for employment. Obviously, the decision to make is a difficult one, although considering application to a culinary arts school is imperative if you are indeed serious about cooking.
Culinary art school consideration
So what should you consider when applying to culinary art schools?
First off: the impending expenses. Culinary art school education is not cheap. On the contrary, it is rather expensive, perhaps even more expensive than the traditional schools. Good culinary arts schools charge around 40,000 dollars, and this doesn’t even including any additional expenses. Although there are a number of schools that offer non-degree continuing education programs (which should be shorter in duration compared to degree courses), they can still cost a consideration amount of money. Can you afford this? A great alternative are community colleges that offer culinary art degrees. Here, expect to spend 20,000 to 25,000 dollars less than culinary arts schools, yet they also provide solid culinary education
Applying to culinary arts schools with American Culinary Federation accreditation is a good plan. The ACF is an organization that serves as a regulatory board for culinary schools in the country. Hence, an accreditation from the ACF means the culinary art school passed the organization’s stringent standards. To be accredited, the ACF assesses the school’s curriculum, instructors, facilities, and several others—so basically, the accreditation is like a badge of quality, a sign that the school is indeed a top-quality school.
The accreditation also means something else: age and pedigree. An accredited school usually means it has been around for quite some time, which should mean one thing—it already has a very impressive pool of alumni. It’s not about networking. Instead, it’s about trying to impress the powers that be in the industry. For instance, if you apply for a job in the food industry, there’s a chance that one of the head chefs you will encounter is an alumni from your culinary art school. It wouldn’t mean an immediately employment, but this kind of connection certainly wouldn’t hurt your chances of getting hired.
For instance, one of the oldest culinary schools in the country is the Culinary Institute of America. Established during the 1940s, it has a number of notable alumni. If you this school, then you’re essentially following their legacy. This is something you want to have in favor when applying for a restaurant job.
Facilities and the hands-on program the school provides are also top considers when applying to culinary arts schools. Cooking during the course, obviously, should be expected. If the school doesn’t have the latest equipment, how can you be ready to face the real world of cooking outside the school? This is where community colleges and smaller cooking schools could falter; there is a good reason why culinary arts schools are expensive, after all.
The hands-on program, on the other, is usually in the form of the school’s in-house restaurant. It serves as the school’s training ground for students. Although most cooking schools have these hands-on programs, what you should consider is how it depicts real restaurant situations. Their program has to have customers equaling to the number of real restaurants. If not, this means it wouldn’t be able to provide you the proper restaurant experience.
Culinary art school application
Applying to culinary arts schools is somewhat different from traditional school applications for two reasons: arts school requires students to already have some sort of mastery from their chosen field and some schools require previous food service experience. The Culinary Institute of America, for instance, requires applicants to have previous food service experience. Granted, the experience necessary isn’t limited to cooking (as long as the experience is in the food service), but it can hinder your plans if you do not have this kind of credential. Essentially, this is necessary in order to weed out applicants. This ensures that all of the applicants already have the sufficient and necessary experience to survive the school and that they have the passion for the food business.
If you’re determined to enter the food business as a culinary chef, you’d work on the requirement. If not, you’d simply just reconsider your plan.
The experience required is actually essential for aspiring culinary artists—and not only for the purpose of culinary art school application. The food industry is very tough and is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Television shows such as Top Chef or cooking shows on the Food Network may make cooking appear glamorous and glossy. But before you can even achieve a level close to that kind of glamour and comfort, you’d really need to slave down the bottom of the food chain (pun definitely intended). Therefore, you really need to experience firsthand how it is to work in a restaurant and the food industry in general. Is this something you think you can do for a long time? Experience will give you the much needed perspective when applying to culinary arts schools.
Of course, you really want to be a chef, you don’t need to get in a culinary art school. It can help, needless to say, but it is only one of the options you have. Once you have the money and experience, you can try it out.