You have to have a passion for cookery, an understanding of what things taste like.
Sometimes the best food education is actually eating. Some of the best palates I know are those of people who have grown up with good food. That, combined with passion for good food, has made them great chefs.
Some catering schools turn out robots rather than people with a passion for cooking. The French system teaches really basic skills. Somebody who graduates from a school like that can go anywhere in the world and cook.
That's the big difference - and it's partly because we're not in a food culture. In France cookery is looked on with pride and respect. That is going to have to change in this country.