I have connected with a prominent and opinionated food writer in Seattle, and I enjoy our discussions. Ronald Holden is not new to Seattle’s food community, and he writes for Crosscut and his own blog, Cornichon. He’s surly, but he knows good food. We went to La Taberna del Alabardero, sipped some sangria together, and matched wits about recent writings.
Because I’m going to culinary school, we discussed the benefits or harm done in school. Is it worth going? What are the benefits? How does the potential employment weigh against the costs of schooling? How else should one get into the industry?
Ronald recently posted a blog about culinary school. It’s well-written but critical. School should not take the place of hands-on experience, and even graduates of these programs must look to low-wage jobs to which they could be hired even without culinary school. And some programs may just be an elaborate scam to take your money.
To add fuel to Ronald’s argument, Frontline recently covered the high costs of college that lack the balance of a high paying job resultant of the degree earned. College, Inc. shows that some college programs even lack the accreditation for the degrees they’re offering. Some students of certain programs even found that they have become thousands of dollars in debt for a program that does not enable them to get higher paying jobs.
However, I’ve seen a few food management jobs that prefer individuals with culinary degrees. I have also felt that my “lack” of chef credentials and schooling have affected my ability to move into the culinary world. While I value working from dishwasher to line cook, I don’t have plans to use my degree in a completely conventional way.
Because I like to be educated about my career ideas, I asked members of the Food and Culinary Professionals subgroup of the American Dietetic Association about their thoughts regarding culinary school. Here are a few of the responses I received.