or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Culinary Confusion

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone. I really don't post here that much generally I'm just a lurker.

Anywho, I'm currently a student at the CIA and I'll be starting my extern at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, FL in 2 weeks. I specifically picked the Ritz in Sarasota because I love the type of food they do. I've always loved the seafood/floribbean/pacific rim end of restaurants.

I've reached the point where I don't know exactly where I'm headed. After I graduate school (Nov '07), I have no idea what I want to do. I have the option of going on to Cornell to get a Bachelors in Hospitality Mgmt or I have another idea in the back of my head of getting a Bachelors in Food Science.

I know I don't want to work in a restaurant for the rest of my life. I'm still young (22) but I know one day I will want to get married and have some sort of family. I love learning about the science of food, thus why I thought about going the Food Science route. Nutrition has even crossed my mind. I know there are so many other options in hospitality industry then just working in a restaurant.

I'm hoping that after my extern I might have a clearer view, but until then I've come to you guys to see if you have any advice for me.


post #2 of 8
Sounds like you have a path in mind.

My advice.....

Work in a restaurant abit while you continue your studies. If you liek food science, there are many job options for that field. Corporate jobs are looking for such people.
post #3 of 8
Similarly, I am a graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu program in Chicago, working on the line & banquet prep for a Marriott

I have decided to go the way of pursuing my BA in hospitality management. At this time and point in my life, I feel that my AAS in Culinary needs to be combined with another degree to bring out its full potential.

In this rapidly evolving industry, Exec. Chefs, F&B Directors, Kitchen Managers, and General Managers have to be effective in both front of house and back of house operations. Chef John Kinsella (President of the ACF) adressed this in an earlier Presiden't Message for "The Sizzle", noting that today's demanding employers seek a BA or higher, not just an AAS.
post #4 of 8
I spent 25 years as a journalist, and I can see the restaurant business going the same way that newspapers have gone.
In the good old days, writers and reporters became editors and knew what it meant to send someone out on a story and how far to push because they'd done it themselves and been pushed by their then bosses.
Now, newspapers are run by accountants and people who've done business degrees and read books and gone to classes to learn all about what newspapers are like, so they know EVERYTHING about the business now.
The same with people running kitchens now. They know how long it takes to cook a steak because they saw a video; they know how to wash the floor because they had a two-hour lecture on the microflora and fauna of tiling grout. They know how to tie an apron because they had to put one on for their graduation photo.
Like my director came in today when I was in the middle of cutting and plating 11 orders of marinated salmon and asked for a lemon. When I told him 'They're in the cold room on the left as you go in, get one for me too' he got really angry and ordered me to fetch him one and have a server bring it out on a plate. Took a long time for that lemon to get out, I have to say.
What I'm saying is: there is NO replacement for working in kitchens, period. It's like sex; reading The Joy of Sex is not the same as the joy of sex.


Chris Ward
http://eatsleepcookschool.wordpress.com - The true story of the year I spent learning how to be a professional cook at catering school in Avignon, Provence, while working as a dishwasher.


Chris Ward
http://eatsleepcookschool.wordpress.com - The true story of the year I spent learning how to be a professional cook at catering school in Avignon, Provence, while working as a dishwasher.
post #5 of 8
Well, you are on the right track and I agree with all the other advice posted.

#1- Get well-rounded experience. Work the Bar, wait tables, spend some time with the Pastry Chef, sit down the catering director, etc. so you can speak from experience on all areas of the operation for future possibilities. A piece of paper may get you in the door, (a Degree) but if you can‘t produce you will be gone.

#2- Keep your eyes open and observe the life of those in higher positions, is that where I want to be when I am that old.

#3- The harder you work now, the better off you will be when you old, like me! I have even worked at places for free just so I could learn something new. I quit a job as a night manager to do vegetable prep and wash dishes so I could learn Chinese cooking. Take every opportunity to learn something new. You can learn something about food from ANYBODY! I learned from one of the Puerto Rican dishwashers how his family makes coffee, they put the espresso grounds into Whole Milk and simmer it, strain and serve. Delicious!

While you are in Sarasota visit other types of establishments and look at their operation to see if they match your goals of still having time for a family someday.

Good luck,
Have fun!

Don't take my word for it! I wouldn't trust me either!
Have fun!

Don't take my word for it! I wouldn't trust me either!
post #6 of 8
A two degree combo of food science and culinary arts is growing in demand these days. McCormick, for example, requires that all their chefs have both, a food science and culinary arts degrees.
post #7 of 8
Hah, nice analogy. It's quite true though. Working in kitchens the last couple of years has given me a tremendous edge over other cooks my age (most of whom aren't even out of school yet), working in the best restaurants the whole time gives me a bigger edge. Knowing how to do something is good and all, being able to do it perfectly through practice is better.
post #8 of 8
The owner wants to get the most out of his kitchen. It is up to a chef to make it happen. But only practical experience will tell him just what is possible. They don't tell you that in the manual. Read a bunch...don't burn the lunch.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs