"Our culinary arts and pastry career programs have been attracting students of all ages and professional backgrounds," said Rick Smilow, president of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. "We have everyone from former Wall Street bankers to marketing managers to talented kids out of high school or college, all of whom are looking to switch careers in the rocky economy."
But a diploma from a leading culinary school doesn't only lend itself to a position as a chef. More and more culinary school graduates are using their degrees to enter the fields of hospitality, food media and personal start-ups from coast to coast. Professionally trained chefs can go on to command kitchens or boardrooms, which allows them to dip into an industry driven by their passion rather than economic gains.
"Our students go on to work in some of the top restaurants in the country," Smilow said. "But they aren't all working directly as chefs; a lot of them get involved in fields like research and development at major food brands, work in food media or are entrepreneurs building food businesses."
The rise of culinary school enrollments may signal an oncoming tidal wave of career-changers, as economic woes leave many with a desire to start new in an industry once only considered a dream job. So while the economy may be down, attitudes will be up as more and more Americans find happiness in the world of food.
For more information, visit www.iceculinary.com.