Food Network’s food-career frenzy? An examination of students’ motivations to attend culinary school
This research presents the findings of a year long study, undertaken between 2016 and 2017, seeking to understand the degree to which students are influenced to attend culinary school by food medias, social media, and the Food Network. The notion that food medias draw the majority of new cooks to the industry is often present in popular media discourses, although no data exists seeking to understand this relationship. This study reveals that food medias play a secondary or tertiary role in influencing students to register at culinary school, while also showing previously unknown patterns related to culinary students’ intention to persist with culinary careers. Nearly 40 percent of this sample do not intend to remain cooking professionally for greater than five years, and about 30 percent are “keeping other doors open” upon entry into culinary school. Although food celebrity certainly plays a role in awareness about culinary careers, intrinsic career aspirations are the most frequently reported motivation.