degree vs. certificate

Joined Sep 17, 2004
i'm new to the forum and have a question. i'm currently 28 yrs old, hold a master's degree, and practice as a nurse anesthetist three days a week making six figures. but before i went into anesthesia, i wanted to pursue a culinary education but didn't want to work 100 hrs a week and make half as much. but i do LOVE cooking...that's why i intend on going back. i plan to either start in CSCA or the san diego program where i accept a certificate. is there any difference in the food industry whether i have a degree or a certificate??? the training i priorities lie in being able to support a family. BUT...i would love to work in anesthesia like two days out of the week and as a chef three days. is that possible? I don't know if i feel inclined to dish out 45 grand vs. 20 grand in culinary education. please respond.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
You cannot work as a chef three days a week. It's a time and a half job.

If you just want to work in a kitchen, you don't need a certificate, servsafe is more helpful than a culinary something.

If you only want to work three days a week but don't want to make crudites and fruit trays all day then you have to have been a chef before somewhere with good skills and ability to step right in.

Time for rethink... :)
Joined Aug 17, 2004
Yeah....she CAN work as a chef 3 days a week. She becomes a Personal Chef. She has the best of most worlds. Let me see here:

Holy shmooey!! SIX FIGURES?? THREE DAYS A FRIGGIN' WEEK? :eek: How does one get this gig! I can work my three days as a Personal Chef...and "supplement my income" with this. ;) Where do I go for my education? ;) ::: packing my bags ::::

By CSCA I imagine that's a CA school? I attended the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in Boston, MA.

I don't think so. In my experience, getting these jobs, no one checks your "degree" or "credentials" when you apply at a restaurant. They're usually so psyched to have someone intelligent, drug-free and passionate they'll take you in a "degree is needed" if you want restaurant life. Just find a fave, well respected house, and send them your resume with a well crafted cover letter. Mention ALL the stuff you just said here. YOU'RE IN LIKE FLYNN!! BUT: Can you HANDLE "restaurant life" is the question you need to ask yourself! I could not...hence I work for myself as a Personal Chef.

Hopefully, you won't be dumb enough to fall for that. ;) A culinary education is FUN. That's why I went for 10 months. BUT...You will learn ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW in the FIELD. Save your money. Although...with 6 figs, maybe you can toss 20 grand away...I dunno. Good luck!
Joined Oct 23, 2003
Don't know that i'd agree with that. There a many "right" ways to do something, there are many more "wrong" ways to do it, perpetuated often.I attended CSCA while ago, ran about 16k for the year course-its been a few years ;). It was worth it then but i wouldn't shell out the $$ now days. lab times are down to 5 hours or so a class-after lecture, prep and cleanup you got maybe i dish out? The le cordon bleu degree is highly overrated IMO-just a paper mill now days.
Attend your local program to get your feet wet, save some bucks, and see if it's really what you want to do.

Yes a chef is a full time job, even if are physically not there you are(or should be) mentally. As said though there are various ways to fullfill you desires in the culinary field.
hth, danny
Joined Aug 17, 2004
An example of how some of these schools take your money...when I joined the CSCA for the Professional Chef's Program in 1996, it cost about $6,000 LESS :eek: than it does now! And I'd bet ANYTHING that they are still using the SAME recipes and materials. If one does go to culinary school, I suggest comparing prices and programs pretty carefully.
Joined Sep 17, 2004
thanks guys for the reply...yeah, i guess i'm happy giving anesthesia and making a good income. but i do LOVE cooking. by the way...i'm a male, think someone had me mistaken for a woman. anyways...

so that personal chef thing caught my attention though. can anyone elaborate a bit more on that occupation? thanks! much appreciated.
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