Cooking is not only about creating delicious meals, it is also about learning how to master different techniques and flavors. In order to achieve this, it takes a lot of practice. If you’re a foodie, chances are you have tried cooking new dishes at home or in a restaurant. For people who are serious about their culinary career, there is no better way to hone your skills than by attending a reputable culinary school.
This year, the James Beard Foundation announced the winners of its 2022 Restaurant and Chef Awards, which are given annually to restaurants and chefs whose work advances culinary arts. The awards were presented at a ceremony that tours the world, and they were voted on by thousands of culinary professionals and the general public. The awards recognize talent and achievement in the categories of food, hospitality, media, and the broader food system. This year, New York City stood out, with a number of standouts taking home top honors.
In the culinary world, there are many paths to becoming a chef. Some choose to attend culinary school while others start in entry-level positions in restaurants and work their way up the ranks. Those that go to culinary school usually learn the basics of multiple types of cuisines, as well as the responsibilities that come with being a part of a kitchen team. Those that decide to go the route of working their way up the ranks often find themselves in charge of a kitchen or a food business.
Culinary schools vary in reputation and price, but most offer an educational experience that will prepare students for a variety of culinary jobs. One of the most renowned culinary schools is the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), which was named “Best Culinary School in America” by The Daily Meal in 2016. Other highly rated programs include Pikes Peak Community College, which offers various associate degree concentrations and certificates in areas such as baking principles and professional catering.
As the culinary world continues to shift, it is exciting to see that women and people of color are gaining ground in the industry. The recent James Beard Awards, for example, marked the first time in history that a majority of the award winners were either women or people of color. The awards also reflected the #MeToo movement, with many voters choosing not to nominate restaurants or chefs who had been previously been accused of sexual misconduct.
While tuition can be expensive, most culinary students graduate debt-free thanks to scholarships and personal savings. Moreover, three out of four chefs interviewed by Food & Wine said that culinary school was worth it. The answer to this question, however, will depend on what your end goal is: if you want to become the owner of a fine dining restaurant, for example, culinary school may be a must.