Is Attending a Culinary School Better than Doing Short Cooking Courses

Is Attending a Culinary School Better than Doing Short Cooking Courses?

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The word food might just be four letters but it describes a gargantuan world of ingredients, cooking methods, cuisines, tastes, smells, skills, and experience.

The amazing thing about food is how versatile it is. The same four ingredients can taste completely different depending on the cuisine and way of cooking. A steak might have some chew to it but beef tartar melts into your mouth. Flour may bake a soft airy cake but it can also become a crunchy biscuit. In the simplest of words, cooking is an art form and food is art.

Learning how to cook a skill that many people don’t always give others credit for. Taking several different types of ingredients and cooking them to make something that tastes delicious is almost magical. You can learn how to cook on your own or you could opt for culinary school. This article will talk about culinary school and if it is really worth the time, effort, and money that goes into it.

Culinary School vs. Cooking Courses

Think of your own school. It was one place where you could go to learn a variety of different subjects. At the beginning, you were taught the basics, and as you progressed through the grade levels, it started getting more and more complicated and complex.

Some subjects were built on foundations set in the previous year such as mathematics and science. At the end of school, you graduated and chose a certain path in life i.e. college or other means.


Culinary school does the same. You enter as a novice. You walk in the door with the expectation of learning how to cook and all things related to food and then you get to learning. The wonderful thing about opting for a culinary school is that it is a place where you can learn cooking from start to finish in the right environment.

When you join a culinary school, you gain access to the knowledge and experience of your instructors, the tools needed to prepare and cook, and also a workspace that facilitates different cooking methods and cuisines. This is important because having the right resources at your disposal can make the learning process simpler. It doesn’t mean it becomes easy, it just makes the job a lot more approachable and doable.

Culinary school allows students to learn how to prepare all kinds of dishes, understanding ingredients, and learning the history of different foods and chefs among many other things. On the other hand, a cooking course might not have the same impact. A course is a limited amount of information on a certain aspect or area of cooking. A cooking course has information about certain aspects of cooking but never the entire thing.


Money is important when it comes to learning how to cook for two reasons – the cost of the education and remunerations once you’re qualified.

Culinary School

One key point to factor into this is the cost. On the one hand, you have culinary school that can cost you several thousand dollars. You can expect to pay anywhere between 29,000 dollars and 110,000 dollars depending on where you go. This could either be a two year associate degree or a four year degree in the culinary arts.

These costs are incredibly important to take into consideration because they can be a massive point of contention for aspiring chefs. This is due to the fact that most entry level jobs in the culinary industry pay you incredibly low wages. There are also very grueling working conditions and long shifts with no weekends. Here, you must do a cost-benefit analysis to see if the money you are paying for culinary school is really worth it for you.

Cooking Courses

Cooking courses

Compared to full-fledged culinary school, cooking courses cost a lot less. They are taught on a smaller scale and you learn a restricted amount of information. However, at times, you are able to learn at your own pace and also from the comfort of your home. This makes it easier to fit into your routine and the investment is not as grand as culinary school.

There are several cost-benefit scenarios going on here. You must decide if the cost of the course is worth the expertise you are getting. You must decide if the job you get from the course is worth the time and effort you are investing into it. For instance, if someone does a course on baking, they will have a mastery of all things baking. This makes them able to make sweet and savory food since both of them use baking techniques.

However, at the end of the day, they won’t be given preference over a graduate from a culinary school. To become a competitive chef, you would have to do different courses to make yourself someone who has a competitive edge to compete with trained chefs.


Cooking for passion is wonderful and almost therapeutic. However, if you want to make money from your passion, you will really need to work hard for it. The restaurant industry is known for its long hours and low pay. It is not something hidden and anyone getting into this industry should be aware of the fact that this is a part of the process.

Everyone from Gordon Ramsay to Marco Pierre White and other culinary titans have had to go through the same thing. They often claim that it is what made them into what they are today.

As someone who wants to get into cooking, you need to factor in if the time, money, and effort of culinary school is going to be worth it when you work long hours and get paid low wages. This does eventually grow but the process can break the best of us out there.

Final Thoughts

The debate between culinary school versus cooking courses has been going on for a long time. There is no winner or loser here because it all comes down to how much you want to get out of it. If you are fully dedicated to go through the trenches and then emerge, battered and bruised but victorious, then going to culinary school is for you.

There is a lot of investment that goes into it, but when you graduate you are a useful asset that can slot into many restaurants around the world.

A cooking course, with limited information but lower prices aren’t bad or worth nothing. In fact they are the better pick for someone who doesn’t want to make cooking their career. There are pros and cons for both sides and it all comes down to what you want out of it.