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help me choose

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
hello again, i'm currently 17 and a high school dropout(yeah i know shoulda stayed in school, so save me the chin music) i am very interested in becoming a chef, and want to do everything possible to get a great education in the field, so what i would like to know is this school

The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Michigan (sorry i couldnt link it)

good enough to teach me all i would need to become a great chef or would i need to go to a bigger more known school like the CIA or ICE schools?

so any input is greatly appreiciated

thank you
post #2 of 10
No one school will make you a great chef. What the schools teach is the foundation of what you need to know to cook or bake along with some related skills i.e. the various decorative skills used in the culinary world.

Some programs are longer and will go into management, supervision and business related subjects.

The rest will depend on you personally. How much motivation, dedication, perseverance and enthusiasm do you have? These are all things that will determine how much and how well you learn the foundations and they will be the things that determine how successful you will once you are out of school and working your way up to being a chef.

Many people have become chefs, and very good ones at that, without what would be considered any formal education. But keep in mind that these people had the drive, the motivation, the dedication the perseverance and the the enthusiasm to learn on their own through books, video's, DVD's, workshops, seminars and on the job training at the places the worked. Just like going to school and doing well, it wasn't easy.

Being good at anything requires significant effort from the individual.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
so what i am gathering from your post, is that the school really doesnt matter, that the drive, dedication, and determination thats YOU personally have to learn and be succesful that will really determin how succesful you will be in life?
post #4 of 10
For the most part yes. Can the school attended make a difference yes, to some degree. Say two recent graduates from different culinary schools apply for a job. Both graduated at or near the top of their class. Both demonstrate motivation, enthusiasm etc, etc. One went to a school with a 21 month program that has been around a long time and the other went to a school with 12 month program and they have only been around for maybe 8 or 10 years. The person with the longer period of training will probably get the job.

Then again the person who went to the 12 month program and graduated at the top of the class might be the better bet compared to someone going to the longer program who barely made it through.

Above all, any employer is looking for someone who is dependable, willing to learn and willing to work conscientiously.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
ok m8 thank you for all the advice
post #6 of 10
I would also add that an open, positive attitude and a spirit of cooperation are essential to achieving success in this business. While drive, dedication and determination are necessary, using that drive to railroad over people on your way up is as detrimental as not having the prerequisite culinary knowledge and skill.

This is a collaborative business and your ability to nurture positive relationships and encourage the best in everyone you work with is a signature of the truly great chefs. There's a lot of overblown egomaniacism that floats around professional kitchens. Learning to channel that energy into something positive without putting people down is one of the major challenges for which you should prepare.

There's also a good bit of mechanical and administrative knowledge that you need to learn. Chefs must occasionally deal with malfunctioning hood fans, refrigeration, finicky espresso machines and heating and air conditioning systems. Schools rarely teach any of that, in my experience. You also need to learn about recipe ratios so to scale up or scale down yields, menu pricing to assure profitability, managing labor costs, not to mention dealing with suppliers who routinely short you on orders of stuff you really need and send you supplies you didn't order.

If math is a challenge for you-get over it and become facile with basic algebra and accounting. You will absolutely need it! You must be able to do basic arithmetic calculations in your head without a calculator.

Being a great chef is more than cooking a great meal, or a hundred of them.
It's a comprehensive profession with broadly ranging skill sets.

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!


Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

post #7 of 10
First off I wouldn't go there. I know nothing about thier program, BUT. I do now that I requested info over a year ago about somne summer classes. I STILL get hounded. I get at least one VM a week, and at least two mailings a month. Do you live out that way? Check out Schoolcraft, they aren't ACF certified, but I heard a great program. I also heard good things about Washtenaw comm college. What area do you live, east side west side?

post #8 of 10
Excellent words of wisdom above from foodnfoto.
post #9 of 10
I am also from Michigan (East side) I was wondering if you guys know any decent schools in the are. I'm about a hair away from signing the last papers to go to LCB Miami and relocate. But since I have been reading all these forums im getting 2nd 3rd 4th and 5th thoughts! I am even considering just going to a community college with a good cullinary program and then do an apprenticeship.

Any thouhts?
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
i accually live more towards the west side, and i requested info on that school the other day, and just got it and doesnt look to impresive, i requested info to the columbus culinary institute in ohio yesturday, so hopefully they'll turn out better, anyone here know anything about that school

thanks again
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