For many people the pinnacle of cooking is French cooking. To these people, if you can cook in the French manner, then you are a true chef that is worthy of the name. In fact, if you are interested in a career as a chef, if you can state that you went to a French cooking school many times that is all you need to get your foot in the door. There are two questions though; how to decide on, and prepare for, the French cooking schools that will help you fulfill your dream. The answer to those questions can be found in these simple guidelines.
- Practice. When thinking about attending a French cooking school, the very first thing that you should do is to begin practicing. While you might think that this is a little difficult, have no fear. The best resource you could have at your disposal would be to get a copy of those classic cook books, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, vol. 1 and vol. 2, and practicing the recipes. It may take time since there are over 500 recipes in them, but this will help give you a solid foundation in French cooking.
- Research. Just as when you begin looking into any school, college, university, or institute of higher learning, it always pays to conduct a little of your own research. This usually entails looking into not just the big name schools, but the local ones as well. Find out what the entry requirements are for the different schools, their course of study, where they are located, the cost of attending, and the length of their programs. Finding this information will give you a solid basis to form your decision. One thing that is an absolute must for a good cooking school though, French or otherwise, and that is it must have a "laboratory" or kitchen for you to work in while attending.
- Reputation. Just as with any other school, French cooking schools are going to have a reputation. Before determining which school you will attend, you need to determine its reputation. While it would be nice to attend a world class institute such as the French Culinary Institute in New York, or even Le Cordon Bleu, not everyone is going to be able to get in. If possible, interview local chefs and get their impression of local cooking schools. Ask the schools admissions office for success rates of graduates, and so on.
- Apply. After conducting your research, and practicing, there is only one thing left to do. That is to make your decision and apply to a school. Keep in mind though that it is always best to apply to multiple schools, that way you do not put all your eggs into one basket.