or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Culinary Students › General Culinary School Discussions › Hardest Thing about Culinary School
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Hardest Thing about Culinary School

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
This question is for the culinary grads or who are almost done with school....what is the hardest thing about culinary school?
post #2 of 31
Getting there on time every day when the school is 30 miles away and working two jobs that are 30 miles away the opposite direction from your house.
post #3 of 31
Finding that $45,000 job that the admissions rep said you could get upon graduation.


On a serious note... I loved all the cooking classes, they challenged me, but were not impossible to complete. The one skill that still eludes me is successfully breaking down whole fish, which I would describe my ability as so/so.
post #4 of 31
Dealing with fellow students that are slackers. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed my culinary school experience.

It is just discouraging when you work so hard to get there, then are partnered with some spoiled child that isn't pulling their weight. Unfortunately, dealing with that situation isn't bad preparation, as these same types are encountered later as coworkers.

Overall, my school experience was very good and has helped me quite a bit since.
post #5 of 31
Well for me, the main problem came down to... I guess two different things. About 3/4ths thru my program, I started working for a french chef, 1 on 1 in a 1 man kitchen, basically I was learning alot more "real world" cooking, than the stuff they teach you in school. And secondly, I couldn't get the thought out of my head, why am I paying so much for a school, that's mediocre at best, with students that are there as a last resort, or all drug addicts. Anywho - long story short, I guess motivation is/was the hardest part for me, schools, atleast to me, don't teach you industry - relevant info, they teach you the CORRECT way, which don't get me wrong is great, but not always practical.
post #6 of 31
+1 for sure
post #7 of 31
I also forgot to mention the fact that, EXPERIENCE will ALWAYS outweigh a degree, but if you have both, thats the best. But if you have 3 years cooking experience, as opposed to someone fresh out of culinary school, some if not most are inclined to pick up the person with experience (guarnteed it's not at a TGI McFunsters or Chilli's)
post #8 of 31
Showing respect before it was earned and then even after it was proved it wasn't deserved. The "yes chef, no chef". Also it being assumed that because I didn't know how to cook that I didn't know how to eat.

I came to culinary school later after living abroad for many years, and after getting my B.A. I come from the West Coast where I went to an ultra-libreal 4-year where we called our profs by their first names, and had lots of pot-lucks at their house. We were critisized when we didn't offer our own thoughts and opinions. I lived and worked in France, Italy, and the Carribean for many years and had eaten a wide range of cuisine from street food to private meal from Bocuse.

Then I went to culinary school and was thrown in a world where I was treated like a child. Where I wasn't anything if I couldn't make demi-glace. The whole "title" thing just didn't make sense to me (and still doesn't, but I think that's a different thread) . As far as I was/am concerned respect is about showing up on time, working 120%, doing your best and being passionately interested in your work.

Also, I was one girl out of 130 boys in that year's class.

All and all though I hated it when I was there, I miss it now. I went to a school that had a very high level of real-life production. I miss the pace and volume of work that we did.
"Just can't wait to get on the road again."
Willie Nelson
Reply
"Just can't wait to get on the road again."
Willie Nelson
Reply
post #9 of 31
Don't know if I'm allowed to post here. I teach in the medical field and if you have that attitude in whatever you do, you will succeed. Come to work late and only give 50% and that will be how your life will be. Live life 100% and you will have a fun ride. Remember, you only get to go on one trip so make the best of it.

paddy
post #10 of 31
I guess I am lucky, at my school, everyone is on a first name basis and at times we work side by side with our instructor to complete something. As far as the gender issue goes, overall it is a male dominated industry. (for many years, in Europe ALL chefs were men). You almost have to prove yourself if you are female.
The toughest part about school for me, is waiting for it to end. So I can get out there and REALLY learn. And not getting overwhelmed by the AMOUNT of information to learn. Language has been a tough one for me- having to practically learn French and Italian......
Bon Vive' !
Reply
Bon Vive' !
Reply
post #11 of 31
Wow! This brings up some memories!
The number one problem was being treated like an elementary student.
It was a little worse than I expected because when I signed up I told myself that I would learn so much stuff it would be worth putting up with a little degradation.
However, I had just sold 2 Restaurants, still had a Catering Co. with active contracts and was driving anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours each way, and frequently was treated like I was completely ignorant, and when I explained I had a little experience it got worse.

I wasn't there to receive praise, or to boost my ego, I wasn't there for free and they treated me like they were my employer.

When you look at the entire picture I paid more than 32,000.00 to be treated poorly, I could have taken a job working for someone else and received some pay.

Good times!
post #12 of 31
"Yes chef, No Chef" isn't intended to make you feel ignorant is it ment as a respect to the chef. Every restaurant I've worked at and at school I have always said that out of respect. It's the same as saying Mr. and Mrs. to a teacher or elder who you respect.
post #13 of 31
I have to agree. I've never felt it was demeaning to address the person who runs the kitchen as 'Chef'. Well, except for my current boss and that's a whole 'nother story...:cool:
post #14 of 31
The hardest thing is when the chef is like get me this or get me that but doesnt tell me what he is doing or making. I do observe and look at whe he has and try to think a head.

I also dont liek the fact that he said he will never give anyone an A in his class. Ive bust my hump for his class and still do

Its all good though. Ive leanred alot as much as he pushes and pushes and pushes but he demands the best.

As other people said before the deadweight people in class stink and they make it harder for everyone else becuase they arent putting the love into it or showing the disire to be there.
post #15 of 31

Can I ask you "Breton Beats", what Culinary School you attended? And, do you think it is more worth it to attend a Culinary School abroad or in the US?

post #16 of 31

I have 10 more weeks before I'm finished school and the hardest things I found was the attitude of some (not all) of my fellow students.  Either they don't listen to the instructor or don't care about what they're trying to create.

I really enjoy school, but I'm getting anxious about getting a job.  I'm starting the process of pulling together a CV and reviewing Job websites, like hcareers: Hospitality Jobs in Canada and All Chef Jobs in Canada.

post #17 of 31

Salutations, all. 

 

I'm finishing up my baccalaureate degree in Travel, Tourism and Hotel Management and plan to move on to culinary school directly after to round out my education.  I can't answer to how tough it is in culinary school, but I know that my focus will be just to keep my head down, my eyes and ears open and plow through what I have to do to get what I want.  A little tough love (even outright condescension) isn't going to sway me from my goals.  Once I graduate they can watch my big, girly butt walk right out the door and into the world with an open mind and skillful hands.  And then, my friends, I'm a peer...an equal.  And there's nothing they can do about it (insert evil laugh here).

I don't like food, I love it.  If I don't love it, I don't swallow.
Reply
I don't like food, I love it.  If I don't love it, I don't swallow.
Reply
post #18 of 31

Holy thread resurrection Batman!

post #19 of 31

Wow its interesting to see a comment I made 3 years ago...

 

Hardest thing in retrospect was/is tournee potatoes (or anything else for that matter).  We have improved in the fish department a little bit since then..

post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefBazookas View Post

Salutations, all. 

 

I'm finishing up my baccalaureate degree in Travel, Tourism and Hotel Management and plan to move on to culinary school directly after to round out my education.  I can't answer to how tough it is in culinary school, but I know that my focus will be just to keep my head down, my eyes and ears open and plow through what I have to do to get what I want.  A little tough love (even outright condescension) isn't going to sway me from my goals.  Once I graduate they can watch my big, girly butt walk right out the door and into the world with an open mind and skillful hands.  And then, my friends, I'm a peer...an equal.  And there's nothing they can do about it (insert evil laugh here).



Is it tacky to quote my own post?  If so, forgive me.  But it's necessary.  Rereading the above I seem to be implying that my 'skill' post graduation from culinary school would be equal to the skill and clout of a practiced and professional chef.  Not at all what I mean.  I have no delusions that culinary school would make me a Chef with a capital 'C' anymore than standing inside a garage would make me a Ferrari.  I just mean that my hard work and perseverance combined with the education I'd hopefully receive gives me the same chance to excel and be brilliant as anyone else. 

 

I feel better now.

I don't like food, I love it.  If I don't love it, I don't swallow.
Reply
I don't like food, I love it.  If I don't love it, I don't swallow.
Reply
post #21 of 31

I haven't gone through any culinary schools. I have read the posts here and i felt with a mixed inspiration but fear.

Can anyone suggest what's the best school to enroll?

post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeMadeCook View Post

I haven't gone through any culinary schools. I have read the posts here and i felt with a mixed inspiration but fear.

Can anyone suggest what's the best school to enroll?


I get asked this alot... and the answer is going to vary depending on you.  What works for me does not work for everyone else.  I strongly suggest you research the schools in your area and get a comfortable feel for what is going to work for you.  Do not buy into hype or what the sales rep tells you.  Decide for yourself where you feel the most comfortable at, as it will be your education, not the sales guy's.  Look into community colleges also.  The quality of education is on par with the big name schools for the most part (There really isnt much variation on how to chop an onion) for ALOT less. 

post #23 of 31

The hardest part about being in culinary school right now is trying to be there and with my father who is now in paliative care.  He now has weeks to live with lung and brain cancer.  But, one of the main reasons that I am completing my apprenticeship and in school is because of him so I am very determined not to give up.  My marks have been excellent to this point and all of my Chefs and teachers have been very understanding.

 

To give someone the respect of calling them Chef, whether they have their CCFC or not, is second nature to me...even when I am older than they are.  I have been working in the field for 3 years and am thankful every day that a Chef will stand beside me and encourage me to learn the "why" of what I am doing and not just produce, produce, produce.  Someone recently said to me "isn't it so wonderful that retired chefs are willing to come and teach so that you will benefit by their experience".  I say a huge, thankful yes to that....and to the chefs on here who are so encouraging.

 

I am also thankful that our class is totally made up of all apprentices....people who know that they want to be there and not that Mommy and Daddy are paying for them to be there.  We have been out in the field and know how important experience is and have more drive to get what we want and need to succeed.  We have become a very tight knit dozen.  Just like a real working kitchen should be; you become close very quickly.

post #24 of 31

Hardest thing: Matriculation.  Sticking with it.  Culinary school is not like standard classes in academia, nor is it for every one.  For those thinking of enrolling, keep this thought when reviewing choices of schools: "It's not what the school puts into you, but what yoy put into school".

 

I attended, and graduated from two of the country's top culinary schools.  At school "A", we were required to address our instuctors as "Mr.", not "Chef".  This is actually the traditional and respectful way to address one's superior in the kitchen.  At school "B", the standard practice was to address the culinary instructors as "Chef", and then their last name; although it was not required.  Being a little older than most of my fellow students, and knowing several of the chef-instructors personally, I just used their first name.  And, it was always accepted.

 

"Seasonings Greetings"

post #25 of 31

The hardest part for me were some of the other students. Sometimes you would get paired up with someone lazy or someone who doesn't really want to be there and you wind up carrying their weight for them. Dishes sucked. I always ended up washing while some people spent their time kissing up to chefs or screwing around. Jealousy and gossip were problems too. Not all the students chose to compete in various contests and salons. Those that did compete often had to deal with those who didn't talking crap about them behind their backs. Just petty jealousy.

post #26 of 31

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        P A Y I N G      F O R    I T 

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #27 of 31

I did find anything hard in school. I love the classes adn the challenges. It is when you love the things that you do that will make your life and excitement. 

I

post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clove View Post

Dealing with fellow students that are slackers.
post #29 of 31

wash the f'in dishes, pick a broom ffs, do something manly - I'm a man and I'm embarassed by how many 18-25 men are happy to sit in grimy, dirty kitchen with their hand on the mop thinking to themselves... it's okay that i sit here doing nothing... No Wonder the military is such a revalation to the majority of the male population... it teaches them to work for a living... 

post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by lizabu View Post

The hardest part for me were some of the other students. Sometimes you would get paired up with someone lazy or someone who doesn't really want to be there and you wind up carrying their weight for them. Dishes sucked. I always ended up washing while some people spent their time kissing up to chefs or screwing around. Jealousy and gossip were problems too. Not all the students chose to compete in various contests and salons. Those that did compete often had to deal with those who didn't talking crap about them behind their backs. Just petty jealousy.



This is the problem I am encountering and I am only 2 quarters into school.  I have close to 15 years of experience working in the industry from dishwasher to managerial positions, from prep cook, line cook, sous chef to bartender. I thought at one time I was going to be an English teacher, and have degrees in both English and History, but realized I'm not cut out for academia. Food and the industry have been my life otherwise. My skill level is beyond what my classmates are at seeing most have never even stepped one half a foot into a professional kitchen. That said, I tend to be a humble person when I approach my choice to enter school and I am there to become classically trained and open the networking doors.   I constantly run into students that simply don't understand why they are there, have no passion, literally could burn water if they could etc. etc. etc.  That said when I am involved in the group work I get asked question after question after question that I have no place in answering in reality as I'm not the chef, just a peer. I help where I can with my knowledge but I would rather see them learn it themselves then me hold their hands half of the way.  To me that is frustrating, otherwise I am glad I have made the decision to pursue this education.  

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Culinary Students › General Culinary School Discussions › Hardest Thing about Culinary School