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How do I Choose Between Top Cooking Schools?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Choosing between top cooking schools can be a challenging thing. People will make different choices depending upon their circumstances, and there is no one correct choice. Instead, would-be chefs can consider a variety of things to help them determine where to go.

The first thing people might want to consider is cost. Top cooking schools may have different fees, and many people are not so fortunate that they can ignore pricing. Most people will probably need to take out loans, and they should first verify they can get loans in the amounts needed to attend one of the top cooking schools, and then determine how much it will cost per month to pay these loans back.

Graduates from top cooking schools might certainly expect to work, but salaries may not be high at first. Talking to school advisers about what expected starting salaries might be is a good idea, to determine if amount of loans will be too high to repay. Sometimes it may make better sense to choose a well regarded cooking school, and not necessarily a top one, if it is less expensive but still likely to train the chef in all skills needed to get employment.

Another consideration may be location. Some top cooking schools are located in beautiful culinary centers around the world, but people might need to stay close to home. Chefs can rule out those schools that seem too far away and focus on those within a drive of home and/or family if needed.

Length of program may also vary in top cooking schools. Some of these schools have short summer or weekend programs. If a person is fairly well trained as a chef, he or she may benefit from a short program to hone skills or to learn one or two aspects of cookery. Those already working may find short programs ideal to enhance skills. Of course, chefs who are working may not benefit as much as other folks from night or weekend classes, since many of them work nights and/or weekends. However, for brief periods a chef or cook might be able to work a different shift, since extra learning benefits the restaurant in which he/she works.

Those seeking one to two years’ education may still want to choose either shorter or longer programs. They can be different and some programs could last longer than a year while others last less than it. Time spent may make a difference in degree of training, though most people can be assured that at top cooking schools, they’ll be well trained if they complete school programs.

Probably most important if possible is to visit top cooking schools before making decisions on where to apply. Having a chance to observe classes, meet teachers and meet some administrators may help in making a solid decision. In the end, each individual may find one or two schools they really love, and others that they don’t like. Having had this opportunity to visit schools, or at least to peruse any material they send to prospective students might just make the decision easier.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
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Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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