Instant Culinary School

If you don't want to commit to a one- or two-year culinary arts school education, you can still sample culinary training. Get into a seminar or weekend course, and then into your kitchen for some personal time with your stove. Who knows? Your culinary education hors d'oeuvre might whet your appetite for the main course.

Hands-on Culinary Arts Training

It's called elite training. Culinary students get a first-rate education by working with other students, either buddied up in in a small group, under the direct tutelage of a world famous chef. Apprenticeships that were once limited to professional chefs seeking mentors have now opened up to the general public, and that means amateurs who just want a taste of the culinary arts will get their wish.

Culinary Training as Inspiration

Forbes magazine calls cooking seminars "quickie courses," targeting students who want a tasting of "lighthearted" culinary education. So the atmosphere of brief culinary classes tends to stress the fun of cooking, not the competitive Hell of Kitchen politics. Still, it's not impossible for the average Jane (or Joe) to learn the fine art of tikka and of cooking in karhais (skillets) from Julie Sahni, "the Indian Julia Child."

Top Chefs with a Passion for Culinary Education

Food writer Jenni Muir tells Forbes that veteran chefs like Sahni "teach because it's an outlet for their passion." You can find gourmet culinary arts professionals the world over who love to teach. Among them:

  • Glasgow restauranteur Nick Nairn, who teaches "new Scottish cooking"
  • Chef-restaurant owner Stavros Gogios, who will have you making Greek medezhes in no time
  • Darina Allen, who teaches organic cooking on an Irish farm where students gather produce

Cooking is a passion that dissolves social and cultural barriers, bringing people together. The love of food has drawn the editors of Gourmet and Saveur magazines to quickie culinary arts training, as well as Dole executive Patrick Friel and Whitney Museum curator Klaus Kertess. Join in for a sample of the cooking profession. You might turn your culinary arts training into an eight course educational banquet.


  • Peterson's Culinary Schools, 8th Edition. Thomson, 2005.
  • "Stir Crazy," by Dirk Smillie. Forbes 174.11 (Nov 29, 2004).