The pursuit of a culinary education is undertaken by many people for many reasons. Some of the reasons are actually about food but other reasons may seem surprising.
Perhaps the most obvious and, hopefully, most common reason to pursue a culinary education is to advance or establish a career as a culinary professional.
Many culinary students have experience in the food service industry before furthering their culinary education. In fact, job history statistics published in recent years indicate that about 85% of the first jobs for all Americans was in the food service industry.
Although the industry has traditionally been considered a "pass through" industry, one people work as a means to achieving an end - down payment on a house or new car, college graduation, etc., - more often today, workers in the industry are pursuing an advanced culinary education because they like the work so much they want to build a career on it. They want the advanced education required to advance within the industry.
Sometimes the student enrolled in higher culinary education is young, a recent graduate from high school, who isn't clear yet on what he or she really wants to do on a long-term basis. Oftentimes these students find the work too grueling and move on to other avenues of employment or they find they love the industry so much they become avid learners with solid culinary career goals in mind.
Many of the people enrolled in advanced culinary education are older, with well-respected career history in their backgrounds. The problem with that career history is that the field of work wasn't all that satisfying and now the student is ready to pursue a career for the joy of the work itself.
Still other students of a culinary education plan to combine the best of two worlds - their current career plus the knowledge obtained in culinary school. In many cases, these students have a well-established career in some area that will enhance the knowledge of the food industry. They may come perhaps from a background in accounting, art, business management, advertising, or one of the related sciences.
Ask a hundred students in culinary school why they chose to pursue a culinary education and they're likely to cite one or more of the above reasons.
Ask a hundred and one students the same question about their reasons behind a culinary education and one of those answers may be a little more refreshing. It may be simply because the student wants to learn how to be a better cook.