Culinary school provides students with the tricks and tools necessary for a career in the food world, but do knife skills and plating techniques necessarily translate to bigger paychecks? Eater Investigates compares the rising cost of culinary school tuition with the average salary of a trained chef, with bleak results.
In its modern format, American culinary school is a fairly recent phenomenon. Based off an older European system that pairs in-class instruction with an on-the-job internship component, contemporary accredited schools in the U.S. number among the 500s. But the going rate for culinary education is not cheap, and research shows that annual salaries for trained chefs doesn't differ very drastically at all from those of chefs who only graduated high school; in fact, a degree from a culinary institution only warrants between 2 to 11 percent more money earned per year. So why are culinary school enrollment numbers at an all-time high? Watch for current students’ take on the reason they decided to attend, and their hopes for the future.