After the heady time in San Francisco, he had stopped learning but couldn’t stop playing.

LIKE MANY New York restaurants, Babbo accepts “externs,” cooking school students who work for no pay and then write a thesis about the experience—often the final requirement in a cooking degree. The United States has two hundred and twenty-nine officially recognized cooking schools, which produce 25,000 graduates a year, including older ones (not unlike me) who always wanted to cook but didn’t know how. The Harvard and Yale is the Culinary Institute of America, the CIA, two hours north of New York City on the Hudson River, which offers a four-year degree course for an annual tuition of $20,000, including knives and aprons. Not cheap, but most Babbo cooks had gone there.

After the heady time in San Francisco, he had stopped learning but couldn’t stop playing.

LIKE MANY New York restaurants, Babbo accepts “externs,” cooking school students who work for no pay and then write a thesis about the experience—often the final requirement in a cooking degree. The United States has two hundred and twenty-nine officially recognized cooking schools, which produce 25,000 graduates a year, including older ones (not unlike me) who always wanted to cook but didn’t know how. The Harvard and Yale is the Culinary Institute of America, the CIA, two hours north of New York City on the Hudson River, which offers a four-year degree course for an annual tuition of $20,000, including knives and aprons. Not cheap, but most Babbo cooks had gone there.

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