A career as a restaurant chef, once a blue-collar occupation, has now become a glamour profession.
Driven by reality TV, the Food Network, and food-related media buzz, interest in culinary education is at an all-time high.
Big-name schools like the Culinary Institute of America and Johnson & Wales University have responded by opening branch campuses across America.
Sensing a business opportunity, numerous for-profit ventures have also jumped onto the culinary education bandwagon. So many have opened in the last few years that fully half the schools currently accredited by the American Culinary Federation are being operated as moneymaking enterprises.
Now, with public higher education facing budget cuts and privately run schools subject to tighter financial aid regulations, the prospects for culinary education seem less rosy.
Compounding these funding concerns is a growing glut of culinary school graduates, many of whom imagined their degrees would be a shortcut to celebrity chef status.
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