Is it essential for you to go to culinary school of you want to become a baker?
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The short answer is no, you don't need to go to school for culinary work. I broke into management at twenty three, and was running a scratch kitchen as the chef/kitchen manager. In my book, the practical experience is essential. Getting the education is a good idea. Employers want to see it, and it can help get a better paying job at a better establishment. However, you have to be able to back up that piece of paper with talent and know how. My recommendation would be to consider school, but also to get a job at the type of place you really want to work, whether it's a straight up bread and pie bakery or a high end pastry chef job. Apply to those places. Go into interviews telling the employers what you want to do. Tell them you'll work your way up. Don't be afraid to get dirty. Start out washing dishes and taking out the trash if that's what's available. If you show a strong desire to do more, and have a high work ethic, a good employer won't pass that by. I tell you this specifically because that's the type of person I would give a chance to. That's the type of person I would give the opportunities to. There's no substitute for hard work and desire. Good luck!
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I learned how to cook as a teenager (long time ago) and have cooked for myself since then, and family, but when I chose to shift gears into the culinary fields I hit wall after wall. So I went to school for that piece of paper that says I could. But it really isn’t needed if you’re a younger person, but it wouldn’t hurt to get you into a reputable kitchen and you may learn things there that would make you go huh, I never knew that. For me, it help get off the ground, and if you’re like me you can accelerate fast. I made Sous chef in 4 years even though most I spoke with said it would take about ten. So no you don’t need to but it helps. BOL
Hi Ethan, no it is not absolutely necessary to go to culinary school. In fact, many chefs doing something called a 'stage' where they shadow or apprentice in a kitchen at a restaurant and learn on the job. It is like a cooking internship and depending on what restaurant you stage at can lead to great jobs in the industry. Now when you say baker, do you also mean pastry chef? Do you want to work at a bakery or do desserts at a restaurant? There are a lot of ways to break into food. Good luck!research local bakeries and restaurants that you would want to work atask to intern/do a stage apprenticeship
Sarah recommends the following next steps:
The first question I would ask yourself is “what kind of baker do I want to be? Now, and perhaps 10 years from now.” The second question I would think about is “Do I need a degree to get my first job or a job 10 years down the line?” The third question is really about the costs of going or not going to school “what are the costs if I go or don’t go?” There are culinary schools and associate/junior colleges with bakery and pastry arts degrees/certificates that can be completed in varying lengths of time or perhaps part-time while working. There are always costs associated with education and schools may be able to provide 5 and 10 year outcomes on their website or upon request. You may want to connect with a number of bakers who did and didn’t go to culinary school for their perspective, especially if they work in a role/company you like. As others have said, the short answer is ‘no, you don’t need to go’ but the more nuanced answer is probably ‘maybe or it depends’.