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To school or not to school?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
After fifteen years of working as a foodservice professional, I decided to go to school. I have worked many years as a chef for restaurants so why would I think that school would benefit me now? I have my reasons and one of them is getting the certifications that I want. I started my own personal chef buisness and I plan on advertising myself as being ACF accredited. I started out learning in the trenches and have done well with that approach. My question to the forum is: What's your story/experience with choosing or not choosing culinary formal education and what advice can we offer those interested in starting a career in this industry?

"An ounce of sauce covers a multitude of sins"
-Anthony Bourdain
post #2 of 3
Well Jolly, I too have decided to go to school after many years in the industry. It's not so much about the certification as it is about the knowledge that I haven't been able to obtain through experience. I think that it is important to understand what it is you are getting into when you decide to belong to this industry. I feel it should be a criteria to have at least one years experience in the industry before a school will even accept you. A lot of the apprentices I have taught over the years have this romantic image about being a cook until you tell them to turn a 16 L of carrots three days in a row.
I have learned as much as I can on my own and now I would like the next phase. I will be learning how to actually take apart a cow from start to finish. What actually happens in a vineyard and cheese farm. 3 languages. The history of food, the science of food. Things that I have read about on my own time, the little time I have and now I am able to fully commit myself to learning these things.
I don't know about you, but I am a little worried about seeming out of place. I just hope there's more like us out there. Good luck and let me know how it goes for you.
Whenever we cook we become practical chemists, drawing on the accumulated knowledge of generations, and transforming what the Earth offers us into more concentrated forms of pleasure and nourishment.
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Whenever we cook we become practical chemists, drawing on the accumulated knowledge of generations, and transforming what the Earth offers us into more concentrated forms of pleasure and nourishment.
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post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
100folds
As it happens to be in my region, people here want to see some "paper" if they don't know you to well. I have a very generous "in", however, these are the types that like to know "where you have studied". So, I have to throw them a sardine. And that's all it takes. My "sardine", is my certifications...I guess I'm fishing, but the fishing is good where I am. Or maybe, I'm a good fisherman?
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