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Sep 11, 2012 09:24 PM

NYU Food studies program or a culinary school

Hello Fellow Chowhounders,
I am trying to transition myself into the food industry. I am in my early 40s, I have many years of experience mainly in management, sales and customer relations in apparel; and almost none in the food industry.

I am looking into the NYU Food Studies graduate program that seems to give a well rounded general food industry education and trying to make their application deadline. Their website says you could go into many different career paths after graduation, although I am not sure how since it is too general.

Also looked at the French Culinary Institute today and although it is a different path, it is a vocational school and I would graduate with skills to cook if I attended there. I am not looking to work at a restaurant kitchen, but there are a lot of jobs that require culinary education today, and that would be the path I'd follow if I attended there.

So, if you have any insight or opinion that you could share I would appreciate. Both are pretty expensive and I am having a hard time deciding.

Thanks very much for any feedback.


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    1. re: Quine

      Yes, I actually posted on there as well. Thanks for recommending.

    2. I am having a similar dilemma ( 41 years old and wanting to follow my passion) I'm wondering what you decided, or what information you found in your research, I've been having a hard time finding feedback from people who have gone to ICC (FCI), to see if they felt the knowledge and the experience was worth it. Investing close to $50,000 (which will be mostly debt) in solidifying my knowledge, or taking that same $ (small business loans) and using it as start up for a food business, and "flying by the seat of my pants" and maybe hiring the right people. If money wasn't a concern I'd do the 6 month program at ICC, no question, but between the tuition and finding an affordable situation to live in NY...I'm intimidated and overwhelmed. And starting my own restaurant without that rock solid foundation, seems nuts. I actually have worked in the food and hospitality business for 15+ years off and on, mostly front of house, I' m a damn good cook, and have a great palate and lots of food knowledge. I want to learn from a team of great instructors and beside people who are as passionate as I am. Just seems so impractical....stuck, dreaming and confused.

      2 Replies
      1. re: almaluna

        Look to see if your local area has a resource similar to this one in SF:

        I would think their input and guidance would be more valuable than cooking school if you do not plan to be a professional cook.

        1. re: almaluna

          I can understand how you feel. After researching and talking to different people, I decided on the NYU program, but at the end I ended up not doing it because of financial concerns. The other area I was looking in was non-profits and I pursued that route instead. I still dream about having a food line direct to consumer though :)

          Most people said the ICC tuition was too high and did not provide a good ROI, although there were some that were holding good jobs and happy with the outcome too. I guess at the end it really depends on what you want to do later on.

          Sorry I hope I didn't confuse you any further.

        2. One is mostly intellectual, the other mostly physical. If you can really apply yourself to your studies and to a life of intellectual achievement, then go for it. But I think approaching it with rigor is the only way to go. That means a ton of reading, writing, and coalescing your thoughts into new ideas.

          1. While you are thinking about it, consider taking some Coursera classes in food areas. I have taken several and find them really interesting, particularly in the areas of global foodways and food-related policy issues. You might find that they give you ideas about where to take a food education, careerwise.