Whether you just flipped your tassel at your high school graduation or simply daydream about making a big career transition, investing in any sort of higher education can be daunting—especially for future culinarians.
If you hold ambitions to become a professional chef, some restaurateurs might advise jumping right in the kitchen, shadowing experts, and slowly rising in the hierarchy. However, some culinary experts may suggest starting at step one—attending a top culinary institute. Why? It ultimately can equip you with a deep arsenal of technical skills, a network of peers and instructors, and lots of hands-on practice. (Plus, a culinary degree can look pretty good on a resume.)
Let’s explore some of the benefits of studying at a top culinary institute and why you should take the leap.
Develop Fundamental Culinary Skills
Let’s say you’re starting your very first culinary job as a line cook at a restaurant. You’ll likely interact with an executive chef who may expect you to understand a host of cooking techniques and terminology, starting from day one.
Attending a top culinary institute like Escoffier may prepare you to execute these tasks with confidence by honing the basic skills and getting familiar with the landscape of the professional kitchen before stepping into one.
“A strong educational background can help someone with limited experience become a valued contributor to their employer. They can utilize the skills taught at Escoffier to work their way into a management position.”*
Maria Davenport, Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management Instructor
Students enrolled in the Culinary Arts program can cover the following, plus more:
This course explores a wide range of fundamentals that every professional chef is likely expected to know, including cooking methods, terminology, knife skills, food safety, and more. Students can also harness invaluable, life-long habits and discipline in the kitchen, with an expectation to practice punctuality, cleanliness, and organization.
Menu Design and Management
From visual design and price analysis, this section of the curriculum can help students explore the ins and outs of menu design. You can explore how this process impacts purchasing decisions, prep time, and profit.
If you’re unsure about what culinary niche to specialize in, the world cuisine course may cover topics like rich cultural history, global cooking styles, and international recipes—exposing students to multiple cuisines.
The Farm-to-Table Kitchen
Many culinary schools today don’t offer coursework focusing on sustainability, which is why the Farm to Table kitchen program at Escoffier is so valuable and an integral part of the school’s philosophy. Students can dive into sourcing clean ingredients and integrating organic food into menu design.
Secure Career Opportunities at Top Culinary Establishments
As a requirement for graduation, Escoffier students complete one or two hands-on industry externships.
How does an externship work? Towards the end of a program, students actually shadow a culinary expert in their environment, which may help them gain valuable insight into how a kitchen really operates. This is a vital step in the educational journey, as students practice skills learned in the classroom, communicate with their supervisors, and decide what their next steps might look like (yes, this could turn into your first paid job!)
“Escoffier is my dream come true, I am a mother of three boys, a military wife for 24 years and have been through a lot. It was a blessing to have started this journey during a time when the entire world shut down! It kept me motivated, focused, and proud of my achievements. I have learned so much that I could not even imagine. I felt capable outside the box, during my externship I had the proof! I was asked to fulfill tasks that made me realize that I did have confidence and knowledge thanks to the Escoffier program and its amazing chefs. They have taught me so much from different angles. From production, to ethics, to sustainability, resources and much, much more! I can’t wait to pick up my already existing private chef business “La mia Cucina” and make Escoffier proud!”*
Susanna Halbrook, Escoffier Online Culinary Arts Graduate
Access to Career Services
Escoffier students also get access to career assistance from the Career Services staff. Services include resume and interview prep help, plus job search assistance. Along with this, Escoffier continues to foster a wide range of employer partners that might be an optimal fit for your career goals.
Receive One-on-One Coaching
Jumping straight into a top culinary institute might feel nerve-racking, to say the least, especially if you’re fresh out of high school or made the decision to pivot into culinary arts.
This is exactly why Escoffier offers students–including online students–a dedicated Success Coach. Think of them as your personal coach, offering continuous support throughout your education.
“Our professional student services team is available to support our students in many aspects of their education and provide resources that enable them to focus on their educational goals as well as help them celebrate their successes throughout out their program. Each student has a coach that can help support them and guide them throughout their time as a student.”*
Patricia Souza, Vice President of Student and Career Services at Escoffier
If students desire to tap into a community resource or simply face a curriculum obstacle, coaches are there to guide them through the situation and offer resources, helping it to be more manageable and less overwhelming.
Study with Acclaimed Chef Instructors
When you choose to study at a top culinary institute, you also study under the cream of the crop. At Escoffier, students get access to over 150 professional Chef Instructors across two campuses and online. Included in these staff members are executive chefs, culinary entrepreneurs, Michelin Star associated chefs, published authors, and more.
“Auguste Escoffier – chef of kings, king of chefs – left us his vision. Every chef in the world follows his techniques and the system he set up for us.”*
Chef Cesar Herrera, Escoffier Boulder Chef Instructor
Some students enrolled in the Baking & Pastry Arts programs can work alongside Chef Instructor and Certified Master Baker Colette Christian, who studied under baking legend Albert Kumin, the former White House Pastry Chef.
Think about it—by attending a top culinary school, you can soak up this breadth of knowledge and gain mentorship from a huge roster of talented chefs.
Chef Instructors not only teach, but may also be available between classes to address any questions students may have!
Access Networking Opportunities
If you attend a top culinary institute, you might find a tribe of ambitious peers who share similar short-term and long-term career goals. Students at Escoffier may forge lifelong friendships and bond with peers in their program—sometimes transforming into future business partnerships!
On top of classroom networking, former students can join the Escoffier Alumni Association—a pool of over 6,000 graduate students who can collaborate, seek guidance, and discuss job opportunities.
Gain Credibility at a Top Culinary Institute
When a culinary school is “accredited” it means that they’ve met or exceeded standards of education and quality from national and regional organizations. But did you know that not all culinary institutes are accredited? This means that the level of education might not be up to par with current trends, methods, and techniques. When you attend a top, accredited culinary institution like Escoffier, professionals in the industry can recognize that you’ve received high-quality training, and this may make you a more credible culinary professional.
Escoffier was voted the top culinary school in the world by Chef’s Pencil, and is also a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the National Restaurant Association.
Take the Leap Today
Culinary school is an investment of both your time and money. So if you’re passionate about forging a meaningful career, it’s worth it to choose a top culinary institute. This type of educational experience might be exactly what you need to turn your dreams into reality.
To take the first step, contact our Admissions Team for more information on the programs offered at Escoffier!
Enjoyed this article? Here are some others to consider as well:
- Is Culinary School a Waste of Money?
- What Is It Like to Study at Culinary School?
- 5 Important Things to Know Before Starting Culinary School
*Information may not reflect every student’s experience. Results and outcomes may be based on several factors, such as geographical region or previous experience.