It’s not that Bourdain thinks culinary school is an inherently bad idea. But he warns that even a degree from the very best school is no guarantee of a job, and there’s serious debt involved. If you’re not quite young and not quite fit, a career as a chef may not be for you. If you crave a predictable hours and a manageable level of stress, it may not be for you. Before you sign up for all that debt, he says, you should go work in a kitchen and make sure you really, truly want to be a chef.
In an excerpt on Michael Ruhlman’s site, Bourdain warns that quality restaurants don’t hire graduates of “the Gomer County Technical College of Culinary Arts.”
A degree from the best culinary schools is no guarantee of a good job. A degree from anywhere less than the best schools will probably be less helpful than the work experience you could have had, had you been out there in the industry all that time.
A new chef with an elite culinary degree — and a pile of debt — will start at $10 to $12 an hour, Bourdain warns.
Some graduates of for-profit culinary programs have trouble repaying federal loans because of low starting salaries, writes Education Sector’s Ben Miller in Are You Gainfully Employed Setting Standards for For-Profit Degrees?