I have been cooking on my own all through college. Few people took it seriously at Yale--a school that breeds vice presidents and great business moguls, not chefs. I spent my junior year in Italy, going to regular school by day and the Cordon Bleu cooking school by night. There I found people who shared my passion, people who would spend hours discussing food and wine as works of art, tasting, praising, criticizing.
I am now a senior, with no idea where to go from here. My passion is cooking, but I realize that a degree is what's respected in order to get a good job. If a university-type curriculum in the culinary arts existed at UC Santa Barbara, people with the same interests could come from around the world to learn and share. It would be legitimate--an education. Plus American students would not have to travel to Italy and France to follow their dream; they'd get it here in Southern California, their own backyard.