Ask any of the finest chefs in the restaurant business about the best way to learn the skills need in the culinary industry and almost without exception they will point to the programs offered by the country’s top culinary schools. These schools are designed to offer guidance and much needed knowledge and training to those interested in finding food service jobs and building a future in the restaurant industry.
Find a School That Stands Apart
There are many institutions in the United States that could be considered for the list of top culinary schools ranging from 15-person programs on the east coast to sprawling cooking classes in the southwest. Each culinary school is a little different in the offerings they provide. Students attending the schools can choose to follow a standard Culinary Arts program, which teaches a broad range of different kitchen and food preparation skills, a Patisserie and Baking program, which focuses on pastries and other forms of restaurant-oriented baking, and a Hospitality and Restaurant Management program, which prepares students for the wide range of food service jobs that can be found outside of a kitchen.
When researching the top culinary schools, there are factors that can set a program apart from the others. Here are a few things to consider:
- Most classes offer both lecture and hands-on learning
- Faculty have experience in the culinary arts and can bring real-world examples to the learning process
- Small classroom size for optimum culinary training
- The program has a long history and many successful chefs, restaurant managers, and pastry chefs have completed the program.
- Curriculum includes training in communication, management, and other fundamental skills
- Financial aid and scholarship opportunities available for those who qualify
- Alumni association and career services center offer graduates with job search assistance
- The local restaurant and night life scene is bustling
Many Food Service Jobs, Many Different Types of Cuisine
The instructors and chefs at the top culinary schools are well-versed in a wide variety of different cooking styles, and the mission is usually to provide students with a firm foundation in the kitchen that will serve them well no matter where they end up working. Not only are the skills that are taught at the schools tied in with real-world industry norms and practices, but students often have the opportunity to work outside the school through specially arranged externships at real restaurants. This service is combined with career planning assistance and networking help that kicks-in once students have graduated and are attempting to find a permanent position in the industry.
Potential attendees will also be happy to discover that some culinary schools function much like a standard college in terms of admissions and student life.