Do culinary schools miss the mark?


So today I realized two things about my craft. I still love going into work every day no matter what, and I learn something new every day.

I find myself constantly wanting and trying to do better but I guess that is not a surprise. What is surprising is that I have worked with cooks who do not. Some cooks feel that doing the bare minimum is perfect and that they should be rewarded for just showing up to work on time. I guess I do not understand that kind of thinking. How can you not want to be the best at what you do as a career? How can you not want to be the best you can possibly be? When I get off work, I go home, get online and research new ideas, new techniques, and new flavor profiles. I read different articles on what is trending in different parts of the world and try to incorporate that into my cuisine. It’s what makes me happy. It is something I truly enjoy. What happened to cooks that wanted to become chefs? Do they no longer have a passion for the craft or is it just the pay check?

In my time as a chef, I have run across a handful of cooks that possess these qualities. The problem is that now they all run their own kitchens.

I thought the whole purpose of culinary school was to teach people how to be chefs and inspire them to keep learning.I thought it was to encourage people to be the best and share their knowledge with the others in the kitchen, encouraging others to grow. What I am finding is that culinary school tells the kids that they can be ECs right out of school. What happened to the days when the experienced shared their knowledge with the newbies? What happened to the newbies that wanted to learn from the experienced?

I ask these questions because I find that often the old ways are still the best. Shortcuts are not always faster and most of the time do not turn out as well. I often explain this to my staff. I’m also forced to remind them that before you run you have to learn to walk.

Somewhere, sometime, culinary schools have gone wrong. I’m looking for students who want to learn, want to walk before they run, and want to be the best, not overnight, but for the long term.