Do you have to go to culinary school to be called a chef?



I'm not looking for opinions here. I understand the amount of dedication needed to be a chef (in my mind) but are there any legal reason that someone could not call themselves a chef without going to culinary school? I have a bet with a friend about this.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Not that I'm aware of.

When Novell hit it big, they began issuing paper for Novell Netware Engineers. The engineers holding 4 year degrees from universities (like my dad) got pretty put out about it but they don't own the term engineer nor are their licenses controlled by the state (doctors, lawyers...) so the engineers had no recourse.

But there may be a jurisdiction where it's a protected title.  
Joined Feb 1, 2007
There are a very few locales where there are governing bodies which issue certifications. Other than those there are no legal requirements for or against calling yourself a chef.

I'm not aware of anyplace in the U.S. which issues certifications.
Joined Jul 17, 2009
No restrictions, but that's just you calling yourself a chef, other people wouldn't consider you a chef(unless you actually are.) And even if you go to school, most people still won't call you one until you've done an apprenticeship.
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