Ventura County Star reports the culinary program at Oxnard College where they train aspiring chefs and restaurant managers, has become so popular it’s turning away students.
Where once wannabe actors dreamed of acting school and a Hollywood career, young wannabe chefs dream of chef school where they can train to become the next celebrity chef and star of their very own television show. With road trips and live concert-like events, celebrity chefs have reached rock star status.
“The Food Network and shows like Top Chef’ showed that cooking can be cool, that it’s an art form,”said Dustin Anderson, who graduated from Oxnard’s program three years ago and now owns his own catering company. “It’s one industry where there’s always jobs. Everybody needs to eat, and they still want a place to do that.”Of course, as the Star’s Jean Cowden Moore points out, today’s job market also plays a role as people who have been laid off train for new careers.
A word of warning to those budding Giadas and Bourdains…the culinary industry is harsh and demanding. For Chefs there are no Thanksgivings, Christmases or Valentine’s Days or weekends. Most successful chefs have worked their way up kitchens and started by peeling potatoes. Working in a kitchen is physically demanding, standing all day, lifting heavy pots in a hot sweaty environment for long hours. While a culinary education will help, most graduates will end up working for very low wages that may not pay off their student loans. Our advise, try it out before making the investment. Work in a few kitchens and get to know the field. If you still love it, then it is definitely for you.