ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Culinary Students › General Culinary School Discussions › Should I goto school, or just practice a lot on my own?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Should I goto school, or just practice a lot on my own?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Should I goto school, or just practice a lot on my own?

I'm contenplating going to chef school, but the ~$20,000-40,000 price tag for a two year degree seems a bit steep and I'm not sure if its a worth while investment.

Could I really learn that much more than just practicing a lot on my own?

When trying to get job at a nice restaurant, how much does the 2 year degree help?
post #2 of 9
the best but longer route is to get a job at a resturant, youll mostlikly be a dishwasher. stay late work for fee have the guys teach you what they can. eventually they use you for prep or something then conitnue to learn and be a hard worker.

or

go to school and youll have the knowledge so you might start out as a prep or maybe even line then have to work from there.

What kind of practice on your own are you talkingabout? There is no practice at home that can train you really for a busy line
post #3 of 9
Sure,you can practice on your own all you want,but as Ghetto said,it's not going to prepare you for reality.School teaches the basic fundamentals and if you want to work in a "nice" restaurant,you better know them.

Chef asks you to cut those carrots in a fine brunios or tournet 50 lbs of potatoes..you better know what they mean.Chef asks you to make any/all of the mother sauces,can you? A consumme? Pate En Croute? Basic forcemeat? You'd spend a lot of $$ making these things at home over and over again to get them right

If you're serious,go to school.It would take years and many a patient chef to teach you all you need to know,and most "nice" restaurants won't even hire you as a prep cook unless you have a degree.

School isn't just about cooking;it's about safety and sanitation classes,Basic English,French,Spanish,Psychology,Business Management,food costing,recipe conversions [metric and standard] nutrition classes,knowing the history of all cusines and the regions they come from,proper knife techniques....but even school doesn't teach you everything.For every one thing you learn in a safe,sterile demo kitchen,there are 50 more things you learn on the job and each chef has their own way of doing things.

But just as true is the fact that a degree will open a door,and sometimes only a crack.It doesn't gaurantee that you'll land some high-paying job somewhere in a respected kitchen and you will not have "Chef" status;that takes years.And keep in mind that the recent statistics are less than 10% of grads will still be in the business 5 years after graduation...and they still owe the money for the student loans.
"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
Reply
"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
Reply
post #4 of 9
well put atl.
post #5 of 9
The best advice anyone can get about culinary school is to get restaurant job BEFORE you go to school. This is because real life experience will help you learn more/better at school, AND you won't find yourself 2 years down the line having wasted $$$ on a career you don't want to stay in.

If you're paying $20-40 grand for a culinary education you're wasting your money unless you are going to the C.I.A. Check out the local culinary programs at your area community colleges and trade school. Also, many universities offer good hospitality management programs if that is more your bent.

Save your practicing at home for knife cuts. Knife skills will get you farther faster in this industry then just about anything else.

With a culinary degree you can expect to get a prep job or a gardemanger job.

AtlTournat- I ran down your list to see where I stood. I've made all of these things in school, but in the "real world"

carrots in a fine brunios? Yes, but they were pretty embarrasing
tournet 50 lbs of potatoes? NEVER
mother sauces? 3/5 (I'm not counting Italian style tomato sauces)
A consumme? Yup, in shellfish, poultry, and beef flavors.
Pate En Croute? Nope. (Unless you count meat pies)
Basic forcemeat? Yes, yes, and YES!
post #6 of 9
If you read through a few threads, you'll see that I've similarly expressed thetincook's advice multiple times. The restaurant industry eats people and spits them out quickly. Most culinary school grads have a totally unrealistic view of what it's like, day-to-day, in a commercial kitchen. How many times have I heard, "I loved culinary school, but I hate working 12 hour days in a hot kitchen." Please, before you commit to spending thousands of borrowed dollars for culinary school, get a job in a restaurant's kitchen and work there for a year. See what it's like, learn what you can, and then, decide whether your best course of action is a culinary school.
post #7 of 9
Ahhh,I gotta disagree a little bit there,tincook.Yes,the knifeskills are important,but it takes more than that to move up.

What about the innate ability to manage chaos and keep your head,effectively lead a team and garner respect from said team,deft multi-tasking,passion and willingness to keep learning,ability to identify specific flavor profiles and multiple cuisines,ability to think/react on the fly? ..It's about the whole package.

I've worked with many people who were efficient with the knife,but they could not be trusted to work without some supervision or babysitting to make sure they were keeping on task.
"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
Reply
"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
Reply
post #8 of 9
Ah to go to school or not to go to School that is the question. There are good and bad points to each. Having already gone to a 4 year school and spent over $30.000 on my education, besides learning culinary history and nutrition etc. I learned much more on cooking technique and kitchen management from interning under a qualified chef. If I had it to do over again, I think I would have taken my 30 grand and gone to France for a year and then to Italy for a year, and I think I would have learned as much as I did in school, But………….Ya never know, so

Good Luck with that.

James L.
post #9 of 9
You would have learned more and got paid for it. Note when I was hireing if a fellow told me he worked here and there in Europe and could furnish proof of same. I would hire him or her over any culinary school student anytime , and looking back over the years I made the right choices and dont regret any.:D
CHEFED
Reply
CHEFED
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Culinary Students › General Culinary School Discussions › Should I goto school, or just practice a lot on my own?