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help with school

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if you would be kind enough to give me an advice about culinary schools in Los Angeles. I have a great passion for cooking and dreamed about having a small restaurant all my life. Finally, I’ve decided to do something about it. I realize that having a passion is not enough. I plan to go to culinary school to get a professional training and work for a few years to get an experience before I can open my own place. I have to choose between the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena and Kitchen Academy in Hollywood, but I’m a little confused. I’ve heard that California School of Culinary Arts is one of the best schools in CA, but it is $ 30,000 more expensive than the Kitchen Academy. Being a chef yourselfs I would really appreciate your opinion if it is worth paying more. Thank you very much.
post #2 of 6
i have been to kitchen academy for a vissit and it seemed not like a school i would want to go to. no real kitchen has LCD TV screens on a cooks station. learn how u will cook at a job. i vissited 5 different schools from CIA at greystone to kitchen accademy and i chose to go to a traidschool. go look im sure there are more schools then what you have found.
post #3 of 6
This is very true. At my current school, students pay alot of money to be pampered into unrealistic working conditions. I would rather skip the luxuries, pay less tuition, and get a taste of what real working conditions are like.

Keeping on subject, if Kitchen Academy is reputable, I would definitely save myself the $30,000 and go there. Le Cordon Bleu schools are majorly overhyped.
post #4 of 6
Please consider your local community colleges. It looks like there are a few options in Los Angeles as far as vo-tech culinary programs go, why not put in an inquiry and make some visits?

I am a vo-tech grad, albeit in Seattle, not Los Angeles. As far as getting into good restaurants is concerned, I've had no trouble whatsoever. Of the five places I've worked in so far, four out of the five have been Beard award winners or headed by chefs who won the award. (And the only reason why the fifth place wasn't such a place was because it was my first and I was clueless as to what I should have been looking for!)

Cost of my education: $6,000, inclusive of uniforms, supplies, books and tools. If I want to pursue a baking and pastry cert. to go with my culinary cert, it's $4,000 more. I also did an extra quarter to get an AAS, this is transferable towards a Bachelors in F&B Management within our community college program. Consider seeing if there is something similar in Los Angeles, and you could save yourself a lot of money while getting a great education.

I've worked with plenty of folks who came from expensive schools and institutions. Some were good, some weren't, and many were seriously unprepared, lazy, or otherwise dumber than a box of rocks. I'm willing to bet my next paycheck that on a skill for skill and knowledge for knowledge basis, they didn't get anything additional over us vo-tech grads.

Mind you, vo-tech programs aren't automatically immune to boxes of rocks, but they also tend not to put out boxes of rocks who expect to be chef or sous chef right after graduation while thinking they can cherry-pick what tasks they should have to do in the kitchen. And then there is the attendant stress a lot of those folks carry because of their debt load; given equal levels of ambition and drive, expensively educated grads make the same jack squat an hour vo-tech grads make.

I don't know about you, but if I had 30 - 50k laying around, I'd be thinking vo-tech program, then travel, just to stage everywhere and taste everything. And books too.

This is also quite doable locally, ie. round out your education by saving that money just to stage everywhere in the city and do your own networking while getting exposure to how different kitchens do their thing.

Past the two year mark, people will care more about where you've worked, what you'll be bringing to their outfit, and what the chef thought of you, rather than where you graduated from.

post #5 of 6
There are quite a few new restaurant concepts coming out that have LCD screens on the stations. The software is amazing. When a ticket is fired, it automatically delays the firing times for each station, and times the dishes from start to completion, turning red when the ticket time has been exceeded. It also has all recipe and plating guide information at the tip of your fingers. Although rare, these systems are becoming more and more prevalent. If there is one in your area, go visit a Grand Lux Cafe. It is the newest brainchild of The Cheesecake Factory, and the one in Vegas at the Venetian is the second busiest restaurant in the world. They turn an average of 8,000 covers a day through there and employ 350 people. Though a corporate restaurant, it is very impressive to see it pulled off.

Back to the main subject. The comment about the local community colleges/Votech thing is absolutely correct. You don't go to culinary school to become a chef, you go to learn the fundamentals. You work for years in the business to become a chef. Or get involved with a good apprenticeship program. They can be just as good.
It's Good To Be The King!
It's Good To Be The King!
post #6 of 6
I worked with these at TGIF. A whole ticket can be punched in (apps, salads, soups, etc) and entrees will not pop up on the screen until everything else has been sent out. The window is also divided into 6 zones, the computer tells you which zone to put what food, and the expo knows which zone to find what food. Truly is a fascinating system.
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