Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Second Guess

I've been a bit down the last few days after spending last week away from Rhys, and reading this article sent to me by a friend didn't help. It just reconfirmed that little knat of doubt that I carry around. The information in the article from a Seattle based news forum was not really much of a surprise. It basically discussed the concept of for-profit culinary schools charging exorbitant tuition fees to students, whom upon graduation, will be lucky to make $10/hour. What was a surprise was that the students of the Western Culinary Institute (a Le Cordon Bleu school) were suing the school in a class action lawsuit claiming, among other things, that they made no more money after attending the school than before. Kind of ridiculous really. Potential students should know that most likely they are not going to be the next Top Chef or Food Network Star just because they go to culinary school.

For many culinary students, their education might amount in an excess of $30,000-50,000. Once they get out of school that would amount to over $500 a month in loan payments. At $10/hour, the odds of paying off the loan debt is definitely stacked against them. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. This was a fact that I understood very well before taking this leap of faith to go to school. Several local chefs, Anthony Bourdain, and my ex-husband all informed me that the numbers just don't make sense. And maybe they don't. Maybe going to a local technical college is the way to go, as is suggested in the article. It's cheaper after all. But I don't just don't feel that the education, theory, and instructors are the same quality (at least in my neck of the woods). To prove my point, while at the restaurant this weekend practicing my knife cuts one of the local CC graduates asked me what that little potato thing I was cutting was. Granted, a tourne has little practical use in the "industry". But, practical application is not the only reason to go to culinary school. If I just wanted practical application I would have gotten a job at Chili's.

Second guessing yourself always sucks. I've made a lot of sacrifices to make this whole thing happen and I'm enjoying school thus far. I have a ton of ideas of what I want to do when I get out. It just might be tight for a while, but hey, that's what makes life interesting right? So watch out naysayers and negative Nellies I'm out to prove you wrong.


  1. Don't second guess yourself. You are doing something that you have wanted to do for a long time! I love reading your posts and I'm jealous of all the awesome things you are going to know and be able to do! Just knowing how to cut food in fancy and/or practical ways makes me jealous! You go, Allison!

  2. Thanks Ash!!! I hope you will be so happy with your new endeavor as well. I'll miss you!

  3. Absolutely! I, personally, don't think formal education is ever a bad way to go. I know you were already well aware of the issues & am so impressed with your choice to take the leap of faith. You never can tell, it is just as likely to work out as it is to not work out. Might as well plan for success!