How to Choose the Cooking School That’s Right for You

If you’re serious about your cooking and want to take your craft to the next level, it’s natural that you’ll want to enroll in a cooking school. And as you’re considering enrollment, it’s incredibly important that you take the time to find the absolute best cooking school for you. Follow these criteria as you consider which cooking school will work the best for your skills and needs.

  • Check for licensing and accreditation. Make sure that you’ll be studying with a qualified school by making sure that they have all of their licensing and accreditation in order. You can easily check a school’s accreditation online with the US Department of Education’s College Search. You should also check with your local Better Business Bureau for complaints against the school.
  • Assess the school’s graduates. It’s important to find out what kind of job you can expect to get when you graduate, so find out what the students before you have been able to achieve. Ask the school about placement rates from their former students and find out where their graduates are currently working. Also find out if there is a strong alumni network group that you’ll be joining upon graduation.
  • Research the instructors. Make sure that your teachers have not only been trained as chefs, but also as teachers. With chefs who have been trained as teachers, you’ll get a richer learning experience. An easy way to ensure that you’re getting a qualified teacher is to look for those that are Certified Hospitality Educators. It’s also important that you learn the background of your instructors. Find out where they have worked as chefs and consider what their experiences will bring to the table. Even better, find faculty members who are Master Chefs or Master Bakers. Additionally, if your school advertises celebrity chefs on the faculty, make sure that they are actually active teachers and not just endorsing the school.
  • Look for hands-on experience. The richest learning that you will get from cooking school is hands-on, in-kitchen learning and experience in real restaurants. Look for a school that offers a high number of teaching kitchens and kitchen instruction hours, real restaurant settings, and availability of externships in restaurants, hotels, and resorts.
  • Check out the equipment. Cooking schools are often expensive because of all the cooking equipment required to teach, so make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for. Find out if they’re using professional equipment, or if you’ll be working with mediocre tools that are unlike what you’ll encounter in real kitchens. It’s also key to find out the quality of the ingredients used, so you’ll have a broad spectrum of experience in cooking different meals with ingredients of satisfactory quality.

By following these guidelines, you should be able to find a high quality culinary school that will offer you the cooking education that you’re looking for.

Top Culinary Programs

Penn Foster Career School

Penn Foster Career School - Students interested in becoming a caterer will enjoy the program offered by Penn Foster Career School. Penn Foster has classes entirely online so students never have to leave their home.
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The Art Institute

The Art Institute Online - With an online program available, students can start a career in the culinary arts quickly and easily.
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The Culinary Institute of America

The Culinary Institute of America - The Culinary Institute of America is a high quality program for students interested in learning the culinary arts from some of the best chefs in the country.
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Le Cordon Bleu

San Franciso

Le Cordon Bleu - One of the highest respected cooking schools, Le Cordon Bleu has graduated some of the top chef's currently working in restaurants around the country today.
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