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Ceritifcate, diploma, associates, bachelors?!...

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
There are so many different ways of getting a culinary education, and so I'm just a bit lost.
I know there have been several other posts about different schools and levels of education, but none have really helped with my situation-
I had decided to transfer from UT Austin (which is where I am currently going to school) to culinary school. I looked in to the Culinary Academy of Austin, Texas Culinary Academy (which I hear is a pretty good school), and the Art Institutes of Dallas and Phoenix. I can also choose between certificates, diplomas, and associates and bachelors degrees. I have been reading many different opinions on the levels of education to pursue and really hoped to go for a bachelor's, which, out of the schools I previously listed, is only offered by the AI Phoenix, which is very expensive. So, I've been thinking and have decided to work through the summer, maybe longer if need be, back in my home town of El Paso. I'm trying to find/make some connections with people there as I would like to work (or even volunteer) in a restaurant, bakery/pastry shop, or even with a catering business just to gain some experience and get myself in the industry. I figure, after a while of working in the industry and gaining some experience I would know a little bit better how much and what kind of education I will need to do exactly what I hope to. I figure, after working in a kitchen, washing dishes or doing odd jobs while watching, learning, and gaining that experience, I can decide whether a certificate, diploma, or associates or bachelors degree is right for me and then go after it because I am determined to do this, whatever it takes.
So, I guess what I'm asking is- is this a good plan? I'm only asking because I know there are some very knowledgeable people on this website who could shed some new light on the situation and possibly give some very useful advice.
And if any of you know any chefs, bakers, or restaurant owners who live in El Paso, TX, please help! I might even go to Phoenix early and work there, so if y'all know anyone there, I would really appreciate some names and/or numbers!
Thank you, so much for reading my schpeal (spelling?), and I really look forward to your replies!
post #2 of 3

let me first applaud you on your interest in culinary school. I attended this school and graduated with a Certificate in Culinary Arts. Institute of Culinary Education | Culinary Arts, Culinary School, Pastry, Baking, Management and Cooking School in New York City In my personal experience after graduating from culinary school i can tell you this. It does not matter a single bit what type of degree you have from a culinary school. this is why i feel this way about it and im being frank. I moved from New York to Dallas TX after graduating culinary school. I thought I would be able to come to Dallas with my big fancy certificate and get a great job. NOT TRUE. I went to ALOT of restaurants upon moving here and the most i was offered in pay was 9.50 an hour with my degree. I just couldnt accept that I was so shocked and yes it was a wake up to me. School WILL teach you technique and maybe even restaurant line simulation and different cuisines BUT once your out there in the job field you still have to work your way up. I do have a good job making great money in a food industry job but it has nothing to do with my schooling sad to say. I mean i am allowed to be creative and all that jazz but as far as all the technique i learned, well i cook at home alot to keep myself in practice. I also work with a number of students from the Art Institute here and I can tell you they are not doing what they paid all that money for.

I dont want to sound discouraging or anything. I just feel a Culinary degree is what you make of it is all. While i was in New York i felt i had better oppurtunities to use my skills learned in school. In fact right out of school i became a personal chef and I made a good amount working on my own that way. It allowed me to create menus, shop for my clients and cook things that I wanted(with the clients permission of course).

So if your adament about going to school then by all means do it. you can learn alot by working as well and some schools like to see that you have worked in the food industry before attending a school. I will also say this before i go. Pick the best restaurant you can find to learn at. I interned at Jean George because it is considered one of THE BEST restuarants in New York. I befriended alot of nice people and I did learn from them some things i did not even learn in school.

I hope this helps
post #3 of 3
I went for my AA in culinary, personally I think a BA in culinary is too much money to spend for not that much more of a difference then the AA program. The AA I received instilled the same important basics that the BA has, just without the "extra" courses that may or may not be helpful to you later on.

Instead of pursuing a BA in culinary, I transferred my credits towards a BA in hospitality management, a far more tangible BA in my opinion.
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