Educate Yourself To Restaurant Success No Culinary Degree Necessary

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Read, Research and Hands On are the best ways to Restaurant Success.

I’m not saying culinary school isn’t necessary! 

There are few formal educational requirements for cooks and chefs since you can qualify for most jobs in this field through on-the-job training.

That means that you do not have to earn a cooking certificate or degree in order to work in this field.

culinary school

If you can afford to of course you should go, even if you drop out after a few semesters and can’t wait to start your own venture.

College education will always be of value to your life and career.

 YOU can be a successful restaurateur with out a culinary degree!

“It sets us apart because we’re a little more driven,” Nguyen says. “We don’t have the advantage of a piece of paper. We have will.”  Chef Jennifer Nguyen

If you have a strong desire to learn, a passion to achieve, with or without having the schooling you have the opportunity to be a success!

chef J N

When Jennifer Nguyen has 10 free minutes at work, you won’t catch her texting with friends. Instead, the executive chef of Zentan, a new age Asian restaurant in Thomas Circle in DC, is likely leading an impromptu how to slice sashimi as the kitchen crew looks on.

She finds every teachable moment because, as a chef who never attended culinary school, she knows the importance of curiosity in the kitchen.

I couldn’t afford to go to culinary school so I spent the first 5 years of my culinary career reading, researching and getting hands on experience at every concept I could.

Educate Yourself To Restaurant Success No Culinary Degree Necessary

I’m living proof that one doesn’t need a specific degree or certification to become a successful restaurant entrepreneur.

When I got my first job in the food industry I didn’t own chef knife, stock pots, sauté pan, mixer or have an artillery of recipes.

In fact I spent very little time in our kitchen or watching my Mom create many of her wonderful signature dishes when I was growing up. Who New!!!

I was more interested in hanging out with my friends, listening to music, playing my guitar, or being out in nature. I never worried about cooking or eating.

My Mom took her job seriously, I’d never go hungry and there would always be our daily delicious meals waiting for us. Even if you couldn’t make it home for dinner on time she’d have it on the stove ready to heat it for you.

So my torrid love affair with becoming CHEF came later on in my life. After I dropped out of college just one semester short of a 2 year Associate degree – do those even exist anymore?… And having quit several jobs.

Despite my lack of experience at the time I succeeded in the world of the food industry, mainly using  the skills I had, like listening, understanding  needs, connecting  with people, having dexterity in hands from playing the guitar for many years.  

It also helped remembering how food brought our family together and how important it was to my Mom that we spent time together at the dinner table.

Traditions are big in many family till this day and certain holidays and foods that accompanied them still linger in my HAPPY memory bank.

Ok enough nostalgia for one post! Back to my self-taught and on the job training in the food business.

It took a few years of reflecting on my professional cooking journey to decide my biggest risk would have been NOT taking the risk to open my restaurant, café and catering businesses.

I credit a lack of fear and an overabundance of passion to take a professional risk and a willingness to test, try and accept that I may not of had all the answers but I would find them and continuing to learn along the way. Nothing would stop me from being in my own Food Business…

I visited culinary and restaurant management college libraries and book stores, did everything I could but attend classes.

Believe me I thought about sitting in on some but I thought working in restaurants would be just as educating. 

Reality Check below!

“Every time I write that $400 check to pay back my loans, I kick myself,” says Marco Saurez, executive chef at Bon Savor in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. As a teenager he worked at a deli, and later at a catering company. One day, his boss took him for a visit to the CIA’s idyllic campus in Hyde Park, which overlooks the Hudson River. “I fell in love,” Suarez says. He enrolled in the 38-month Bachelor of Professional Studies Program, which includes long externships in outside restaurants. “It was really at the externships that I learned the most, and now I wonder why I didn’t just take a $25,000 loan and use that to survive while working my way up in a kitchen.”

Great success stories in the industry with no Formal Culinary Education ~Thomas Keller ~Santi Santamaria ~Ferran Adria ~Mario Batali~Alice Waters~Charlie Trotter to name a few.

Educate Yourself To Restaurant Success No Culinary Degree Necessary

jeannette in kitchen

My experience. If you’re interested!

“With a culinary degree you’re learning principles, ideas and technique, but learning those things in a busy kitchen is a different thing,” Babin says. “You’re getting a real-time reaction of your peers, your boss and the guests. That experience molds you much more quickly than culinary school.” Michael Babin, founder of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group (which oversees 17  restaurants)


Do you have a passion for the Culinary Arts and One of the most important characteristics of a good chef, do you have a good sense of business?

You should know how to effectively prepare food and beverage items in a way that will maintain the efficiency of a kitchen!

Gaining hands-on experience in a dining establishment is a sure way of becoming a skilled chef. 

To be a successful chef, a person must be willing to practice his or her cooking techniques on a continual basis. In fact, the best of chefs know that great cooking skills comes with many years of practice.

A culinary degree can be a way to start that experience but not a necessary road you have to take to be a successful chef!

I look forward to sharing, educating, growing and guiding you on a successful journey in the restaurant and food industry.

Check-out my hand picked books that I will be suggesting from time to time!

I begin with “THE FATHER of CULINARY”


Presented for the first time to the English-speaking public, here is the entire translation of Auguste Escoffier’s masterpiece Le Guide Culinaire. Its basic principles are as valid today as when it was first published in 1903. It offers those who practice the art of cookery—whether they be professional chefs or managers, housewives, gourmets or students of haute cuisine—invaluable guidelines culled from more than fifty years’ experience.

Educate Yourself To Restaurant Success No Culinary Degree Necessary

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