The Complete Culinary School Guide An Extensive Look at Culinary Schools & Careers Including Cooking, Pastry, Management & Wine

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Today’s economy demands a skilled, trained, and educated workforce and completing post-secondary degree or certificate programs has become a prerequisite for an increasing number of occupations. In fact, research from the Center for Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University projected that by 2018, nearly two-thirds of all jobs in the United States will require some type of postsecondary education.

Best Culinary Schools and Programs: 2017

Culinary students have many options to consider when choosing the right culinary school and program. Whether their interests lie in restaurant management, food preparation, or other specializations, it is vital that they enroll in a program that offers their desired area of study and will help them excel in the field. Through extensive analysis, we have served-up the best on-campus and online culinary programs and ranked them based on our criteria. Learn more about the best culinary schools and programs for 2017 here.

Rank School Title Net Price Financial Aid Total Programs Student-Teacher ratio Ranking Score School Description Additional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1 San Jacinto College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
11
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 99.70
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
2 Pima Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 99.44
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
3 Delaware Technical Community College-Stanton/Wilmington Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
7%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 99.42
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
4 Del Mar College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
18%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 99.31
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
5 Athens Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 99.06
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
7 College of Southern Idaho Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
46%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
9
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 98.95
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
8 Edmonds Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
27%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 98.20
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
9 Richland Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
31%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 98.04
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
10 Pulaski Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
25%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.99
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
11 Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.94
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
12 Milwaukee Area Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.71
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
13 Mohave Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.67
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
14 Scottsdale Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
23%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.57
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
15 Manchester Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
39%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.48
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
16 Atlanta Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
33%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.41
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
17 Kaskaskia College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
19%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.25
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
18 St Philip's College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.03
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
19 Blue Ridge Community and Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
8%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.00
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
20 Fayetteville Technical Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.96
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
21 South Georgia Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.93
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
22 Georgia Northwestern Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.91
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
23 College of Lake County Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
9
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.88
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
24 Central New Mexico Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.86
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
25 Estrella Mountain Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
26%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.81
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
26 Santa Fe Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
8%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.66
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
27 Delgado Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.63
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
28 Jones County Junior College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
35%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.57
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
29 Elgin Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
14%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
9
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.34
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
30 Rend Lake College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
44%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.31
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
31 Henry Ford Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.23
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
32 North Georgia Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.13
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
33 Washtenaw Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
14%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.01
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
34 Sandhills Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
18%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.86
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
35 Santa Rosa Junior College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
21%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.73
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
36 Wake Technical Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.45
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
37 Renton Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.42
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
38 City College of San Francisco Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.20
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
39 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.12
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
40 Macomb Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.10
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
41 Coahoma Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
30%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.02
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
42 Southwestern Illinois College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
14%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.78
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
43 Ogeechee Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.64
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
44 Arizona Western College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
20%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.63
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
45 Central Oregon Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
8%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.63
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
46 Horry-Georgetown Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.62
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
47 Bakersfield College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
11%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.54
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
48 Grossmont College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.54
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
49 Central Piedmont Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.53
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
50 Minneapolis Community and Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.44
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
Rank School Title Net Price Financial Aid Total Programs Student-Teacher ratio Grad Rate Ranking Score School Description Additional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1 University of Alaska Anchorage Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
44%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
26%
Ranking SCORE 98.10
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
2 Johnson & Wales University-Denver Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
51%
Ranking SCORE 97.74
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
3 Johnson & Wales University-Providence Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
53%
Ranking SCORE 97.58
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
4 Baker College of Muskegon Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
80%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
18%
Ranking SCORE 97.49
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
5 Drexel University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
93%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
65%
Ranking SCORE 96.53
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
6 Culinary Institute of America Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
95%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
N/A
Ranking SCORE 96.36
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
7 Pennsylvania College of Technology Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
40%
Ranking SCORE 96.32
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
8 Southern New Hampshire University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
71%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 95.19
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
9 Mississippi University for Women Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
74%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
39%
Ranking SCORE 91.54
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
10 Mississippi State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
68%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
58%
Ranking SCORE 90.78
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
11 Southern Adventist University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
58%
Ranking SCORE 90.49
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
12 College of the Ozarks Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
79%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
62%
Ranking SCORE 90.37
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
13 Nicholls State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
32%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
39%
Ranking SCORE 90.21
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
14 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
54%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
62%
Ranking SCORE 90.13
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
15 Cornell University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
47%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
93%
Ranking SCORE 88.71
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
16 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
42%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
84%
Ranking SCORE 88.63
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
17 Texas Woman's University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
36%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
47%
Ranking SCORE 88.02
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
18 Southwest Minnesota State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
76%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
41%
Ranking SCORE 86.00
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo

Find Culinary Schools Near You

Although many chefs are able to gain success in the field by learning as they go in the kitchen for many years, culinary schools give students a solid foundation of how to work in the field through a combination of practical experience and textbook theory. Culinary degree programs can be found at trade schools and community colleges, as well as four-year colleges and universities. Prospective students should evaluate their needs and ultimate career goals in order to choose which level of education–and type of school–is best for them. The following search tool can help you find both.

State
Degree Level
School Type
Environment

Popular Culinary Degrees & Program Options

Students who want to concentrate on an area of the culinary field can find topics to specialize in, giving them the expertise they need to get a specific type of position. Explore the culinary degree and program options below to learn about the education and training required.

  • Cooking

    Cooks and chefs must procure and maintain fresh ingredients, create and refine menu items, monitor portion sizes, supervise kitchen staff and prepare food alongside other kitchen staff.

    read more
  • Pastry

    Students in this specialization focus specifically on perfecting the art of making breads, pastries, and desserts, from conception to execution.

    read more
  • Restaurant Management

    Restaurant managers train staff, perform daily accounting and oversee the front of the house. They have a “whatever it takes” attitude.

    read more
  • Hospitality Management

    From the front desk to housekeeping to the kitchen, hotel managers must be able to effectively run all of the operations, not just the ones related to food. This specialization gives students the managerial tools they need to do that and more in just about any tourism and lodging setting.

    read more
  • Wine Steward & Sommelier

    What people have to drink when they’re eating a meal is a crucial part of the experience. In this specialization, students explore how to pair the right beverages with meals, as well as winemaking, distillation and brewing.

    read more

Culinary School Learning Center

Interview with Ryan Grimm, executive chef at the California Biscuit Company in West Hollywood

About Ryan
Expert
  • Formally the Executive Chef at the Down Town Los Angeles gastro pub, Eat Drink Americano

  • Graduated from the California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Blue in 2006

  • Has worked in small fine dining restaurants as well as one of the largest hospitality companies in the word (Disney)

  • Has worked in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orlando, Seattle and Lake Arrowhead

  • Recently finished a self-driven study in Southern cuisine, which included working, for a short period of time, in some of the best restaurants in the South

I strive to be the best I can each day.  My culinary philosophy: I believe that food is so much more than just nutrition and fuel for our bodies. It can alter a person’s attitude and affect their entire day. I believe that if a guest comes in and is having a bad day, I can turn it around for them with great food and amazing service. That's my goal every time I have a guest walk through my door; everyone leaves with a smile on their face.

How did you become interested in working as a chef? 

I grew up always seeing my mom, dad and grandmothers in the kitchen.
 I had always enjoyed working in the kitchen, but I never thought about it as a career until one day after school in the 11th grade. My friends and I were hanging out at my house after school. Everyone was hungry, but nobody wanted to leave the house to get food. I threw something together in the kitchen and everybody said they enjoyed it. I never thought I could use cooking to earn money until after everyone finished, they threw money down on the table. And then it clicked in my mind... I can earn money cooking!

How did you choose the culinary school you attended? 

I chose the California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Blue. I made this decision after looking at several schools and talking with my culinary instructor in high school. Factors that landed my with the decision were: The school was one of the top in the country, it was far enough from my home that I was on my own but close enough that I could go home regularly and for a reasonable price. 

What was the best part of culinary school? 

The two best parts about the CCA were the knowledgeable instructors and the unlimited access we (the students) had to ingredients. We were encouraged to use what we needed and or wanted. If there was an ingredient that we wanted to learn to use, but the school didn't have, the instructor would put in an order and we would have it in a day or two.

What was the most challenging part of culinary school?

Hands down, the most challenging part of the CCA was that you only got what you put in (this goes for many schools and most of life). Many students fell victim to this; they felt like they weren't getting their money’s worth out of the school, so they dropped out, or they dropped out because they simply didn't care about school and they preferred to be out partying.

But for the students that did their schoolwork, read threw the books and engaged in class, culinary school was a very positive experience. I spent my free time working at the school, both as a T.A. and as a cook at their top restaurant (effectively doubling my learning time).

How did culinary school prepare you for your career?

Many people (myself included, to an extent) thought that by going to culinary school, we just automatically got top chef jobs right out of culinary school. Well...not so much. But what culinary school actually did for me (and what I believe it is designed to do) is give the students a solid base in the culinary field. We weren't walking out the door as young Thomas Kellers, but we were leaving with the skills and knowledge to get our foot in the door, impress them with what we already knew and quickly learn and pickup what other Kitchens were doing. On top of the recipes and techniques I learned, I had a basic understanding of how to run a restaurant and how to open a restaurant, and I was able to look at a PNL statement and discern enough information not to embarrass myself and to produce a PNL if called upon.

What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to become a chef?

Working in a kitchen often involves long hours, low pay, harsh working conditions and little praise. You only get what you put into it, so read all the cook books you can get your hands on, constantly research different cuisines, travel and take every opportunity you can get to go and work in different kitchens and network. Networking will quite possibly help make or break you later in your career. It’s important to have a wide varied culinary network including suppliers, cooks, dishwashers, front of house members and managers.