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Help me please

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm new to these forums, but not to the cooking scene. I've been a cook at a local specialty restaurant for five years now, but I feel I need schooling if I were to become any better as a chef. So I've been out of high school for about two years now, and flopping all around doing whatever. Now I know I want to become a professional chef, the only problem is where should I go? I feel like the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago could be the right place to go, but some people I talk to say, "it's too expensive", and, "not worth going into debt". I have two questions: one, (I live in Southwest Michigan), are there any good culinary schools in that area? and 2, are most culinary school expensive, and/or worth the money......... and 3, does anyone have anything to say about the Illinois Institute of Art? Please help me out because I would really like to get into the professional cooking world, thanks in advance.
post #2 of 3
I dont know about that particular school but i can tell you most culinary schoolls run between 25.000 and 40.000 thousand from what i can tell. But i have seen some folks here mention going to community colleges and such for the culinary experience. I attended a school in New York called Institute of Culinary Education.

From my esperience of going to school what i can say is wht you are going to learn in a culinary school is lots of technique. That is mainly what they are there for to show you the proper way to do most of your cooking and it does not matter that you have not been in school for a while because for the most part all of the work is hands on.

my tow cents

post #3 of 3
I live and work in the Chicago area and can tell you that the Institute is a decent place. However, it is expensive ($38,000). It has one thing that you may want to consider assuming you can pay for the school: It is right downtown in one of the largest and busiest cities in the world. That fact brings a whole host of other issues to bear, such as can you afford to live there? Can you even find a place to live? Can you afford transportation? Parking at $20 a day if you drive there? The Art Institute is primarily know as a world renowned art school, culinary arts are fairly recent there. Most of the people who go there have a lot of family resources from which to draw.
Other schools are Kendall college, north of the city in Evanston (by Northwestern University) and the Cooking Hospitality Institute of Chicago (known by the name "chic"). This school now has an accredited Cordon Bleu Program from Paris and has a good internship program in the second year with some high end restaurants. It is about $36,000. That translates to roughly $300 a month to pay back that kind of student loan ( at 7% interest) for a very long time. The interest (up to $2,500 a year) is a whopping credit, not a deduction, but a credit on you income taxes, regardless of what form (long or short) you files. This translates to getting a piece of the loan payments back in the form of a higher refund every year. This help defray the cost. Considereing that the average undergraduate degree in a private school is running about $60,000, it may just be a bargain. The question you ask yourself is this: do I want to be a Chef, or a cook? Culinary school will help you on the road to being a Chef, with the attendant responsibilities and yes, the rewards. It is my experience that most people who disparage going to culinary school, are not inclined to be a Chef anyway. If you go to school, don't mess up what career path you take after you graduate, that is where people go down the wrong road and then wonder What did I get for the Money? Be smart, any education, in anything, is an end in itself.
We must be strong in the broken places--Ernest Hemingway
We must be strong in the broken places--Ernest Hemingway
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