“I put my degree on applications, and they make fun of me for it.”

Want to be a chef? Think twice about culinary school.

Locally, you'll end up paying $47,152 for a 21 month (full-time) Associates Degree at The Art Institute Of Tampa, or over $40,000 for 28 months at Keiser in Sarasota. For some people the experience is undoubtedly worth it.

The dreary truth is that I've heard variations of that title quote from many culinary academy grads. And I've heard from many restaurant folk that there can be a backlash to pushing school experience, even from chefs who actually attended culinary school, a perception that students come out of programs with an "attitude". Most chefs prefer proven, work-a-day kitchen experience. In the trenches, yo.

Two years and a lot of money? Or two years slogging through the lowest levels of a restaurant kitchen? Neither sounds pretty, unless it's for a dream.

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