culinary school.. important to go or not?

Joined Jun 2, 2004
Well.. I am writting a paper on being a pastry chef and I have a question that is on opinion based and not facts. The question is "Is it important to go to culinary school or not?" I am having a hard time finding people's opinion. So if anyone has one, it would be really appreciative if you can share it. Thanks a bunch..
Joined Apr 28, 2003
Welcome to ChefTalk

There are pros you can argue on both sides

The first major pro is that you get your much needed diploma/degree into what your studying. That shines on your resume and what shines just as much is where you went, you won't want to hire a pastry chef out of Clown School in Butfukinnowere Town would you? Plus, if you've never gotten experiance before, schools will take you in and give you experiance.

Now, if you just went out to the work force, you get the full monty experiance and no schooling can match what experiancing the real thing can teach you. Your chef prof can only teach you the basics and fundamentals where as life in the kitchen can't be taught.

Good luck with your paper.
Joined Jun 2, 2004
I think that it is not necessary to go to school to become a pastary Chef, but it is vitally important to eliminate trial and error mistakes which can make becoming a chef frustrating. There is one comon denominator, even though some things are classic,
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Shorty15Girl, take a look at the Culinary Students' forum. There are LOTS of discussions (some from earlier dates) on this topic. Enjoy the whole site! There is a lot to learn here and many good people to meet.
Joined Nov 13, 2003
i am currently enroled in a culinary shcool in virginia. i can tell you that when it comes to cooking what i learned from mother dearest has gotten me far. unfortunately in my opinion that was not enough. for me my goal is to become a CMC and CMPC (certified master chef, certified master pastry chef) in the kitchen i am constantly striving for perfection and unfortunately what i have learned in years of catering wedings and other functions with Ma i just havent had the drive for everything being of the best things i have descovered in culinary shcool is constructive criticism. i think that i have a ton of good ideas running around in my head and i have proven that i do in a few competitions and just farting around with freinds, but before i started shcool i lacked the extreme focus on time, cost, technique, and honestly the art. my chef instructor Chef Breckoff has helped me to focus my skills and talent from a stream a mile wide to one about a foot wide and everyone i work with has been able to tell a difference. so to end this reply sweetly; i recomend culinary shcool to everyone interested in joining the ranks of the culinary elite. i also strongly recomend joining the ACF (American Culinary Federation) i have found that my local chapter the Virginia Chefs Association has been a fountain of knowlage and it is a great way to network and get your name into the local restaurant scene. GOOD LUCK ON THE PAPER!!!!! :chef:


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Of course it is important to go to culinary school! But it's also important to get work experience. It's also important that you find a job, make money, pay your bills, and keep your nose clean. None of the above is more important than the other, it's what's more important for you given where you are in your life.

I would have loved to go to culinary school but I wanted to make a living more than I wanted to look pretty in a chefcoat and a floppy toque. Instead I worked through the ranks and gained my education through continuing education and seminars. I would say my culinary education is at least equal to if not better than someone with a two year culinary degree.

Joined Nov 20, 2000
Kuan is a perfect example of the not going to school side. Perhaps if I looked I would have known, but only going by his posts I would never have guessed Kuan didn't go to culinary school. I would guess he knows as much and even more than some about food and cooking even without the AOS degree. Nice job Kuan :chef: , I am suitably impressed!
Joined Nov 29, 2001
Culinary school, as with any other type of education, can be a component in the training of a good chef (pastry or otherwise). A deep desire to participate in this art; training under an experienced chef; and one's own experience complete the education.

On its own, culinary school is about as effective as anything else - if it's not applied, it goes to waste. Spending two years in a culinary program, even in the best school, does not make one a chef, it supplies information which must then be put into practice.

Is it important? I'd venture to say yes, it is. I would recommend going to culinary school vs. not going for anyone who is serious about a career in the culinary field.
Joined Jun 6, 2004
I graduated from a two-year culinary program about a year ago, and I would get killed in a commercial kitchen. Culinary school is not like the real world, as I found out during my internship, but it does give a person the opportunity to learn the basics and make mistakes. Tony

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