NECI is smart, they had me tour with a 40ish second year student, I felt a little more at ease. If I was only subject to 18-20 year olds saying, "I'm here 'cause I love to cook," I would have run run run away.
During the tour I met a first year student (32) who was an exec chef in Mississippi until Katrina swept his restaurant away. (Fortunately, he didn't own it) He seemed to like the program, and said what I wanted to hear, "You get as much as you want out of it. Just ask the instructors for a better challenge and they will give it to you." He was happy with his choice.
Anywho, NECI has a good rep, and it's only about an hour's drive. I'm looking at the Baking & Pastry program as I have not had any formal training on the matter. I do have a knack, but I taught myself almost everything that I know about laminated doughs from reading and doing (Fannie Farmer's book of baking... a must read).
Perhaps I was a bit of a keener on the tour, but I wanted some pretty specific info. We were leaving the bakery and I asked, "Whoa!! What about sugar work???" A chef hat with a head in it popped around the corner followed by the rest of the chef who was delighted to show off HIS stuff. I figured that hey, these sugar flowers are nice, and although students didn't make them, the uber chef that did is here and available. That's a good thing.
Then it was off to admissions to talk about nothing really.
Then I sat for a bit with Chef Jason (For folks who'd know him) and talked about my illustrious 15 years of climbing the ladder, and falling off the ladder a few times too. My current pair of kitchen clogs has logged more hours than most second year students have, but my foundation is like swiss cheese. I'd like to fill in a few gaps, and the most gaps would be in areas where Fannie Farmer was a little vague in her baking descriptions. :cool:
Sooo..... It all looks pretty cool, and it could be condensed down to nine months of class, then one internship.
If I do not get a job offer from the Bellagio in Vegas (Applied last week), then I think that I'll hone my skills with the good people at NECI. Hey, maybe they'll hire me to teach 'Chaos Management' as a new course. Course to cover things like:
- Dealing with a plate getting smashed into your mise-en-place during service.
- 10 easy ways to light a stove that has no pilot.
- Health inspector manipulation. (A personal favorite :smoking: )
- Roof and hood repair 101 - extra credit for getting on roof without a ladder.
Pehaps I could also have a class in my other speciality, getting free stuff from purveyors. (Fridges, Makita Drills, Glassware, meats, etc)
All things to think about. For now though, I'd like to know more ways to make creme anglaise.