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Culinary Programs For High School Students

Mike Said:

What could a high school student get into involving cooking?

We Answered:

Congratulations on the awards you've received from your school's culinary program! What a wonderful achievement! And hooray for your school for having such a visionary yet practical program!
You're so lucky that you've discovered your passion so early! Many of us finish high school and then go on to college and, finally, into a series of careers and we *still* don't know what we want to *be* when we grow up! <wink>
There are so many options available to you with your gifts and talents!
You could become a personal chef and cook special meals for others in your community who would be very grateful and would pay you well. People are often on special diets and they might not be able to prepare meals for themselves. You'd probably first cook out of your home and deliver these meals to your customers and then later, when you have the money, you can prepare these special foods/meals at a leased or owned site. To learn more about careers as a personal chef, you can go to and to, as well as other websites.
You could give cooking lessons to the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other youth groups as well as to adults and/or homeschoolers. Many of these people and groups meet in churches or other facilities that already have kitchens. The scouts need to earn merit badges, so they'd welcome your help and expertise! A homeschooling support group would welcome this kind of interactive, experiential learning! Just figure out what the cost of food, supplies, your time, transportation, rentals, etc. would be and come up with an hourly rate that would ensure a profit for you. Then, when people sign up for your class or a series of classes, you can divide the total cost by the number of students and everyone will be happy and satisfied!
Sometimes, churches and other non-profit organizations publish cookbooks as a fundraising activity. People share their favorite recipes which are tested and them compiled into a one-volume, usually spiral-bound book. You might want to approach some non-profits in your community and see if they might have an interest. Then you'd become the project leader. To get some ideas about these "fundraiser cookbooks", just do a web search. Some hits I received were… and… as well as dozens of others. Be sure to get references from other organizations that have used these printing companies in the past before you sign any contracts. Also, you might have a printing company in your area who would be willing to donate time and materials to print these cookbooks for a worthy, local cause. You might even consider putting this kind of fundraising cookbook together with your culinary classmates and teachers and donate the proceeds to your school's culinary program! Then, you'd be a published cookbook author or editor!
You can also volunteer in a food pantry or soup kitchen and help to prepare food for others with fellow volunteers. A friend of mine taught people at our local food pantry how to cook meals from the food they were receiving each week. (As in, What do we do with kale? How do you cook/eat an artichoke?) This was a win-win for all! This same friend did some cooking demonstrations at our local Farmers' Market, and the various vendors were happy to donate the raw food items since the audience, after taste-testing the finished food, swarmed to their stalls and booths to buy ingredients needed to replicate the recipes. This friend actually had the recipes printed out for the audience to take home if they were interested.
I used to run a program where teenagers helped homebound senior citizens by preparing their meals, chopping vegetables, doing their shopping, and the like. This is another way to be of food-related service where it's needed.
Other teen and 20-something friends have been involved in Food Not Bombs where they cook and share meals with the hungry. To learn more and to see if there's a local Food Not Bombs program near you (or if you want to start one!), just go to
If you're interested, you might also want to become involved in the growing sustainable agriculture movement. Some information is available at… and at… as well as other websites.
You can eventually attend a culinary academy and receive your certification. There are even some great culinary institutes in countries outside the U.S. which offer hands-on immersion experiences. Check with your teachers for reputable programs. I've found an example in Italy at, but I'm, frankly, not familiar with this particular institute, per se. You can also check with your instructors about any local apprenticeship programs.
When you're older and don't need a work permit, you can work for a local restaurant and gain experience as you make your way up to an executive chef level. Many restaurants like to train their own staff and chefs. A good calculator to determine salaries, etc. for culinary positions is at…
A wonderful, creative life awaits you and I truly wish you the best!

Marc Said:

What would be an efficient use of the time gap between high school and college?

We Answered:

All of your choices are good ones but what do YOU want to do? This is the question you should be asking yourself. Of course your first choice is possibly the best as it always helps to save money for college and it will give you financial stability. Volunteer work abroad will show you things that will help you mature but as you are only 16..... you would be too young. So preferably your first choice as long as your parents are happy with it. But moving away from home at such a young age is not a good idea..... When you get older 10-20 years down the line you will understand but for now you probably dream of leaving home and being independent, don't rush that one just yet.......Family is family and it is always good to have them around....
Good luck and I hope all works out for you.

Bessie Said:

i need help on what high school to go to! please answer!!?

We Answered:

I STRONGLY suggest a technical school. I was forced into catholic school freshman year after going to public school all my life, and the school was like 10 towns away, I had no friends and I was completely rebellious and did horribly. If I would have went to a technical school, I would already know a trade or how to do something. Right now, I am 24 and can't find a job, still have 2 years of college left. (I didn't go right away)

My other option was the local public school. Glad I didn't go there either. Half my class was pregnant by sophomore year or dropped out.

Say YES to technical school and NO to public school!!! :) If your Dad wants to know why, tell him to contact me and I'll explain how I am 24 and can't afford to buy a gallon of milk or pay my rent. hehe

Good luck!!!

Felix Said:

I am looking for high school culinary teachers to video link with and share blogs with students?

We Answered:

contact Alex Varga at Salmon Arm Secondary in Salmon Arm BC for contact info.

Melinda Said:

i need to find out what high school im going to attend next year. I'm torn between two any help?

We Answered:

Visit both schools with your parents and make up your mind that way./

George Said:

Culinary School: What Do They Look For In A Potential Student?

We Answered:

Do you regularly cook for your family or friends?
Do you have any specialty dishes?
Did the short term jobs in kitchens involve handling or preparing food? If so, go ahead and mention them. Have a good reply ready for "why" you left--did you need to apply yourself to your school work instead of work or your family needed you. Don't say that you had conflicts with people you worked with/for.
Instead of saying "I love to cook" try "I live to cook" (sounds like you could hardly go on living unless you can cook)
You may not be accepted in a top culinary school but don't let that keep you from applying to other, lesser known schools or even check to see if a local college has a culinary program.
Hopefully with the economy being bad, the schools are opening their doors a little wider,
Good luck.

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