There are so many culinary schools in existence today that the pool of students graduating with a solid foundation may possibly be diluted. The underlying need to keep enrollment up has often lowered the standards of acceptance basing admittance entirely on whether the student can pay. The bottom line is that many schools are business's and the need to make sales a.k.a. student enrollment. Slick commercials and mass media paint a picture of an exciting career that most students will never realize. Most graduates without prior industry experience will have limited opportunities and will fill the demand for low paying entry level Food Service and Contract feeding positions. The truly talented naturally born cooks and chefs will progress and fulfill their dreams of becoming a chef. Don’t get me wrong I am a big fan of a quality culinary education; I also realize that many people have limited resources and must take advantage of any opportunity available to them. When I applied to culinary school I received a response stating that I would need one year of additional cooking experience before I was officially accepted. There was an expectation from the school that I would at least have some level of kitchen savvy and experience which would help me on my journey.
As I interview prospective cooks I cant help but to have sympathy for applicants who tell me that they have never worked in a kitchen. When questioned on what has prepared them for a career in the culinary world many say that they have worked in a similar fast paced environment such as a factory assembly line or a call center. I am the first to say that a great work ethic, determination and the will to succeed will get you far in life, but you still have to execute the daily functions of the job. The bottom line is that a school is just that a school and not the real world. The right combination of past practical experience and advanced instruction should come together and give the student a foundation that will ensure some level of success in the industry. A Culinary schools reputation and ultimately the value of their diploma rest solely on the quality of the graduates.