What is a School of Cooking?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 22 August 2019
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A school of cooking is a facility where people are taught cooking skills. Some cooking schools focus on providing training for home cooks who want to expand their repertoires or learn new techniques, while others train chefs who plan to cook professionally. Schools of cooking can be found all over the world in a variety of settings, from Italian country homes to urban colleges, and they offer a range of courses which may be designed with a flexible schedule which allows people to proceed at their own pace.

Courses at a school of cooking usually start with basic skills classes which are designed to make sure that students know the basics in the kitchen, and can work comfortably and safely. These classes can include knife skills, food safety reviews, and other basic topics. As students grow more confident, they are introduced to increasingly more complex coursework which can include ethnic cuisine and challenging cooking disciplines like pastry and charcuterie.

Cooking schools designed for home cooks usually allow cooks to pick and choose from their offerings to create a curriculum which interests them. Some combine vacationing with cooking, being held in popular vacation locations so that students can learn to cook while enjoying a holiday. The school may include accommodations for students along with prepared meals, and side trips to regional areas of interest may be organized to complement the program.


A casual school of cooking might hold classes on the weekends or at nights to accommodate the schedules of students. Students could also opt to take short intensives at the school, and many schools operate year round with a range of available classes so that students can design a school schedule which meets their needs. A school of cooking may even travel to the student, with an instructor coming to a student's home to hold small classes for the student and friends.

At a school of cooking which provides training to chefs, the program is more rigorous, and students will usually take classes in all areas, although they may have the option to pursue electives which interest them. This broad spectrum training is designed to get chefs familiar with a range of topics so that they can work confidently in their own kitchens. Chefs can also attend specialized schools like pastry school if they want to develop skills in a particular areas.

People considering cooking school, whether they are chefs or home cooks who want to improve their skills, should consider the course offerings at the school, the schedule, and the school's reputation. They may also want to ask around among people who have attended the school to get their impressions and recommendations.



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