Attend Chef Colleges in Pasadena, CA

Pasadena lies in the heart of Southern California and is known for its year-round temperate climates, for being home to the Rose Bowl and for its growing restaurant scene. Some celebrity chefs such as Wolfgang Puck and Mary Sue Milliken have restaurants there. With its top chefs, thriving tourism industry and proximity to Los Angeles, Pasadena is primed for growth in its restaurant industry, as well as opportunities for up-and-coming chefs. And it has the culinary programs to train them.

Evaluating Your Options

Accreditation and rank are important, but you should look closer before you choose a culinary school to make sure that it has all the right ingredients. You can’t learn to be a chef without the right kitchen, and any good program should have both a star training kitchen and a student-run restaurant that is open to the public. For example, the Le Cordon Bleu Program at the California School of the Arts has a restaurant, café and retail store. Next, look for schools that have experienced chefs on staff. Book learning will only get you so far as a chef; you want to learn from those who have experience, and you want to get hands-on experience for yourself. Make sure your program has sponsorships or opportunities for internships or job placement. Otherwise, your diploma could end up just being a pretty piece of paper on the wall.

Applying to culinary school should be the easiest part of the process. Typically, schools only require that basic academic standards are met, such as a high-school diploma or GED. More advanced requirements may include entrance testing or proof that you’ve had word experience or other training in the kitchen.

More Options for Your Degree

You don’t have to be stuck in a traditional full-time, 9 to 5, four-year program. Most schools offer options ranging from night and weekend classes to online programming to allow you some flexibility with scheduling. Even more good news: Most degrees can be finished in about two years or less. Some schools also offer options to fast-track your degree, or offer certificate or diploma options that can be finished in about a year. Online courses are becoming more and more common, as well. Some schools have video instruction for learning cooking techniques, but most simply offer online courses as supplements to work you’ve already done in the kitchen. For those interested in management or food safety, there are many more options for finishing your degree exclusively online.

You Graduated. Now What?

Demand should continue to grow in the region with its strategic location and presence in the tourism industry. In order to make the most of your opportunities, expand your professional network. Join groups such as the California Restaurant Association to meet industry insiders and to get exclusive access to job listings, conferences and other events. Attending food and wine festivals will also give you the chance to meet restaurant professionals. While you’re there, you can also enter food competitions and start building your culinary reputation.

Once you do land a job, salary expectations will vary. If you’re working at the top job at one of the hottest restaurants in town, chances are you’ll be making the best salary. But if you’re flipping burgers at an after-hours diner, you probably won’t. Experience, position and type of establishment will all be significant in determining pay. Shoot for jobs at hotels, resorts, spas and fine-dining restaurants, and you’ll fare better.

Downtown Pasadena.

Campus-Based Programs

Pasadena City College
1570 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91106
Hotel and Restaurant Management
ACCJC accredited

Le Cordon Bleu at the California School of Culinary Arts
521 E. Green St.
Pasadena, CA 91101
Culinary Arts
Patisserie and Baking
Hospitality and Restaurant Management
ACICS accredited

Online-Based Programs

The Art Institutes of Pittsburgh – Online Division
Hotel and Restaurant Management
MSCHE accredited

Ashworth College
Hotel and Restaurant Management
DETC accredited

The Culinary Institute of America – CIA Pro Chef
Culinary Arts
CHEMSACS accredited

Johnson and Wales University
Baking & Pastry Arts and Food Service Management
Culinary Arts & Food Service Management
NEASC accredited

Le Cordon Bleu – Online Division
Culinary Management
ACCSC & ACICS accredited

Penn Foster Career School
Hotel and Restaurant Management
DETC & CHEA accredited

SITE Academy
No regional accreditation
AHLA association

Sullivan College
Beverage Management
CCSACS & ACF accredited

Stratford Career Institute
Hotel/Restaurant Management
Travel and Tourism
DlA member, no regional accreditation

Virginia College Online
Culinary Arts
ACICS accredited

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