Do you want to pursue a career in the culinary arts as a chef or other culinary professional? There are a number of Atlanta culinary schools to choose from, but they can be costly. If you really want to acquire culinary expertise and in-the-industry connections, attending an expensive and lengthy program is not the only way to go. In fact, prior to the advent of the culinary arts school, chefs became chefs through a system of apprenticeship in which they advanced in rank as they perfected their cookery skills. Starting at the bottom and working your way up is still the way things are done in much of the world of professional cooking.
CASA. The apprenticeship model culinary school.
Such a system makes sense for the world of cooking because where else can one stand to learn more about actual food preparation, recipe creation, techniques and practices than from inside a professional restaurant environment? The modern day cooking schools are, from a historical standpoint, a recent development and they’ve turned out to be largely ineffective. Those who enroll in these institutions pay a lot of money for the privilege of attending lectures, watching others cook, writing papers and then, yes, cooking when not doing the rest. Furthermore, the lessons are homogenized. While a thorough understanding of tradition and techniques is essential, staid lesson plans lacking in individuality don’t exactly set the foundation for individuality and creativity in the culinary arts. Rather than move across the country to Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York, why not tap into the vibrant food culture of Atlanta? This bustling city might be called the epicenter of New Southern Cooking. Its rich culinary history has brought us regional favorites like shrimp and grits, crab fritters, and Brunswick stew. And newcomers from other parts of the world are constantly adding to the culture, making Atlanta one of the most culturally diverse culinary cities on the map. Here, a love of innovation coexists alongside valued traditions. In this terrain, cuisine from Indonesia gets reinterpreted with a Southern flair and Korean tacos are as much a mainstay as chicken and waffles. Head over the area known as Little Five Point and you can find both down-home and high-end restaurants serving molasses-rubbed pork tenderloin and homemade biscuits. Cross the street and you’ll find mushroom bhaji, garlic naan. Head a bit further down the street for Ethiopian dishes like misir wot and kitfo. One Midtown co-chefs Matt Weinstein and Christopher Maher helm one of Midtown’s most popular restaurants. Weinstein’s innovative cooking style and Maher’s classic, refined approach meet in a duo that makes the best of both of these chefs’ strengths. At One chicken tinga empanadas find can be found alongside sweetbreads and Atlanta’s own shrimp and grits. So what do they call this newfangled cookery? Why “high-energy American cuisine,” what else? If you head 20 minutes north of Atlanta to Shady Springs, you’ll see where the well-known chef Peter Chang has setup shop. Although the name might fool you, his Tasty King II is home to some of most authentic Szechwan cuisine you’ll find in the U.S. Chang is recognized as a master of tapping into food culture and intuiting where things are headed next. That he’s chosen to cook here is something of which gastronomes are going to want to take note. Atlanta’s deep history, love of pushing boundaries and sense of urban refinement, makes it fertile terrain for aspiring chefs who want to make their mark. If you’re serious about pursuing a career in the culinary arts as a chef or culinary professional, get started from inside the industry as opposed to outside of it. CASA SCHOOLS Chef Apprentice School of the Arts 1170 Peachtree Street NE Suite 1200 Atlanta, GA 30309 (404) 793-7610