There are plenty of articles and blogs written about culinary school, from Lucky Peach to Jacob Burton’s Ask Chef Jacob podcast. You’ll get a range of opinions, sometimes biased by whether the author herself/himself went to a culinary arts program or has hired graduates from programs. I thought long and hard about whether to attend school – I researched the major programs in the area and even asked area food writer Ronald Holden of Cornichon. He was a hell-no, for the record.
Recently, Chef Jacob finally recorded his response that he often gives to readers who ask him his opinion. He’s a graduate of the California Culinary Academy, which became a Le Cordon Bleu program. Seattle’s tech program Kitchen Academy was also absorbed by that for-profit organization. His opinion is clear, and I think you should hear it from himself.
As I listened to his podcast, I thought, I wonder what some of my mentors and non-traditional cooks think about culinary school? Well, I figured I’d ask them and decided to record their conversation rather than take furious notes (which I did anyway).
Have a listen, and then let me know whether you attended culinary school and why it was (or was not) helpful in your career.
I chose to attend school because I wanted to formalize my training and to network with heavy hitters in the Seattle food scene. I also planned to use it to leverage my launch into R&D. It was a specific plan, and several chef instructors and mentors helped me reach and leap.
This interview is a preview of what I’m hoping to create – a podcast forum for chefs to share their careers, their wisdom, and their suggestions for other foodies, culinarians, and product developers. Let me know what you think!