At this point in my career, would it be worth the money to go to culinary school

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by brendanarntz, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. brendanarntz


    Likes Received:
    Professional Chef

    I am currently the executive chef at a restaurant in Seattle.  I've been working as a professional cook all my life, I have 13 year of total cooking experience of which 5 years have been as leads in various restaurants in Seattle and Portland, and I've been Executive Chef for about 2 years now.  Recently I've been thinking about going to culinary school to polish my skills, but I can't help but wonder if it will benefit my career to the point of being worth the cost of tuition.  

    What do you guys think?  Is there anyone else out there who has gone to school after already working their way to the top?  Did it pay off?  

    Let me know what you guys think
  2. goldilocks


    Likes Received:
    Cook At Home
    Hi Brendan,

    My personal and honest opinion is that it's not worth you giving your position of Executive Chef to go back to school. You probably have more than enough experience already, and I'm not totally convinced you'd learn all that much more. Personally, I think the pro's will outweigh the gains when you consider you'll have to give up your job, lose your income and lose the good position you currently have.

    Maybe if money isn't an issue for you and you're confident you'll get a good job after school (i.e you have enough contacts already in the culinary world to be able to get back on track quickly and at the level you're currently at or even etter) then it wouldn’t be that bad a choice.

    Sorry to sound so pessimistic. Good luck with deciding, it's a tough one.

  3. steelybob


    Likes Received:
    if you ever decide to, I would only consider going to one of the top schools in the country as that is a) likely the only way the program would be of value, and b) will provide a much more solid network for you to work.

    somewhere like CIA or J&W is what I mean.
  4. chefross


    Likes Received:
    Former Chef
    In my opinion, after going to college for 6 years after high school while working In the industry the whole time, I would say this to you Brendan;

    Since you already know the how, the when, and the where, do you know the why?

    So...if the answer is no, not really, then grab and ring and go with it. 

    What I mean is experience is not the same thing as knowledge....

    No one, and I mean no one, can say that they know it all, even after decades in the industry.

    I go on to say that in my experiences, I have come across people who's credentials are impressive but their knowledge

    makes me question their former Chef's and are usually indicative of the attitudes and proclivities of their former Chefs.

    Are you  financially able to quit your Chef's job and go back to school?

    Are you going to do this part-time while still keeping your hands in the industry?
    steelybob likes this.