How do I Choose the Best Italian Cooking School?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

If visions of lasagna dripping with sauce, steam spiraling off of minestrone, or cream bursting out of cannoli cause great rapture, it may be time to search for an Italian cooking school. The culture of Italian cuisine is one of the most accessible, flexible, and friendly, and may be easily approached by even a novice chef. Attending an Italian cooking school may be a wonderful way to improve cooking skills and even begin a career in the delicious and hearty world of Italian food.

Chicken piccata is a traditional Italian dish.
Chicken piccata is a traditional Italian dish.

Choosing an Italian cooking school will often be based on availability, accessibility, and budget above all other factors. For those with casual interest, it may be wise to take a few basic courses at a community center or local college before embarking on a professionally-motivated course. Most community colleges that have a culinary program will feature some sort of Italian class; if there are none available, check with local cooking supply stores, as many offer one-day or reoccurring classes.

Even a novice chef can quickly learn the basics of Italian cooking.
Even a novice chef can quickly learn the basics of Italian cooking.

It may be difficult to find a culinary institute that specializes in Italian cuisine only, so be prepared to take classes in a variety of regional cuisine and styles. This can be greatly beneficial to a career as an Italian chef; Italian food is nothing if not open to transformation, and the more a chef is exposed to many types of food and ingredients, the more he or she can experiment with new twists. Try to get information on the faculty of prospective cooking schools. If a particular teacher has a strong background in Italian cuisine, take as many classes with him or her as possible, and do not be afraid to approach the chef with questions about a shared love of Italian food.

Culinary programs may offer a class on Italian cooking.
Culinary programs may offer a class on Italian cooking.

Choosing an Italian cooking school with a professional course will likely be quite expensive, but there are often grants, loans, and other forms of tuition assistance available. Inquire with the school’s financial aid program about possible work-study or teaching assistant positions, as well as any government or endowment aid that may be available. If tuition is prohibitive, consider gaining experience by taking a job at an Italian restaurant to save money for an Italian cooking school. Many experts agree that the education of working in a restaurant is invaluable, as there is no replacement for practical experience.

If budget is of less concern, consider allowing the choice to go to Italian cooking school to inspire a life change. Many suggest that the only place to truly learn Italian cooking is Italy, and the country is certainly replete with culinary schools. If the option is available, strongly consider applying to some Italian schools as well as any nearby. Learning to cook pasta primavera surrounded by the spires of Rome or the green hills of Tuscany may well be a dream that can be realized.

Italian cuisine is very flexible and offers lots of variety.
Italian cuisine is very flexible and offers lots of variety.
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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