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Funny Comments - The Stuggle Continues

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Greetings everyone!!!!

Well the other day I was searching for a cheaper school than the one that I would like to go to ( The Restaurant School) in Philly, PA. Well I remembered that JNA Inst. of Culinary Arts had sent me some correspondence in the mail, so I called the school up and the director of admissions answered and we began talking. Well he told me about the school and its program. I asked him if the school had a catalog they could send me instead of the 5 sheets of coloring paper with the staples on top. He told me that I could go online to the schools site and download the schools catalog(Well I did and it was like 30 pages). I continued to ask questions about the school for instance what's the size, the student to teacher ratio and the guy kept saying that I have to come to Philadelphia and see it. Later I asked him about the types of externships that the school offer and where they were located. You know what he told me he said, " Well we have a lot of contracts with the nursing homes in Philadelphia and just about all of them prefer "our students" to any other schools in the area". Believe me the first thought that came to my mind was like " Oh, ****!!!, No he didn't say that **** ". I told him that I'd think about it, when I should of said with excitement " Yeah!!!I get to be a retirement home master chef" and post signs all over the kitchen and dinning room that read "No Salt Here", "Salt the the anti-Christ" and "We mash everything...with peas". My battle now is between an affordable school that offers a degree in Culinary Arts/Rest. Mgnt. with little or no national or international recognition or a school that I will have to struggle to pay for by getting a second job and have no personal life, a school that has good national and international recognition. I've been talking to my girlfriend and she's like "Go to culinary school" because its one of the few things that makes me completely happy besides her. But, you know, I want this to be the right choice , for my professional, personal and financial life. You know, my main goal is to open up my own schools (yes, schools). I want to one day teach others our Art,our Craft and our Profession. Although the struggle continues......the beginning is near and I have not yet begun to cook!!!!

Peace

Fredrick P. -aka- " Born2cook"
Trenton, NJ
Fredrick P.
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post #2 of 34
Thread Starter 
Well, My man BBlank, hey thanks for the comments they were great, I was inspired, I felt like crying, crying the way people did at the end of the movie of "Rudy" (when he finally got a chance to play and did great and the crowd shouted his name Rudy, Rudy Rudy). To me Rudy represented the "underdog" because of his size. I guess many of us represent underdogs too ,because of our financial,house and family size, but I think that it should not stop us from dreaming our dreams and going for them. Take big or small steps even if is that secret barbecue sauce or culinary classes at a local school. I tend to view great chefs throughout the world both past and present with the utmost respect because it took a lot for them to get where they are and once were. They were once underdogs in this culinary matrix as students and apprentices and even dishwashers. BBlank don't worry about your age, there are many avenues to take, for instance you could be a caterer and train those who you employ, you could form an organization that service non-profit organizations. You could also teach in your community or open up your own restaurant. I say if you can afford to go to the CIA then go, but because you have a family unlike myself, you could try going to another school in NYC like Peter Kump;s or FCI -French Culinary Inst. and go to school at night or on the weekends and still keep your day job. Hey checkout Shaw guides at http://cookingcareer.shawguides.com/. for more New York schools. Hey Crudeau , I'm from and have a lot of family in Mississippi and I don't think I want to go that far for school and knowing Mississippi like I do , I do not feel like breaking down at night or being stopped in MS. But thanks. In leaving BBlank, this is from me to you and the rest of the future chefs of the world: "We who were born on the kitchen table and floors know that the mountains of culinary greatness are steep, welcome the climb.

Peace

Fredrick P. aka Born2cook
from Jer--seeeeeeey
Fredrick P.
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post #3 of 34
Born2cook and BBlank,
Passion,patience,persistence,power.
confidence,learn,learn and then learn somemore.which ever way you are able to help yourself with your studies...it's all about the inside,the heart.If you have that then the rest will come.
I really enjoyed both your stories
cc
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #4 of 34
Hey B2C,

I hear ya guy... Look at my position: 50 (as in old as dirt!), sick of my job and the 25 year career that proceeded it, VERY comfortable in my current financial position (as in I get a big paycheck every 2 weeks), married (26 yrs thank you!) and DYING TO HEAD OFF TO HYDE PARK... I'd love to - more than I can explain. I'd give up the money in a "NY minute" if I could trade it for happiness! One thing that weighs heavy is the grueling life of a cook - long days, 6-7 days a week, physiclaly demanding, yadda, yadda, yadda... At my age that doesn't sound like fun (yes people, I know there are other, less demanding options.)

As for the decision which school to attend. My advice will echo something wispered into my ear 35 years ago, "You'll never go wrong with the best (of anything.)" Get into the best (curriculum, reputation, facilities, etc.) school you can almost afford and then find a way to pay for it. So far my experience with financial aid people are that they are very interested in warm bodies with passion. Where there's a will, there's a way... AND it's only money and there are certainly things that ARE more important Borrow if you have to...

We're in similar boats: I don't know if I can "take the heat" or the cut in pay; You wonder where the resources will come from. Both of us share the passion and I have a feeling THAT will make the decision for us!!! I'll learn to live with change, and you'll find a way. Don't settle for less! (That's an order from the old guy!)

PS - we're less than an hour from each other. wanna compare notes sometime? e-me.

Bruce (AKA. bblank)
"Old enough to know better, but still young enough not to really care!"
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"Old enough to know better, but still young enough not to really care!"
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post #5 of 34
Alright, Hold it right there pal! I work in a retirement community/hospital, and I was taken back by some of your comments. First of all be careful of your comments, you may offend someone. Second, let me tell you a little about our clients. Last Christmas,one of our residents children gave their parents a gift of dinner at Trotters (have you heard the name?). The resident (whom incidently has a library named after him at. Northwestern University) declined the gift because the food in the dining room was much better. Yes, we have a few customers who have special needs (like mechanical soft, or puree) but keep in mind, you may be in that boat some day. Dont forget also, that while you are working 60-80 hours a week, I'm playing catch in the park with my two great children.
Dont get me wrong, I admire your goals and asperations. But my passion for cooking is no less than yours. And the food at my nursing home, I believe tastes better than the food in most restaurants.....good luck to you. It's a long road ahead of you
post #6 of 34
......I feel much better now.
post #7 of 34
Palmier brings up an excellent point,

I have eaten in many places that are not open to the public and the food at times is far superior to that of main stream restaurants. It is of the utmost importence in our industry to work as hard as you can and to respect eachothers ideas and talents.When starting off in our buisness it is fine to be assertive and motivated but not everyone will land a sous chef position with Bocuse...There are many avenues you can choose,but while you walk your path be careful not to burn bridges or deflate someones personal working knowelege because of where he or she works. I have found that the greatest chefs are primaraly a bunch of people no one has ever heard of.I salute chefs that work in those type of places because they are not out for fame and glory they are in it for the love of food and the feeling of satisfaction they get with a job well done.....Remember the person that one day you put down can later be signing your pay check
cc
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #8 of 34
One thing is certain--most people who go to nursing homes never leave them. A group of people that must eat whatever is placed before them deserves food prepared by somebody who cares about his product. Even people who are old and difficult and can't taste anything very well. :D Seems to me that nursing home food service is pretty important.
más vale tarde que nunca
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más vale tarde que nunca
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post #9 of 34
Thread Starter 
For my rebuttal Palmier and Cape Chef, if you noticed i did not state that there was anything wrong with working in a nursing home. The under lying implication was i beleive, that was missed, was that " when attempting to attract culinary students to a culinary program,a school should have more to offer in externships and not glorify or gear a student into to working at a nusring home." Would you want to hear what i was told when first inquiring about a culinary instituion. i did not state that working in a nursing home was bad or demeaning. And as far as nursing homes are concerned i dont believe in them i feel that they are an excuse for many people and communities to not take care of their Family and/or Elders. Did you know that you can tell the condition of a society by its youths and its elderly. I just want to state that these are my opinons and it is not my intention to disrepect anyone for what they do or where they work.

Peace

[ March 09, 2001: Message edited by: born2cook ]
Fredrick P.
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post #10 of 34
Thread Starter 
JeniDaChef, you were so correct when you said that we all have to find our niche in cooking, Even if its "everything mechanical soft,pureed or mashed..with peas."(just joking)

[ March 09, 2001: Message edited by: born2cook ]
Fredrick P.
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post #11 of 34
Born2cook...Occupation: Customer Service Rep. ".....when I should of said with excitement " Yeah!!!I get to be a retirement home master chef" and post signs all over the kitchen and dinning room that read "No Salt Here", "Salt the the anti-Christ" and "We mash everything...with peas"........i did not state that working in a nursing home was bad or demeaning. And as far as nursing homes are concerned i dont believe in them i feel that they are an excuse for many people and communities to not take care of their Family and/or Elders....... I just want to state that these are my opinons and it is not my intention to disrepect anyone for what they do or where they work..."
post #12 of 34
?
post #13 of 34
Born2cook.....

I wish you much success in whatever you decide to do...These are not the places to become overly defencive. I find many people who want to be "Chefs" are cut from the same cloth as those you come to our country because the roads are paved in gold..only to find out that one must work un yielding hours,be under staffed,under paid etc. I think that you will find almost all true culinary people have a heart of passion and are super to be around,and will always defend there craft. I hope you have the oppurtunity someday to stand side by side with a cook who is commited to his/her craft
you might just learn something.

cc
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #14 of 34
Thread Starter 
Was that nessasary to post my occupation when it is clearly in my profile.

I wish you much success in whatever you decide to do...These are not the places to become overly defensive . Well If you would have read what i commented on in my first post you would have understood why i found the comments made to me by the admissions guy at JNA so funny.Now what if the guy said that "we have a lot of contracts with the state prisions". How would you take that???? Would You want to pay 12, 17, 24 or 32,000 dollars to hear that??? Thats not appealing wouldnt you agree??? I know that the culinary world isnt what some people make it to be. And if i may i would like to comment on your statement comparing "people who want to become "chefs" to people who come to this country thinking that the streets are paved with gold". In anything you have to work hard at a goal if you want "it" and sometimes very hard. and as a great actor once said "my dreams are as valid as i am prepared to make them". I say to you cafe chef and the culinary world that "my dreams are as valid as i am prepared to make them". Palmier took offense to what i said earlier, which clearly was not my intention given the context of my original post. why didn't you comment briefly and the put up a funny story that happened to you or someone you know in the culinary world???? i guess it was a bad choice of humor. i wish you the best in everything you do.

peace!!!

[ March 09, 2001: Message edited by: born2cook ]
Fredrick P.
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post #15 of 34
Born2cook and Palmier, please check your private messages.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #16 of 34
Oh man. I can't wait to see the rebuttals to that one.
Incredibly, edibly, adequate!
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Incredibly, edibly, adequate!
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post #17 of 34
Thread Starter 
I had to censor myself, at times i can get very reactionary and lose a great deal of tact.


mofo1 i had to take some things down.

[ March 09, 2001: Message edited by: born2cook ]
Fredrick P.
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post #18 of 34
Hello Everyone! I was thinking at one time about my career, like I do many times on ocassion. I was thinking "I wonder what I would learn working here, or what I would learn working there!", contemplating different avenues of the industry. I once thought that I wouldn't want to work in a hospital or a personal health-service establishment. I was really thinking about different restuarants that were up and coming. But when I got recommended by a previous associate to work in a hospital that was introducing a new type of service for their hospital, I went for it! I've been there for six months now! We run a hotel-style room service for the patients, plus all the other outlets of the hospital: banquets, catering, executive dining, Vip Dining, and the cafe for guest of patients. I have enjoyed learning things I have not learned previous in other jobs. For example we do a lite Medditeranian and Middle Eastern Menu besides our regular "American Fare" Menu. I have seen how to enhance the flavors of certain ingredients as much as possible, considering a patient's dietary limitations and on occasion their phisical ability to chew foods. So inturn, I find that we don't learn everything in one experience, but the many different experiences that we do encounter, are building blocks for the experience that we can give to someone else or ourselves in the future. :)

[ March 10, 2001: Message edited by: Layjo ]
Another Day, Another Battle.
Don't Ride A Boat Without A Paddle.
If The Water Is Not Too Deep,
Take A Little Swim But Don't Fall Asleep!
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Another Day, Another Battle.
Don't Ride A Boat Without A Paddle.
If The Water Is Not Too Deep,
Take A Little Swim But Don't Fall Asleep!
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post #19 of 34
well, time for my 2 cents:

a la homer simpson:

"Rebuttal huh, well here is my rebuttal"

"errgghhh"

Per Ardua Ad Astra.
"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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post #20 of 34
Wow sounds like a great discussion going on here about some excellent points that we all deal with at one time or another in our carreer. Those points being 1.) do I go the high end (trotter) route and pursue this, or 2.) I have a family and kids and can I really afford to work 85+ hours a week for minumin wage?.

When I first started off in the business my hang up was always thinking that I had to be in the four star places, and for a long time that is were I stayed. The idea of working at an old folks home (which my Mom encouraged me to do) was scary. No, not me I was going to be the chef at the Four Seasons or the Ritz. I acutally used to think I was better than some guys because I was spending my time at big restaurants and not in a hospital. Now that I have grown up a bit I have good friends who are hospital chefs and retirement home chefs, and you know what? They are great chefs, they really are. They never once stopped caring about the food and isn't that what it is all about?

I don't for one minute believe that it makes any difference about where you are as a chef. Whether you are at a small diner, or at Georges Blancs. What makes all the difference is whether you care about the food. If you don't get this concept, then see the movie Babette's Feast and you will understand me.

I also think that it is important to repspect the differences in everyone's area of expertise or craft. Sounds like things got a little personal here, and we should try to get back on track.

Born2cook I think it is important to recognize that you can actaully find some really great chefs in the oddest places that can teach you far more about the basics and the foundations of cooking then you might think. It is always important to have a good attitude and search out all of your options.
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Thanks,

Nicko 
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All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
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post #21 of 34
born2cook,

I pride myself at work and at home to always try my best to look at both sides of the coin and be proactive instead of reactive.

I am sure that your origanal post was in no way intended to offend anyone and you we're just sharing your concerns of what you had delt with in regards to your inquiers into culinary school.I think I can say I have learned some important lessions in this thread...That everyone has there own opinions on the world of culinary arts. Also that this thread holds a great deal of passion.Passion is the key word to focus on
it can take you many places. The wonderful thing about this web page is that it affords all of us the forum to openly discuss our opinions.I really appreciate all the feeling people bring to this site. An open mind is a learning mind. When this thread comes to a close,lets pride ourselves on being sure it ends upbeat.

cc
PS Greg, Why didn't you PM me? I'm Jealous :D ;)
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #22 of 34
I totally agree with Nicko on this but in the industry if you dont work at 4 star fine dining places you are seen as a talentless hack. I have experienced this first hand it is very unfortunate that we consider ourselfs artists but can be very closed minded.I had a guy that worked for me that worked at a chili"s I had the utmost respect for him because they put out so much volume it might not be Spago or Trotters but it still takes a lot of sdkill.
post #23 of 34
I am surprised that no one mentioned one of the BIG benefits of working for a hospital/other non-profit institution... and that is tuition assistance!! I wish I had been smart enough to plan it that way before I went to school - get a job where they offer that benefit and take advantage of it! I'm still trying of pay off those student loans which wouldn't have been there if I had been smart enough to take the job in the hospital that I was offered .....!
post #24 of 34
I don't care where you go, how much you pay, or whether the "chef" trained under Keller, Bocuse or Ronald McDonald. If you find someone with a genuine love of their craft, you will find great food. Ducasse can take his whole $1500 entree concept and shove it straight up his toque. I'd rather have mexican food made in a family place by people who may or may not speak english. At least that food is honest. IMHO. :p
Incredibly, edibly, adequate!
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Incredibly, edibly, adequate!
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post #25 of 34
I want to take this opportunity to first apoligize for the action I have taken towards my fellow culinarians. My curt reaction was inappropriate to say the least. I would like it to be known that my responce came out of anger, and not using good judgement.

I also want to tell you a story about something that happoned almost 15 years ago. I was a student at culinary school finishing up my last two classes to get a degree. One of the chef instructors offered me a position to be the chef of a yhact club here on the Chicago lakefront. I was in between jobs at the time, so I accepted it. After several weeks into the job, the chef filled me in on how the back window opens up to become a snack shop to the ajoining park. I became rather adamint to the idea of being a chef of a hot dog stand. I quickly started looking for a new job. I quit a couple of weeks later. I wish now that I had stayed. The chef now has contracts with the city to run and manage almost all the city park snack shops. He works about 5 months out of the year. He has two houses, one in the north shore & one in the Bahamas. I see him every so often. We converse aabout the old times at school, and what could have been.

More than one lesson is to be learned here. 'You cant judge a book by its cover' is one. The other lesson is 'dont throw your brick before counting to 10, you get better aim'
post #26 of 34
i trained under chef mcdonald.

The only reason why that suceeded was do to the BA acumen of Ray Croc. Nothing more. This type of food exists purely to further the Real Estate aspirations of the McDonalds systems corporation.

The only other advantage as to refer to this corporation is their MOD of training.

Thats about it.
"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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post #27 of 34
I agree Nick. My point is that even at McD's, the kid that cares will make a better sandwich. You don't need to eat at or work in a 4 star place to have or cook excellent food. Some of the best and most honest food I've ever had was in places you might not take your Mother. All you need are decent skills, good ingredients, and love of craft. ****, one of my biggest problems in this business is that I'll make something that really turns me on, so naturally I want everyone to try it. So what do I do? I give it away just so someone else can enjoy it too. Smart? NO. It is however worth it when I make someone happy. :D
Incredibly, edibly, adequate!
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Incredibly, edibly, adequate!
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post #28 of 34
So You want to go to culinary school, get scholarships. that is the advice, there is plenty of money to be had. Contact or look up all the councels, nut boards, cheese groups, they all have contests and cash to give to willing students. :D
Fun reading to all.

That is woman, not babe thanks very much.
:cool:
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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post #29 of 34
Wow! Somehow, this is turning into the topic from hel*! CS and MB, while I respect and understand what you are saying, I'd also have to say that this particular thread is not the place to discuss it. Also, consider the source. While he may have gone over the line here, I'm 100% certain that it was not Crudeau's aim or intent to disrespect or offend anyone. Finally, I'll quote Cape Chef from his post in this very same thread: "When this thread comes to a close,lets pride ourselves on being sure it ends upbeat." Wise words.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #30 of 34
Whoa! This thread needs a chill pill!

Ok, lets get back on topic because I'm actually interested in this. I'm training to be a chef but I have serious concerns about the hours, and I'm pretty sure I won't have enough stamina to do this for the rest of my life so I'm exploring every avenue. The nursing home gig, well, it's just not very sexy, is it? But then again, neither are the bags you get under your eyes after consistently working 80 hour weeks and not remembering what your kids look like.

Here's a little sociological observation. I think that given the growing number (and need) of nursing homes, only one reason exists as to why their chefs have such a perceived lack of prestige: they are not rated. Have you ever heard of a three star nursing home dining room? If you have, I want to hear about it. I think there's a need for it, and if you are an author and you are interested in the culinary world, you should consider starting the 'nursing home dining guide'. That would put obviously talented people like Palmier on the map and encourage more chefs to enter the field.

All this aside though, cooking in a nursing home seems to me to be a challenging job which pushes the chef's imagination to greater deapths given the additional constraints presented by diet and or cost. One must be brave and inovative to accept such a challenge.
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