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Look Who Went to Culinary School

You see the advertisements on TV, and your eyes linger on the brochures in the mail a bit longer than you'd care to admit. Could you be the next Bobby Flay or Rachel Ray? Maybe you could put Emeril's "BAM!" to shame. Face it - you're a closet, wannabe culinary student. You hear how great culinary school is how it can launch a new career as an executive chef. But until you hear the real life stories about how culinary school can thrust ordinary people into the spotlight, you just aren't sold.

First, the realism. Odds are that you won't turn into an international celebrity by graduating from a culinary arts school, just as not all hoop kings pay college ball or all drama students make it big in Tinsel town. If you're considering attending culinary school, there are stories of inspiration people who show you that a culinary school, at minimum, will prepare you for a career doing what you love to do. And if you have that, you've got more than most people ever will. Check out these master chefs and how they parlayed a culinary school education into something special.

Top Culinary School Grads

  • Martin Yan. This certified Master Chef is also a highly respected food consultant, cooking instructor, and prolific author. Star of the acclaimed TV show Yan Can Cook, Martin Yan has been wowing audiences for years. He trained at the Overseas Institute of Cookery of Hong Kong and then received a food science degree from University of California, Davis.
  • Julia Child. This famous American cook, author, and television personality is credited with introducing French cuisine and cooking techniques to the American mainstream. She attended the renowned Le Cordon Bleu cooking school and later studied privately with master chefs to hone her skills.
  • Ron Siegel. Ron Siegel is the Chef of The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco. Ron earned is advanced training at San Francisco's California Culinary Academy. He is best known for his 1998 victory on the fan favorite television show Iron Chef.
  • Alice Waters. Waters graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1967 with a degree in French Cultural Studies, and trained at the Montessori School in London. She opened the acclaimed Chez Panisse restaurant and is the Founder and Director of the Chez Panisse Foundation.

The bottom line is: if you love to cook, you can make a career out of it. The first step is to enroll in an accredited cooking school. While you might not become as famous as these master chefs, remember that culinary arts school was their first step, too.

Chez Panisse
Lessons with Master Chefs
The Ritz Carlton
Yan Can Cook

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