Which is the sure-fire choice to kick-start your cooking career? Professional kitchen or culinary school!

Culinary scene in India has a long, glorious history. Right from the times of Raja-Rajwada, the kitchens were traditionally functioned by the designated master chefs who knew every secret code and conduct of cooking delectable food verities for any size of audience. Though, the cooking techniques,culinary tools, and ways of presentation have changed significantly, the pressure situations and intense environment are still the same in any modern kitchen.

Today, more people than ever are dreaming to jump into in the cooking industry to prepare and serve wow food to their customers. However, the backstage reality of serving kitchens is nothing but fierce and exhausting. From the second you enter the kitchen, you are expected to handle the knife, fire, and materials like a pro. And that too on your own. If you do not cope with the pressure, you will be separated from your cooking role in no time.

That's where culinary schools can contribute and have an influence on your primary phase of career. If you’re a novice chef, a culinary school fosters you to get a fair chance to hone your kitchen management and cooking skills. With these skills, if you manage to survive in the industry after initial struggle, the Indian market provides best business opportunities like catering services, or even staring your own cooking class!

As easy as it may sound, the high price tag is the worrying face of culinary courses. And even after paying the soaring fees, the culinary education can’t assure you an entry to any top-notch restaurant.

In one of their relevant article, the major media outlet Eater asserted, “So is going to culinary school worth it? There's no one right answer to the long-debated question. It depends on a lot of factors, including the costs of culinary school, the alternatives, career aspirations, and temperament. There are passionate arguments on all sides.”

Let’s find out if investing in the culinary school can create possibilities or merely become an expensive liability.

The Possibilities

You gain a solid knowledge base to build on

Being at a culinary school helps you learn in a structured environment where you can explore, experiment, and learn. You have enough time to study diverse cooking techniques, learn unfamiliar terms and work through new-age
materials, which is almost impossible when you are directly thrown in a high-stress scenario of professional kitchen.

Converting an idea to a servable dish is a creative process that demands parallel functioning of experiential learning and liberal mind. Also, it’s essential to find and develop your individual touch and sense of taste. Culinary school students learn skills in a very elementary fashion. Right from pre-preparations to food combinations and pairings, students get access to a myriad of essential sources which guide them to learn the art of cooking innovative and original recipes.

Even if it’s a diploma or a four-year degree course, the length of the course is of least importance. Because once you run through the complete course, the acquired intelligence definitely makes transitioning into a professional kitchen easier. When you are standing behind as a cook, you are at least capable of decoding the orders and instructions of your head chef!

You learn more than justcooking skills

By enrolling in a culinary course, you also learn the business side of the restaurant industry. As culinary arts students, you learn the tricks and tweaks of menu creation, marketing, and inventory management. Some reputed institutes also offer programs for improving communication and presentation skills that make you complete package. Plus, there are certifications that prepare you to be market-ready such that as soon as you find the right
opportunity, you can launch your own restaurant.

You get to know potential change-makers in the industry

After completing the culinary program, not all your peers aspire to become the head chefs in a premium restaurant. A bunch of peers with entrepreneurship spirit might launch amazing ventures or choose out-of-the-box ways to express their creative abilities. Plus, you get access to a network of alumni who have already proven themselves as
professionals in the cooking field. This invaluable circle of people help you break certain barriers and opens unlimited opportunities for you tolearn, grow, and flourish. You’re never far from becoming one the best wedding caterers or highest paid chef or may be star faculty in a premium cooking class!

The Downside

Culinary course will shatter your pocket plans

However amazing the benefits of culinary schools may sound, one aspect that defeats all of them is, culinary courses are damn expensive! Moreover, no culinary school can give you a golden ticket to becoming a chef. You are free to brag about your shining degree, but culinary school is really all about learning the basics. Stating that, do the culinary schools deserve to demand such unreasonable fees? Every opinion will have different rationale, based on the level of passion, knowledge, experience. So, are you ready to invest more than the decent amount in a culinary school? We leave it to your consciousness!

You need to deal with constant pressure and intense environment

While it’s fun to cook during your culinary training, cooking in a professional kitchen is as intense as fighting in a world war battlefield. Here, even simpler tasks like handling a knife or finding a pot to boil water tests your patience and temperament. Everything moves at a rapid pace and you are expected to figure out everything on your own. Plus, when you are dealing with sharper knives, hotter stoves, and even hotter heads of
lead chefs, there is no scope for second chance.

Final take

Everything said it’s not only about your decision to pursue a career, but the path you select to kick-start your journey is even more critical. You need to be wiser while choosing the school. You must ask certain questions before concluding – Does it fit your budget? Do the institute programs teach what’s needed? Will the institute help you get your first job? And most importantly, are your desires strong enough to push you up in any circumstances you face during your cook to chef journey? If you answer these questions honestly, you will help yourself find the best suitable
career for yourself.