Travel: Your Chef School After Chef School

I have a friend who worked as an executive chef, designing fabulous, fresh Italian-inspired menus. Not only was his food unique and appealing, his lifestyle matched his cuisine. Though he was long out of culinary arts school, he never lost his enthusiasm for learning about all things culinary. Consequently, his career path followed an upward trajectory--all because of those summers in Italy. Nice job, if you can get it--and you're closer to getting it if you make travel your chef school.

Tax Deductions for Culinary Arts

Restaurant News columnist Carolyn Walkup quotes an executive chef friend, Tony Manuano, whose culinary career echoes my pal's. Before Mantuano landed his position cooking Italian, he'd already lived a year in Italy. "It's important to taste things directly," he points out. "It keeps your cooking unique." It's the chef's job to bring new tastes to his or her customers, and the only way to do that is to immerse oneself in the Country-as-Chef-School experience.

Lacking that direct encounter with authentic culinary arts, the danger of "Americanizing" the cuisine by "interpreting" it is great. If you're already working as a chef, the news gets even better. Because your culinary travel is a post-chef-school training session and not just a vacation, it's tax deductible. You get to add local color to your cooking while Uncle Sam defrays your expenses.

Culinary Arts Travel for the Chef School Student

Chef and restaurant owner Didier Durand points to travel as a great way to get ideas. He "encourages culinary school interns he has hired to work in France for three months before they graduate," Walkup reports. And he's not just talk. He helps his interns find apprenticeships. Even if you don't have a mentor as invested in your success as Durand, you can still invest in culinary arts study abroad. Then, you'll have a unique style to offer your potential employers along with your chef school degree.

If you can swing it, travel to enhance your cooking skills can only help you get one of those great chef jobs you're craving.

  • Peterson's Culinary Schools, 8th Edition. Thomson, 2005.
  • "A week in Provence: European travels give chefs taste of authenticity, ideas," by Carolyn Walkup. Nation's Restaurant News 39.32 (Aug 8, 2005).