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How long do u have to be in school to be a chef

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12
100% of 10 Pros
100% of 1 Students

12 answers

caleb’s Answer

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You don't need school. You may be one of the lucky few who actually do get alot out of formal education, but speaking from 19 years as a cook/chef, the best chefs I ever worked for did not go to school. While some people do benefit from it, for every one person who does there are a handful of others who come out with a fancy degree, huge debt, and no common sense. I can probably speak for alot of other chefs when I say that a solid resume of on the job experience goes alot further than a diploma. Be ready to do the work, it's not an easy life.
I have to agree it’s not totally necessary to have a degree, but it would have made it a lot easier. Most big corporations will take a degree over experience. I have been a chef for 35 years and have been passed up many times because I dont have a degree. Brian Harding Translate
While many will, sure, I think "most" is a generalization. caleb graber-smith Translate
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Jason Francisco’s Answer

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Hello there! Culinary school is quite expensive to learn here in the Philippines, not a lot of people can affort it. I am an HRM graduate but during my college days i got to be an intern in the USA for a year. Got to be trained in two 5 star hotels there. During my training my skills inside the kitchen were improving. As they would train interns on knife skills and if they improve they move to the next station. I already started cooking when i was at home but just the basics. Internship molded me with my career. But given a chance that u would enroll in culinary school go for it. If its passion driven, but here in the Philippines i have worked with Chefs that did not even finish college yet, but are working in 4 to 5 star hotels/resorts. It is just a matter of self discipline and passion. The willingness to learn and to be train by others.

Hope this helps you in your journey!
Goodluck in you career!
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Steven’s Answer

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You don't have to go to school to be a Chef. Is it helpful? In some ways. But, nothing will beat the experience you gain from a working commercial kitchen. If you have the desire, stamina (mental and physical), and drive.....you can be a Chef.

Do not take this as an endorsement to not go to school!!!! Any education is a benefit for any one. If you find yourself wanting a credential of some sort and can't afford school or don't have the time, I suggest the ACF Certification Program. It will done great job of helping you flex those skills and is readily asked for my tons of restaurants as either a prerequisite for employment or a definite plus on your side when deciding who to hire.

No matter what path you choose good luck and God Bless.
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DADA’s Answer

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Chef Education Requirements: Some restaurants require a minimum of a high school diploma or GED equivalent. It's possible to find employment without no culinary school education, but it may be more difficult to find a job in upscale settings.
Time Commitment to Become a Chef: If you're aiming to go to culinary school, it takes two years to obtain an associate's degree and four years for a bachelor's degree.Formal Training Programs
Aspiring chefs may pursue formal training through culinary programs offered by community colleges, universities and culinary institutes. Some chefs complete certificate programs that typically last a few months, while others earn 2-year associate's or 4-year bachelor's degrees. Culinary programs focus on in-class instruction and hands-on training in the kitchen. Courses commonly include safety and sanitation, baking and cooking techniques, food preparation and nutrition. Depending on the program, students may be required to complete internship programs.

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Ben’s Answer

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This is a tricky questions since I know a lot of chef with no schooling. Being a Chef is all about a lifestyle more than a job or a career. With a lot of passion, a tremendous amount of hard work, motivation and patience anybody can become a chef. School will give you a base knowledge but nothing that won’t be taught through various jobs.
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Joe’s Answer

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Going to culinary school DOES NOT MAKE YOU A CHEF! "Chef" is a job title, not a degree. Some of the words best chefs have little or no formal schooling (google it). That doesn't mean there's no value to culinary school, you can learn a lot there, if you put in the effort.

Joe recommends the following next steps:

  • http://bit.ly/2PTcxFh
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Blake’s Answer

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Hey Theresa,

I am not in this field, but worked in the food industry for a long time. I don't think that it is required to have a degree to be a chef, however, there are degrees that will help further your culinary skills.

Thanks,
Blake
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BARBARA’s Answer

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Hello Theresa! I agree with most comments that you do not need a culinary degree to become a Chef. I went to Johnson & Wales University and went there for 2 years to complete an associates degree in culinary arts with honors. I can tell you from experience that the degree will start you off in the same place as any other person looking to be a chef with no experience, as a cook. This degree does not give you more pay, it will be the same entry pay as any other person. Did I learn while in college? Absolutely! I also had a lot of fun. However, the downsides to going this route is that you won't necessarily be getting all of what you end up paying for. For example, lets say that you are taking Soups, Stock & Sauces class. The instructor will run you through the theory for like 3-4 hours on a certain topic of the class then you will be divided into a group between 4-6 people and your total class is one of 16-20 students. As part of your lab assignment to put into practice the theory discussed, your team will be assigned just one specific item to cook like a Consemé Soup while the other teams get Lobster Bisque, another gets Chicken Noodle Soup, and another gets New England Clam Chowder.

While you've learned the theory of Soups, Stock & Sauces you only get to actually practice one item a day during your labs. You are also graded as a group, this encourages you to get along with everyone like in an actual kitchen where you need to work with other different from yourself. After each class, the class as a group has to deep clean the entire kitchen. Each lab class takes about 16 days to complete, then you are rotated into another lab, such as Fundamentals of Cooking, Meat Production, Storeroom Course, among many others. You are also going to have to take some general classes like English, Introduction to Nutrition, Math, etc.

Like I said, I had fun and enjoyed it while it lasted. However, right after graduating I got a job at a very large hotel chain and started off in the banquet kitchen as a cook. Here I found a fountain of knowledge and experience among my team of 50 + culinarians that I could say without a shadow of a doubt I learned so much more from than the knowledge that I ended up paying $40,000 for.

My advice is that to become a Chef, you need an experience that can't be taught in the classroom. When you are actually working in a professional kitchen there is a sense of urgency that is HUGELY lacking in the college setting as well as learning in how to deal with all sorts of people in a highly stressful environment is just something that you can only learn when you are actually cooking for a dining room full of people. In my opinion, a great way to start off in the culinary field and to know if this is really something that you would like to do is to go work for a restaurant that has great food and a menu that you would like to learn how to do. Nine times out of ten, when you have great food in a restaurant there is at least on person behind the scenes making that magic happen and you can learn from that person. Sometimes, when you have no experience you will get denied right off the bat and this is where you would need to compromise a little and offer the Chef your services for free for like a week or a month so you can prove yourself and show what it takes to work in the kitchen. Now, you will probably get the worst jobs that now one else like to do like "shucking" oysters and these are merely just test to prove your worth. To be in this field you must have tough skin for your co-workers as well as for you clients. For your clients because when you will come across a situation where you cooked the best dish of your life and the client you served it too thought it was horrible and part of this job is taking that criticism and learning how to get out of those situations successfully.

If you are thinking of going the Personal Chef route, I recommend that you still do some time in a professional kitchen so you can get a sense of what it is all about. In a few words, I would recommend learning as you go when it comes to the culinary field, find someone that can serve as a mentor while you work, and keep your mind creative by experiencing cuisines around you, watching youTube videos, search the internet for what is current, and practicing at home with family and friends.

I hope this helps! Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any other questions.

Warm Regards,
Chef B
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Jonathan Agnew’s Answer

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6 Months. Then You Can Take An Online Exam At 123ce.com; After Taking Several Other Certification Exams. Each Course Ending With Your Certifying Exam Will Cost You $150-$350. Know Your Craft And Succeed.

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Adrienne’s Answer

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While you do not need to got culinary school to become a chef, you can get your associates degree (2 years), all the way through a masters degree (6years total).
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Cesar’s Answer

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Generally it's a 2yr degree program, for an associate degree in culinary arts. Some schools have certificate programs which takes less time.
Look into your local American Culinary Federation (ACF).... They have apprentice programs which will cost much less, some may even be free.

Cesar recommends the following next steps:

  • https://www.acfchefs.org/
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Adrienne’s Answer

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While you do not need to got culinary school to become a chef, you can get your associates degree (2 years), all the way through a masters degree (6years total).
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