Say hello to Alexandra Height. She has recently graduated from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI with her Bachelors in Business Management and is now following her dream of attending culinary school. Alexandra is currently a culinary student at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago and is in her seventh week of school. She is writing a blog about her journey through school for a foodie group based out of Detroit called The Hungry Dudes. Her future goal is to use her business degree and culinary arts degree to open a small market and eatery. Alexandra has compiled a list of five questions anyone should answer for themselves before deciding to attend culinary school. You can follow her on twitter @alexandraheight.
As a culinary student, I see passion each and every day amongst my fellow classmates but I also see those who could really care less about being given the chance to succeed in such an established setting like Le Cordon Bleu. Choosing the right path for the future is difficult for anyone, but if you’re thinking that culinary school and a career as a chef is the road for you, here are five questions to help you decide.
Do you have the patience to make mistakes?
As a chef, we are constantly learning and adapting to the way food works and how we can use it in new ways. We are obviously going to make mistakes… lots of mistakes, especially in the beginning. You have to be ready to not be a perfectionist right away, but realize that once you’ve been far enough along in the learning process, the perfect plates that you see professionals bring to you at restaurants will soon become second nature to you.
Are you willing to cook all day long and go home and cook for yourself and/or your family?
Whether in school or at your job, as a chef you will constantly be cooking. Many of the students in culinary school also have jobs in restaurants. We are always cooking. You have to know whether you want cooking to be your life or just a hobby that have.
Where do you want culinary school to take you?
There are so many different directions you can go after culinary school. Whether you want to work as a chef in a five star restaurant, work in a hotel or on a cruise ship or even open your own restaurant. Culinary school gives you the tools to help you go in the direction you want, but you have to know what direction that is.
Do you have the dedication?
In high school and even in college, you can always find reasons not to go to class. Most of the time, missing a class won’t hold you back too badly, but in culinary school, this isn’t the case at all. You have to have dedication to get to class every single day because if you don’t, you will miss out on some of the most important lessons that help build your culinary foundation. There cannot be excuses to miss a sanitation class or a kitchen class.
Do you have the heart?
Becoming a chef is hard. I think anyone in school would tell you that it’s a blast but that many times it’s challenging. For those who only see it as fun, have the passion for cooking. It’s rewarding and exciting, but you have to know if you have the heart to make cooking a career for yourself, not just another job.