What's cooking a new career: get set for the job of your dreams in the food industry
Do you fantasize about becoming a chef in a top restaurant or someday opening your own little bakery? If so, it might be time to follow your heart and begin training for a career in the culinary arts. Food service is one of the fastest-growing job sectors in the nation. And employers and financial backers increasingly view a culinary-school degree or diploma as an indication of skill and commitment. Today, training as a food professional can lead to more than working in a restaurant. Other possibilities include catering, hotel and restaurant management, publishing, television, private and corporate dining, specialty food retailing, food styling, wholesale and retail baking, food and beverage consulting, freelance food writing and recipe development. Here's how you can get cookin'!
If you need financial assistance to make your dream come true, all the schools we've listed offer aid. You should also check with your local cooking schools for scholarships and sliding-scale rates. And most schools have programs that allow students to work in exchange for classes. There are also organizations that can help.
C-CAP (Careers Through Culinary Arts Program)--This group awards more than $1,000,000 in scholarships to about 150 high-school students in culinary programs nationwide. For information, call (516) 482-1016 or visit ccapinc.org.
Les Dames d'Escoffier International--This organization of high-achieving women in the food industry offers grants for beginning and advanced training. Visit ldei.org for details.
So how did Marcus Samuelsson, Leah Chase, Emeril Lagasse and other celebrity chefs get their start? Rochelle Brown, a producer for the Television Food Network, gives us a tasty behind-the-scenes look at the lives of the kitchen elite in her new book, The Chef, the Story and the Dish (Stewart Tabori & Chang).
The Culinary Institute of America, a well-regarded school, offers two- and four-year degrees and a continuing-education program in the culinary arts or in baking and pastry arts. 1946 Campus Drive, Hyde Park NY 12538; (800) 285-4627; ciachef.edu. Another campus--The CIA at Greystone in Napa Valley, California--offers continuing-education and career-development programs.
College of Culinary Arts, Johnson & Wales University, prepares students for all areas of the food-service industry, including training for classic chefs. 8 Abbott Park Place, Providence RI 02903; (800) 342-5598. Additional campuses: Charleston, South Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; North Miami, Florida; and Denver.
The Institute of Culinary Education (formerly Peter Kump's New York Cooking School) offers diplomas in culinary arts, pastry and baking arts, and culinary management. 50 West 23rd St., New York NY 10010; (800) 522-4610; iceculinary.com.
The French Culinary Institute has six- and nine-month programs to teach the 250 classic French techniques that form the building blocks of fine Western cuisine. 462 Broadway, New York NY 10013; (888) 324-2433; frenchculinary.com.
The Guide to Cooking Schools, 2003 edition (Shaw Guides), provides information on more than 1,100 culinary- and wine-education programs in 49 states and 32 countries. Shawguides.com is an on-line resource for cooking schools.