Having been raised in Sweden, Marcus didn't go to culinary school in the States. Instead his path to becoming a professional chef started in high school when he applied to a specialized school where students could learn to hone their craft in fashion, dance, singing, and of course, cooking. Instead of the rigors of a program like the French Culinary Institute or the Culinary Institute of America, Marcus chopped and sweated his way through vocational school then through the toughest kitchens in Europe. Read his whole story in "Yes, Chef", his award-winning memoir.
Culinary arts has now become a major career choice for all ages. In a time when chefs and culinary professionals are the new age rock stars, the number of people enrolling in culinary arts schools has risen significantly in the past few years. The food industry is bustling and producing great chefs and food industry professionals alike, and now going to culinary school seems to be a great option. Like any other school you look to apply to, choosing the right culinary school is key to your success and you want to make sure that the school matches who you are and your needs and career goals.
A Look into the Future:
With the dreams of becoming a celebrity chef, a published food author, or a prized food photographer, comes the harsh reality of actually going, not only to culinary school, but working in a food related industry. Long shifts, cuts, burns, standing on your feet all day, and more all play a deep roll in being in the food industry. It's best to sit down with yourself and think if you can deal with and manage all these aspects and more, prior to applying for culinary school. Your love for all things food and chef could drastically change once you begin culinary school, and you may realize that you just like to eat in restaurants more than you like to cook in one.
Applying to culinary school is a lot like applying to a regular academic university. Aside from your undying love for food and hospitality, applying for culinary schools also comes with academic needs as well. A high school diploma or GED equivalent, GPA, extra curricular activity and more are all needed to apply to a majority of today's culinary schools. Also a crucial addition to all of these things are food related experiences and/or work experience in a food-related field, that is NOT fast food. Several culinary schools require you to have hands on work experience in a food related business (roughly 6 months) prior to applying for culinary school. This gives you the opportunity to test the waters and see if continuing your culinary education is best fit for you.
The culinary industry is very hard work, just ask any chef. This is truly a industry for passionate individuals who believe in their craft and the power of food. It is also a industry for the hard worker, the person willing to not go home until the job is done. That attitude is where people sometimes get mislead. Being a highly praised chef is essentially the ultimate goal, but ask any chef what they had to give up to get there are they will tell you a little bit of everything. Time is of the essence in a kitchen and speed is a necessity. If you are slow on a task, there is always someone in the kitchen that works faster than you. Be sure to be committed to the craft before you apply.