I am going back to school and have considered culinary arts. I've always been a good cook and had considered it way back when but being a restaurant chef doesn't doesn't really interest me. Does anyone have friends or relatives with other jobs with this training?
I worked with a woman who quit to go to culinary school. For a while she had work as a private chef and did some catering but she doesn't do much anymore. She was a good cook but it's not an easy way to make a living.
Culinary schools are pretty much a big ripoff. Google the topic, research, and save yourself some $$$$. Think about your long term goal. Do you want to open a restaurant business? Cater? Plan parties?
I'd recommend working alongside a pro in whatever business you're interested in and get on the job training and experience. That would be a better education and you'd have a clearer picture of the industry. Many jobs in the food industry don't require degrees from a culinary school.
Do you have an area of specialty? Desserts? Beer and wine? Italian cuisine?
I'm thinking desserts though I do well at pretty much everything except Asian R2.
OP you would make more money waiting tables.
I have 2 chefs in my family. One works at Disneyworld and one owns a sandwich shop. They make decent livings, but are not well-off. Neither went to school.
One cousin worked first as a dishwasher, then a busboy, then an assistant chef in the same restaurant. His boss was European and had trained in Switzerland. He taught my cousin how to butcher meat, which is very valuable because it saves a shitload of money.
The other got a job in a restaurant in Disneyworld where another cousin was a manager. In a few months, he became a chef. There's not much to know when you cook at Disney. I consider him a cook, but he is called a chef.
Both my cousins are male, btw. I doubt a female could get a job as a waitress or hostess and then become a chef. It might happen, but it's unlikely.
Another cousin of mine owns a restaurant. His head chef went to a community college program upstate that taught cooking. He picks the fastest, smartest Salvadoran in the kitchen and takes him as his assistant chef. After about 5 years, the Salvadoran gets a job as a chef somewhere and the head chef picks a new Salvadoran assistant.
OP, don't do it! I've known several people who spent a lot of money they didn't have to pursue culinary arts degrees, and none of them are making a splash in the food industry! Each and every one has eventually given up and taken jobs with less stress/stable hours/more money, despite working at some pretty well-known establishments.
I have a degree in culinary arts. I have a masters in another area but completely burned out on my field. I did a two year program at my local community college which totaled bout $2000 compare to the $40-50,000 the Cordon Bleu and Arts Institute in my town wanted. Those prices are ridiculous, especially when you're going to be making maybe $8-10 to start as a cook. And forget about repaying those loans at such low wagers. Also, many of the chefs who taught at those upscale programs taught at my CC as well.
I don't know if you want college credit, but the degrees from the private schools aren't considered real degrees and you won't be able to transfer credits elsewhere.
Initially, I went to work with one of my chefs from school to get some experience and learn new skills. Eventually, I decided I didn't want to do restaurant work and now work at a transitional shelter and provide 20 men with dinner a few nights a week.
There are a lot of options besides working in a restaurant. One of my friends works in a private cafeteria and gets there at six and leaves around three. Nights, weekends and holiday are off. People also cook at assisted living facilities, prisons and catering companies. Private chef work is good if you can get it, but you constantly have to be beating the bushes for clients and know how to cook for a variety of diets.
I'm glad I did the degree. I tried things I'd been scared to do in the past and also realized that though I love baking, I have no desire to do it on a commercial level. Where I live, the top salary for an executive chef seems to be about $60,000/yr.
Neither Martha Stewart nor Rachael Ray studied cooking in school.