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Do I need to go to a culinary school if I wish to become a chef?

Being a chef has been a career of interest to me, but I am not sure if I would have to go to a culinary school to become a chef.

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Mike’s Answer

If you're feeling uncertain, a great strategy would be to gain some hands-on experience in a kitchen before investing in culinary school. It's truly the most effective method to understand what you're stepping into. Another fantastic idea is to visit a restaurant you admire and have a chat with the chef. They might even allow you to observe a service one evening from the heart of the kitchen. This way, you can get a real feel of the atmosphere and pace. It's all about exploring and learning before making the leap. So go ahead, dive in and discover your passion!
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Carolyn S.’s Answer

You can go to culinary school and not be curious about food, but being curious about food is the key. Read everything you can about food, including food history books, current and past cookbooks, watch every lesson you can online, and join food communities where chefs or self-taught cooks share their thoughts and experiences. If you want to feed someone's soul, then you'll be fine.
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Peter’s Answer

Hello Ben, hope all is good.
When I was starting out in the restaurants/ kitchens I met a chef that told me to pay attention and learn all that I could from him. He also told me never stay in the same place too long if I wanted to be a great chef. I did just that and for the first ten years or so I studied, trained and worked my way up the line challenging myself in every position I worked. Over the years I learned about all kinds of foods and techniques as I progressed in my career. Over time I did become a pretty darn good chef/cook.
I am still learning new things all the time. The one thing about cooking is that there is always something to learn and experience. I recently enrolled in my local community college to take some classes to learn more about running a business properly. These classes will help me to grow into an even better chef/cook.
I chose my path and over time realized that there is more to cooking than the food and technique. I like and would encourage the idea of cooking school. I would also keep cooking when ever you can. Experiment with food, cook what interest you, find a place that will give you a chance to see what is going on in the kitchen, do all the jobs and there are a lot and most importantly have fun doing it.

Chef Pete
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Sylvia’s Answer

I have worked with some self-taught Executive Chef's during my career. They did not attend culinary school. They just had a great passion and great experience to earn their title.
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