10 Things I Did Not Expect From A Culinary School

It’s about time to start culinary school again! Plenty of new culinary students are out buying new knives. Others are finishing up their amazing culinary internships and still others are wondering if they made the right decision or not.

Whatever state you are as you get ready for culinary school. There are probably some things you did not consider!

For instance, here are ten things one of our guest bloggers learned in her first year of culinary school

what is culinary school like

  1. The Money

Culinary schools are very expensive. I got really lucky that I found a college that was cheap and had some of the best chefs from around the world teaching there. But not everyone has that option. And this is where some might have to make the decision on whether or not culinary schools are worth it. I’ve had a few friends who decided it was best to learn and hone their skills from the chefs they worked for. And I’ve also had friends who chose to go to culinary school to hone their skills. Both options are great.

  1.  Cleaning dishes

I always wondered who were the ones who had to clean the pots and pans that were used in class. Well, I learned on my first day that 90% of the time, the students had to clean their own dishes. Everyone learned early on that it’s easier to clean as you go. If you don’t, the dirty dishes begin to pile up, which leads to more time cleaning after class is finished.

what is culinary school like

  1. Required Classes

There were a few classes I had to take that I assumed would be optional. However, I soon learned during my first year, I was required to take a Dining Room class, Butchery, and Charcuterie. Some people enjoyed theses classes and others did not.

  1. Quality of Ingredients

This might not be on everyone’s top list of things they didn’t expect from culinary school. However, I was shocked the chefs ordered high quality ingredients from all over the world. As I helped work on inventory in the storage room, I began to have a better understanding on why the chefs stressed why we should reduce the amount of waste produced in class.

  1. The Amount of Waste

Although everyone made a conscious effort to reduce the amount of waste, there was still a lot that was going on. However, about half of the waste came from customers who did not finish or like their food. I witnessed this during my Dining Room class. Thankfully, a lot of the scraps were used for mirepoix in making stock.

  1. The Haphazard Class Schedule

Get ready to feel like you are going to work rather than going to class. I’ve had 6 a.m. baking and pastry classes and I’ve also had classes that didn’t finish until 7 p.m. Most classes are around 4-6 hours long on average. It may feel like a lot but time passes by quickly.

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  1. Equipment

There a lot of tools you will need to buy to ensure your success. When you add things together, things begin to get expensive. Also, there are large equipment in class that you might have to operate. Not everyone may be familiar with it.  

  1. Speed

It’s common sense that working in a kitchen is very fast-paced. I knew and expected this but I did not expect this from a culinary school. I assumed I would get more time in class to perfect the products I made.

  1. Stress

Even though it’s a culinary school, there can still be a lot of stress when working in class. You will be working under a lot of pressure, high heat, and sharp knives. You’re bound to feel stress at some point while in class.


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  1. The Chefs

The number one thing people said they did not expect from a culinary school, when asked, was the chefs. Based off of many cooking competition TV shows, the assumption was made that a lot of the chefs would be very intimidating and would do a constant amount of yelling. In reality, even though the chefs were intimidating, they were very helpful and wanted everyone to succeed. They were always available to answer any questions and help out in any way they could.

Your first year of culinary school can be a lot of fun. There are a lot of lessons to be learned and challenges to be had. It is a time for you to start to learn whether or not you actually want to be a chef.

If you need some more chef advice about culinary school, or restaurants. Check out the blog posts below!

Top 20 tips for Young Chefs

My Culinary Internship

Great Chef Knives