Current student at a downtown Dallas Community College (culinary, of course). Decided to attend here because of the stellar cost of the other name cooking schools in the country.
To be blunt, I don't like it. Not the school part, or the cooking, but I feel that I am not getting an education. I'll continue being blunt. I know many of you will say "School is what you make it, etc," but how can I gain real knowledge and experience when 4-5 of us have 3 hours to do like 3-5 recipes? Almost no hands on. I'm what you would call a "leader" in my classes, one, if not the, most knowledgable guy there, and am getting frustruated trying to explain over and over things that the chef has said like 3 times.
Many of the students don't care that much. Many are there for other reasons--doing restaurant management, or just floundering about on their parent's dime.
Many of the instructors aren't much better. Some are great, and many have good credentials and are fabulous instructors and chefs. Some are not. For example, a recent Chef was lecturing about deep frying and how it is a dry heat method. No problem there. But then he went on, after a question by another student, what saute was considered. He said saute was a wet method. I knew that wasn't correct, and I would NEVER call out and argue with a chef, especially in front of the class, but come on. He's the guy I am supposed to look up to?
I can't get a job in any good quality restaurant around town--yes I'm picky, but beyond the 2 stage's I've had (both Chef's let me come in for a night but didn't need a permanent cook) were great, but that's not experience enough. That's the only thing I hear when I apply for jobs--you dont' have enough expereince. School doesn't seem to impress them either.
So my question is this--I've been considering NECI's certificate (3 mos school, 700 hour intern, ~14k including room and board) program lately. I have confidence this will lead to a good cook job in the industry, sous at a good place in 3-5 years, etc. Is it worth the money in order to get my foot in the door, get the credentials from a well regarded, name school, or should I just keep plugging away, bugging every decent restaurant in the city until I get a good job?
Sorry for the long post, and sorry if I may have sounded full of myself earlier in my post, but I am severely frustuated, especially because I have the passion and the neccessary skills to do the job. Guess I needed to vent a bit. :)
Any thoughts would be appreciated.