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How to Apply to Culinary Schools With Literally No Experience: A Guide

Ever since I was a young child, I knew I was destined to be a chef. I even used to go to my grandmother’s house to cook, because my parents wouldn’t let me use the stove or knives. I have practiced my whole life, despite never having worked in a kitchen before. By formal standards, I have no training and no experience, yet I made it into the top culinary schools in the world. And so can you.

My first suggestion is to be sure that you really want to go to culinary school. One resource that helped me discern was Anthony Bourdain’s “So You Wanna Be A Chef.” Once you know for sure, then really research your top schools and learn everything there is to know about your path of study, typically either culinary or baking and pastry arts. This way, you at least have knowledge of what you are doing and can ask meaningful questions when you tour schools. Another sure-fire way to stand out is to find your niche and stick to it! For example, when someone asks you if you want to be a baker or a chef, you can explain that you would like to become a food anthropologist and author, but with a baking core. This will certainly get you on schools’ radar and they might even recommend some extra steps to take or internship opportunities if you attend that school.

Once you have done your homework, it’s time to go visit some schools! Sign up for open houses, information sessions, and any visiting day that you can make it to. I suggest going once during an open house and once during a school day when classes are going on, so you can really see how the school works. When you are on visits, make sure you make yourself known- this means meeting with the admissions counselors, asking as many good questions as possible, and making friends with alumni, current students, and other applicants.

After you have made a list of schools that you can see yourself in, it’s time to apply! Get the best possible recommendations that you can, preferably from someone who has gone to culinary school or is a chef. And, if you can’t get a recommendation from a culinarian, a teacher recommendation works as well. Put thought into your applications and try to get them in as soon as possible. This ensures a better chance for admission and scholarships. If you have taken the SAT or ACT, send in your scores, because it will only help your chances. Be sure to make all of your extracurriculars known, so that schools understand your work ethic and leadership.

Once you have done all these steps and send in your applications, there is a great chance that you will get into your top schools! Now all you have to do is wait.


Link to "So You Wanna Be A Chef?"

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