Photo Credit: Eric Michael Johnson for The New York Times
I know someone who is thinking about going to culinary school. I’d like your opinion about going to culinary school. Is it needed? If so, should a kosher cook seek out only a kosher school, or would the regular schools be good enough (without eating what is cooked)? While searching online we found two different schools that have exclusively kosher programs.
Chanan in Colorado
I am a big fan of the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts, located in Brooklyn, NY. It’s a school that provides professional training in all culinary arts, as well as baking and pastry arts. In addition to learning their way around a professional kitchen, students learn about the application of kashrus in a professional environment. Of course, all standard skills are taught too, including butchering and cooking of meat, fish and poultry. There’s also menu design, plating and presentation, fruit and vegetable garnishing – and so much more! If you’re interested, take a look at the CKCA website:
The advisability of going to culinary school depends on your goals. If you want to work in a professional kitchen such as a restaurant or in catering, etc. I think it’s essential. Before there were kosher programs available Stateside, I would have said just go and get the most that you can out of any course, but there is nothing like having the opportunity actually taste the chef’s example and cook and taste as you go. Cooking is such a tactile experience and to be able to truly use all your senses – especially your sense of taste – is important. It’s wonderful to have kosher programs!
If you have dreams of building a career in the culinary arts, culinary school also opens so many doors to you: there are internships and networking opportunities. And you learn how many careers there are in the food industry: food chemist, food stylist, food photography, executive chef, pastry chef, personal chef, cookbook author, restauranteur, and on and on.
The instructors at CKCA are real professionals at the top of their fields; it’s not a second tier program. So I don’t know why any aspiring kosher chef would shy away from this wonderful experience.
And no, CKCA is not paying me to say this. I truly believe in it. :) I always fantasize about having an extra hour in my day to hit CKCA for a knife skills class.
Are there any kosher cooking pros, culinary school attendees or family and friends of culinary school attendees out there who would like to share their experiences and advice about cooking schools?