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Not sure I like my school

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I take a class at NVCC in northern Virginia. Its a community college and i'm taking Principles of Baking. I love to cook and am passionate about food but i don't feel like i'm learning the way I should be.

My class consists of 2 hours in lecture and 2 hours in the lab. And considering i'm only taking one class a week and its only four hours long i feel its not going into the depth i want.

I feel like i'm putting most of my effort reading chapters in a book and learning history and not actually getting my hands dirty and cooking. I feel like i'd be better off just buying a few books and practicing at home, all while saving my self a couple hundred bucks.

To some people this may seem okay but i struggled through high school with all the studying and tests and genereally filling my head with pointless information (or so i felt) and i learn best by doing.

Before i went to the community college i went to the Art Institute of Washington DC which i started out great and the teacher couldnt stop eating my croutons (funny story hehe) but i eventually had to drop out due to personal reasons.

Are most classes like this? I'm trying to prepare myself for an apprenticeship but is this the only way to get started? I feel like I need to learn a more hands on way.
post #2 of 8
Are you going after a full time culinary/baking degree, or are you taking this class on the side? I graduated from culinary school with my days consisting usually of 4 hrs lab time + 2 hrs general ed./lecture x 5 days week. (20 hrs lab; 10 hrs class per week)

If your schedule allows it, I would suggest getting a job in an establishment relevant to your interests if you desire more hands-on experience. No classroom can teach you everything there is to know, explore the world and get your hands dirty.

Best of luck.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hmm i'd like working at an establishment but i fear i dont have enough cooking experience to do so. How would i get started at working at one?

I dont think i want to start in a classroom i feel i'd enjoy it more if I learned more handson experience.
post #4 of 8
I go to the Art Institute in Colorado now. I don't believe that the short period of time that you go to school is adequate. It takes a *lifetime* to learn.

You can get a position as a prep cook or something of the sort in an establishment. The most important things in this industry are your attitude and your work ethic. If you have that, you have a good chance of doing well.
post #5 of 8
If you are interested in the pastry field, offer an extra (free or best offer) hand in a bakery doing simple tasks (Emeril started off as a pot washer in a bakery).

If you are interested in the culinary field, same thing. Knock on every chefs door, I'm sure at least one wouldnt mind an extra hand for a minimal pay or free.

My first kitchen job was a near-minimum wage salad/appetizer cook spot in a chain restaurant. I had no prior kitchen or culinary school experience when I took up this job. While making salads, I watched the saute cooks, learned how all the saute dishes were prepared, and moved up to the saute station. I was recommended for a transfer to a fancier hotel kitchen (with a nice pay increase) within one year.

Best of luck to you in your search, this is truly a great field to be in if your heart is in it 100%.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
THANK YOU VERY MUCH! I really appreciate all of your help! I feel glad to know that starting at a college isnt the only way to start :) of course i also plan to learn alot at hom.

And yes i'm intrested in culinary. I think having a restraunt would be awesome!
post #7 of 8
The important thing to remember is don't give up. I suffered 5 months of being turned down before I got my lucky break.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
I"ll remember that, hopefully my good looks will give me an edge.:bounce:
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