A Michelin Star, a James Beard Award, or a place on the World’s Best Restaurants list is an impressive achievement for any chef. But the secret to their success isn’t luck—it’s years of hard work. Whether working in the kitchen of a fine dining restaurant or running their own cooking show, chefs are constantly refining their craft. If you’re serious about becoming a chef, formal training is a must. And fortunately, there are numerous culinary schools in the United States and across the globe that offer a variety of degree programs to suit your particular career goals.
The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) has a global presence and is one of the most well-known culinary schools in the country, with campuses from coast to coast and a food business school that trains students on how to run a restaurant. Their accelerated, four-month professional development program is designed to get students started in the industry as quickly as possible.
In addition to the prestigious degree program, CIA has a range of professional certifications and internship opportunities that can help you land your dream job. They also offer a number of certificate programs in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts, as well as hospitality management. Johnson and Wales University, on the other hand, offers a broader array of degrees. Their ten different culinary programs include culinary arts, culinary nutrition, culinary science, bakery and pastry arts, and restaurant and food service management.
If you want to become a professional chef, it’s important to take the time to choose the right culinary school for your needs. Look for a school that offers the program that best fits your career goals, and is accredited by a nationally recognized governing body.
A reputable culinary school will provide you with the hands-on experience you need to succeed in the kitchen. It will also give you the opportunity to meet other like-minded students, many of whom will end up working in restaurants or running their own cooking shows in the future.
Even if you don’t plan on becoming a chef, having the right culinary skills will make your life easier. Luckily, there are plenty of books and online resources to teach you the basics. You can also learn from the pros by tuning into television shows like Bravo’s Top Chef or watching Anthony Bourdain on Travel Channel. And, of course, there are always the countless cooking competitions on the web.
Aside from being fun to watch, these shows and competitions can also give you the confidence boost you need to take your cooking to the next level. And of course, it doesn’t hurt to read a few cookbooks or pick up a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated to figure out exactly why a recipe works or doesn’t.