If you think all there is to culinary school is learning a few good cooking techniques, you’ve got another thing coming. The best culinary programs in the country are extremely competitive and challenging to complete. If you want to make it through your culinary program successfully, keep a few key things in mind:
Study, Study, Study
Before you event start your culinary program, you should study up on basic kitchen knowledge such as terminology, cooking equipment, knife skills, kitchen safety and sanitary procedures. This puts you ahead of the competition before you even get to culinary school.
Stay Focused on Your Goals
You should have a clear reason why you are attending culinary school and what you want to do with that education when you graduate. Whether you want to be an executive chef at a five-star establishment or open a neighborhood gastropub, having clear goals for your culinary career will help keep you focused in school.
Respect The Instructors
You will make it through your courses much easier if you follow the chef instructor’s directions and not try to show off. If a chef asked you to prepare a dish exactly as instructed, do just that and avoid trying to add something extra or putting your own spin on it. You will know when it is time to really show off what you can do.
Practice, Practice, Practice
If you are struggling on a certain dish, go home and try to perfect it by making the dish over and over again until you get it right. You will really impress your instructors if you can turn around a bad execution on a dish and prepare it to perfection the next time. Check to see if there are open times when you can use the school’s kitchens to practice if you do not have the needed equipment at home.
Get an internship or apprenticeship
Some culinary programs may require an internship as part of your course work. Working alongside working chefs in a restaurant, bakery or other establishment will give you the real-world, hands-on experience you need to understand the environment of a working kitchen. It is also a great way to cultivate relationships that may lead to your first job when you graduate.
Find A Mentor
Whether it is a particular chef instructor who style you really like or the restaurant owner where you are interning, having a professional in your corner, coaching you is a major boost to both your education in school and job prospects upon graduation.
Network With Your Peers
Be social with your fellow culinary school class. Not only does it make it easier to form study groups, it also helps you build your professional network. You never know when an old classmate can refer you for an amazing culinary position in the future.
The most important thing to remember about culinary programs is that you are in control of your success. Hard work, belief in your talent and a strong passion for cooking are the true keys to success in the culinary arts.