To become “Escoffier Certified" cost $5,000.
A kid shows up at your door with a diploma from a new online cooking school. It says he’s “Escoffier Certified.” Should you hire him to work at your restaurant?
Freshly minted culinary school graduates are a cherished pool of new talent for restaurants. In what other field will ambitious newcomers invest up to $50,000 and devote a year or more of their lives to learn a skill that, to start, pays $10-$12 an hour? The net training cost to the restaurant operator: zero.
It’s a sweet deal, and it could get even sweeter if a low-cost alternative to traditional culinary school proves effective.
The Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy isn’t designed to put other schools out of business. In fact, its backer, Triumph Higher Education Group, operates two brick-and-mortar schools under the Escoffier banner. Those campuses are located in Boulder, CO, and Austin, TX. Tuition is approximately $25,000 per one-year program at each.
In contrast, Escoffier Online costs $5,000. Its self-directed program takes two to four months to complete, although students have a full calendar year to finish their coursework. There’s no specific start date, so students can arrange their own schedule.
The big question here: Is professional cooking a skill you can learn by staring at a computer screen, no matter how cleverly interactive the instructional material might be? We’ll find out when the first wave of Escoffier Online grads go out into the industry. And we think there will be plenty of them, because students can complete their studies without having to relocate, finance a big-ticket tuition bill or spend specific hours in the classroom. Cost and convenience will attract plenty of aspiring culinarians.
Who are they likely to be? Perhaps enthusiastic newcomers who hold down entry-level jobs in restaurant kitchens will see online studies completed on their own time as a valuable complement to the school-of-hard-knocks learning they acquire during work.
So should you hire Escoffier-certified graduates? If they have at least a little practical experience, why not give them a shot?