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Worthwhile Catering and PC Programs?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am currently in the military and trying to break into the culinary world. I do not have any training or background in cooking. I found these two distance/correspondence programs (below) and was wondering if they would be worthwhile. Right now I am working towards a degree in hospitality/restaurant management but I truly want to cook more than anything. I am currently stationed at Hurlburt Field (Ft Walton Beach, Fl) where I have not been able to find any sort of culinary programs to get into. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts, comments, suggestions, etc on the two programs below. Thanks.

1. AshworthUniversity
Gourmet Cooking & Catering
Overview - Learn cooking and catering from soup to nuts. You’ll be inspired by the breadth of this course – plus the hundreds of delicious recipes that are included for practice. Find out how to select and store ingredients, choose recipes, develop menus for all occasions, prepare, store and serve every kind of food, provide table service, plan banquets and special events and more. You’ll also learn how to manage a successful catering business – from staffing to scheduling to client surveys.

2. CulinaryBusinessAcademy
Personal Chef Home Study Program
The Personal Chef Home Study Program is the most complete and comprehensive correspondence course ever developed for the Personal Chef industry. It represents the culmination of 17 years of real-world experience from thousands of successful Personal Chefs.

The foundation of the Home Study Program is the Professional Personal Chef Reference Manual. The authors of this manual, David MacKay and Susan Titcomb-MacKay, are the acknowledged creators of the personal chef service concept and the founders of the personal chef service industry. With over 450 pages of information, this manual is organized in an easy-to-understand format covering all aspects of a personal chef service in detail. The Professional Personal Chef Reference Manual has become the "bible" of the Personal Chef industry. That’s why successful Personal Chefs use the Professional Personal Chef Reference Manual to establish successful personal chef services in the shortest time possible.

With the Professional Personal Chef Reference Manual, the Marketing and Selling Audio CDs and the included Essential Recipes, the Home Study Program is a comprehensive instructional package created to help you start a successful personal chef service. The course can be completed in as little as two weeks or you can study at your own pace. Upon completion, you will have the knowledge necessary to begin serving clients as a Professional Personal Chef. Successfully completing the three on-line tests results in a Personal Chef diploma, which is one requirement to become a Certified Personal Chef. USPCA Certification is not a direct result of this program

I apologize for the long post. Thanks once again for your time and assistance.
post #2 of 7
hmmmm......everyone learns in different ways.
Several years ago a man hired me to teach him how to cook (private lessons) for approx 3 hours every week....he'd recieve a CSA bag of produce and we would prepare whatever was in the mystery bag. I worked with him for 3 years.

There is enough information on Cheftalk to start a PC business....all you have to do is be able to manuver around the site and resource the archives. It's free.

The STL libraries have Julia Child's old television shows on DVD. You can have no better teacher than Julia.....again free. You're libraries can request the series if they don't already carry it.

Ft. Walton Beach.....how long is your tour?
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #3 of 7

Worthwhile catering and PC programs

I am with shroom. I planned on joining one of the PC organizations for the training, but after reading on this site and talking to others who took the training, I decided to do it on my own. Now I must say I already cook/bake and have a catering business. However, I am not "formally trained" and thought I needed it. I find rather that I know much of what I need. It is very expensive and in my mind, it is more useful to work in the industry. I AM NOT SAYING CULINARY TRAINING ISN"T IMPORTANT OR WORTHWHILE - so please no one jump on me!!!

Can you get a job with a caterer for the training?

I am a firm believer in education, have a masters's in another field and taught at grad school level in that field. Will your hospitality degree give you education in the business end. That is as important as the cooking!

Good luck
post #4 of 7
personal cheffing is more about straight forward cooking than any other aspect in the culinary field....IMPO.

Do you know enough to plan a menu that cross uses ingredients? Do you have people skills enough so that new clients feel comfortable having you in their home, many times when they are not? Can you budget a menu to fit their budget? Can you make multiple meals at one time? Timing.....
Alot of it comes with cooking experience. Not to sound sexest, but moms' cooking with little kids or multiple things going and making multiple dishes at one stretch have a shorter learning curve out of shear necessity.

Sorry Kuan, Dad's too.

Personal Cheffing....you can have selected menus clients choose from that you have recipes for and are comfortable making. Go through the freezer section in a grocery to figure out what freezes well.

Or if you have the "chops" you can adapt your client's needs/desires and have different menus all the time.

Or a combination.

It's interesting to see all the interest in Personal Cheffing programs......some seem like Spam propaganda, sorry again after reading so many requests to review programs recently it just comes off that way. It's shortcuts you pay for out the nose.....in some instances they are not worth much.

There are not any culinary programs taught at a college, I know of that deal with teaching personal cheffing.

JOE, what skills are you looking for?
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #5 of 7
Catering....totally different beast than restaurants and personal cheffing.

Best way to learn is to read (Michael Roman's book is good).....work with caterers.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Honestly I'm looking for a way to get into the world of cooking. Cooking is what I want to do. I have no formal background or training of any type other than experimenting in my tiny apartment kitchen. I would like to take what little knowledge I have to the next level.
post #7 of 7
I don't have a formal background either. In college I worked in a Continental restaurant, worked for a fast food chain too......then cooked on my own for 15 years. Started personal cheffing after a bad divorce.

But that does not tell you that I've cooked since I was eleven...nor that I read cookbooks for fun.....nor that I had $$$ to cook with both as a teenager and as a wife.....it doesn't tell you alot.

I have no clue what your skill level is, nor your experience with selecting food, prepping food, preparing food......some do not need a formal education.

After personal cheffing for several years I took a 12 week basic baking course at the community college. Frankly told the intake counselor I didn't know if it'd be something I'd teach or take. How's that for moxy?

If you are considering cooking classes to be a personal chef, the best ones IMPO would be the ones at an "at home cook" cooking school.....volunteer to help with setup and get the classes for free. You'd learn more about different foods in those classes than you would any other place.
Some cooks are better teachers than others....hopefully you can learn from others mistakes as well.
Practice cooking at home. Practice designing menus.....there are plenty of PC menus written through the years....not sure what's in all the archives but check back through the old PC logs and you'd find some value.

If you want to cater, working for a caterer is probably your best option.
If you want to cook in a restaurant, then school maybe a viable option.

Just to go to school to get a degree....????!!!!????? Well, at the end of line what skills would you have that would help you in your goal?......I've worked with chefs that have attended CIA, Johnson and Wales, L'ecole Culinaire, Community Colleges.....each got different skill sets in their education.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
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