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post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My name's Dick and I am a new student at Arkansas Culinary School in Little, which operates under Pulaski Technical School to dole out associate degrees after completing their program. I commute to Little Rock from Hot Springs Monday - Thursday; no school locally.

I am taking Food Production I and Breakfast Cookery this summer. Food Production I is where everyone starts and learns terms, knife skills, etc.

I am an older guy who used to be a lawyer. Doing a career change. Fed up with swimming in the sewers of people's lives. Looking to become a private chef to someone's family.

Being new means I am sitting in the background absorbing all this. Now you know something about me. Thanks for listening.

post #2 of 13
Best of luck to you, Dick

One of my teachers made the lawyer to chef change, and she never looked back. Some students that were unaware of this tried to present her forged/fake documentation as "proof" that they either had a court or medical reason for not attending class and she immediately knew they were presenting her a load of BS.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the best wishes

I presume she became an instructor in some chef program? Yes, I can appreciate that forged documents might be difficult to slip by her.

Wrapped up the first week of class. Cooked a classic French omelette and help prepare a country breakfast (sausage gravy and biscuits), I am afraid that I don't personally care for that country breakfast stuff. Too heavy a meal for me. But I can cook it for anyone and maybe that's the education here.

Hard being in a class with 5 tens/early 20-somethings. They are rowdy and don't seem real interested in learning.
post #4 of 13
She was a lawyer (I'm not quite sure exactly what kind), but similarly she enrolled in culinary school with similar interests as yours. She bounced around the catering, baking, and restaurant world before accepting a teaching position at my alma mater.

Theres a few things I don't like, but learning how to make them benefits you because somewhere out in the world, there is a customer willing to pay money for it.
post #5 of 13
No...thank you
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Sorry I am so thick

Jenni, did you mean that message for me? I have no record of ever communicating with you prior to this missive.

Best regards,

Richard Bash:)
post #7 of 13

Private Chef

So you are thinking of becoming a private chef eh? That is one of the many things I am considering directing my culinary career towards. I love to cook and I love to create new things, and working for a wealthy family as their personal cook would seem like a dream job. All the creativity and chances to cook, with none of the stress of a fine dining brigade. *not that I don't revile in the chaos that ensues when the ticket printer goes crazy* Are there any private chefs out there? If so how did you come into your current job?
post #8 of 13
It is always good to meet a fellow student; no matter one's age or background, we are all in the same boat.
Being a lawyer to a Chef/Cook is a big change but congratulations and the best of luck to you and your future life!
Never stop striving to beat all expectations. Especially your own.
Never stop striving to beat all expectations. Especially your own.
post #9 of 13
Welcome, Dick :smiles:

I am another who has changed careers. I'm not in the culinary field, but rather HVAC. When changing careers, you bring some special perspective to your new field that is valuable.

My previous career was 17 years with Hewlett Packard. At 42 years of age I went back to school for what I am doing now. I haven't regretted it for a second.

Best of luck!
post #10 of 13
There are some private chefs here. Shipscook is one of them; she's a really pleasant person. Boar d laze is in the culinary field and used to be a lawyer. He explains things in a lot of detail--he'd be worth chatting with, for sure.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

End of summer update

This is an update to the classes I took at Arkansas Culinary School this summer. First, there is no more Arkansas Culinary School! It died and was resurrected the following day as the Culinary Division of Pulaski Technical College in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Furthermore, at the halfway point in the summer classes we were informed that the school was moving from its location at 4901 Asher Avenue in west Little Rock to the new Pulaski Technical College facility at 13000 Interstate 30, Little Rock, AR 72210-7016, between Little Rock and Benton on the south side of Little Rock (that cuts about 5-10 miles out of my commute from Hot Springs).

Then came the b-i-g announcement that we were getting a new, $500,000 kitchen with all the jazzy equipment one could reasonably expect to see. Almost all of the equipment and materials have been moved in the last week from the old location at 4901 Asher Avenue and the staff is excited about their new offices.

I have learned a lot from the two classes I initially took this summer (Food Production I and Breakfast Cookery). I especially developed an appreciation for the French (e.g, Carême, Escoffier and Point plus scores of others) and their vast contribution to the culinary arts. It is important to understand the history so one can understand where one is. I enjoyed the instruction and learned a bit of cooking (I can do a passable French omelette now) and liked Eggs Benedict and stuffed French toast the most.

The people to whom I spoke encouraged me to follow private chefing. It is all about making contacts and doing well in school (I got an A in each class this summer). Got to be a people person. They also said that I had to develop a repertoire of recipes that would enable me to provide a family with a variety of meals for a few weeks. I also need to learn how to look for parties that such families would likely have. So, that’s my challenge.

I got a knife set and did a bunch of chopping, but I am slow. In time my speed with increase. Other students in culinary arts who read this know exactly what I mean when I say I feel incompetent with a knife at this point.

This Fall I will be taking 5 classes (3 credits each) for the semester, starting on August 18th. Here are the classes and their description:

CUL 2307. Healthy Foods/Nutrition
This course discusses the contemporary issues facing our country including food insecurity, obesity and the diabetes crisis, and discusses the role chefs can play in creating a healthy food culture. Specific diets are discussed, and students examine the role a chef could assume in school cafeterias and hospital settings. (1 lecture hour/2 lab hours/88 contact hours)

HOS 1301. Introduction to Hospitality
This course will introduce the student to the broad world of hospitality and tourism and to the topics which will begin to prepare them for careers in these fields. Students will tour Little Rock restaurants, hospitals, universities, hotels and corporations. Students will learn of the different ethnic food markets including Hispanic markets, Korean markets, Indian markets and Vietnamese markets. (3 lecture hours/40 contact hours)

CUL 1301. Applied Foodservice Sanitation
This course presents safety and sanitation in the foodservice workplace, custom designed for the culinary professional. It meets the requirements set forth by the American Culinary Federation for 30 Continuing Education Hours. (3 lecture hours/40 contact hours)

BAK 1301. Baking I
This course is an introduction to the theory and technique of baking and pastry arts. Included will be basic concepts, units of measure, tools and materials, techniques and formulas. Discussions/demonstrations will cover basic baking to advanced techniques. Breads, sweet doughs, choux paste, pies, mousses, etc. will be covered. (1 lecture hour/2 lab hours/88 contact hours)

CUL 1303. Food Production II
The focus in this class is on organic produce, vegetable cookery, soups, potatoes, legumes and other starches. Students will learn of the recovery movement of native vegetables and legumes through Native Seed Search, and other seed companies dedicated to resurrecting American regional cuisine. (1 lecture hour/ 2 lab hours/88 contact hours). Prerequisite Food Production I or permission of instructor.

That’s a lot to learn but I have considerable experience in a school environment and it should not be too tough. My only gripe is that Food Production II is starting at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Ugh! Other than that, I have no complaints. Gotta have the class, so guess that I have to get up at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning in order to be there at 8. Grrr... Life ain’t always fair!

This new kitchen also serves a cafe at the school and all of the banquets that are held at the school (yes, there is a banquet room). There will be classes that do the needed cooking for those operations. Should be fun.

Thanks to all who have sent me encouraging messages. You do not know how much I appreciated them. More later.


Richard Bash
post #12 of 13
Good for you for following your dreams. I am also an older student making a career change. I am 34 and was doing tech support for years until I started to hate it. I'll be taking culinary management at my local community college this fall and I'm pretty excited about it. Life is short. Don't waste it doing something you don't really want to be doing. I think there are benefits to being an older student. You take it more seriously and you appreciate the chance to earn an education more. I think when you're younger there may be more distractions.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

Proud of you!

I am proud of you for making the jump, Liz. Stick with it. The culinary field is filled with opportunities and if you want to get into management, they have a dire need for that as well.

Wish I'd gone to culinary school instead of law school! Would have enjoyed it more. Basically in day-to-day lawyering, you're just wiping peoples' noses (especially family law and criminal law). Made me feel awful. So, I packed it in and am going to culinary school to become a chef. The large hotels hire older folks without a thought. If you can't find a local job, consider Las Vegas or other entertainment-type destinations, such as Orlando, L.A., Miami, New York, Chicago, Louisville, etc. (even little old Hot Springs; I got offered a job after engaging a management type in causual conversation today at a brunch; told him I had to graduate first but appreciated his confidence).

So, press on. Speaking of that, here's what Calvin Coolidge (former U.S. President) had to say on the subject:

Press On

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

— Calvin Coolidge

Take care!
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