Is Culinary School Worth It?
I had mixed reactions from people when I asked their opinions on whether or not I should go to culinary school. Ultimately, I think culinary school is worth it for some and not for others - it totally depends on your personality and final goal. For me, it was totally worth it for several reasons.
- Technique - I gained a ton of new techniques. Though I’d worked in kitchens, I never had to practice the same thing over and over again, nor did I have the time to do it at home. But with my sole focus being on school, I could break down as many chickens and brunoise as many carrots as it took to get it right. My knife skills had gotten exponentially better, though they’re still not as fast as I’d like. Plus, learning traditional techniques is awesome because so much of modern cuisine, even the new molecular gastronomy and such, is based off of basic technique.
- Speed & efficiency - I was already pretty quick and hard working, but I quickly learned that I was not organized and efficient enough. Once I got that down, it made me so much faster. All of Level 4 was about practicing techniques, but more about organization, speed and efficiency. It really prepared me for what was next.
- Connections - Everybody always says it’s not what you know but who you know, and I think in the food industry this may not be more true than any other industry, but it’s certainly just as true. Without the connections I had through the school there was probably no way I would have gotten into the kitchens that I am. I have incredible opportunities because I was hooked up through school.