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Why school?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My friends daughter was thinking of going to school for a culinary degree and she asked my advice on what I thought about her attending school. I could not give her any advice, but I told her about all the great students on cheftalk could lend some advice to us.

Could I get some help from you students on what it is you think school is going to help you with in this business and what does school actualy teach you about our field.

Thanks in advance for your help, it is appreciated!

Remain teachable!
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #2 of 11
Schools, and I have taught in a few, teach the basics. It is up to the individual to round themselves out. I firmly believe that before attending any school the student work in a food service establishment for 1 year. The reason being before spending all that money and making a commitment see if you are going to like it. Remember the schools must show a profit, that being their first concern. The dropout rate is fairly high. I myself graduated a cooking school in New York. Out of approx. 29 students enrolled in beginning, 5 years after graduation 6 were still in the business. Why not tell her about all the hours and holidays you work?
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #3 of 11
There are several reasons I'm attending a cooking school for a diploma. It's not the degree program but I'll feel just as accomplished getting it and it's much cheaper. I also can pair up this cooking diploma with a business degree at my leisure and once again at a much cheaper rate going to a community college. It shows future employers that I've been taught the basics and that I like my career enough to have made an effort in getting educated in it.
I've already been in the business for a while, and I'm sure it will teach me some stuff I already know. But it will also teach me stuff I don't know.
It will also introduce me to more opportunities.

I think school is a good thing, so long as it's in the budget. I always think it's more important to try and get an entry level job in the field you're interested in first to see if you like it or not...and so you don't waste money and put yourself further in the hole for a career you're not going to like.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
She is a line cook for about a year now and loves it. We were just wondering if four years of cooking experience in the field is equal to what she would learn in four years of school..
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #5 of 11
If that's the case I def think school is a great investment.
Of course she would learn different things :)
like for example, I've been a short order cook for a couple of months now and previously I had worked for a pizza place for 5 years. I learned out to toss pizza, about dough, their toppings, some fried food. Now I'm learning more about steaks and different cuts, chicken, sandwiches. There are many places I want to work, such as a chinese kitchen or in a bakery as well. All this takes time though. I'm going to school so I can learn things I haven't learned yet...how to prepare almost everything from scratch (as a lot of chain restaurants don't prepare a lot from scratch)...how to cook things I don't already cook and some more complicated things, fondues, foams...stuff like that. My ultimate goal is to work with a really innovative chef, or work for Disney World...I want to travel and learn as much as possible...but that's just me..
Everybody has their own goals..
It's always a plus to put school down on a resume' too. I don't see 4 years as necessary but a good two year program or even diploma program in culinary arts or baking..or both would be a great addition to your resume' when applying for a job. I also look for it to be a confidence booster as well.
post #6 of 11
chef.ESG.73 check your PM's.
post #7 of 11
Beleive it or not, school teaches you that your life is continuous learning. You will always learn something esp in our feild. There is always something new to come apon and master. School teaches you that you can learn, that you can cook, and that you can master anything you put your mind to. Not only does it give you a degree which in turn helps most deff. to secure a job that your looking to do but in the end with give you more money. It may cost you alot of money now but youll earn it back later on. Its not an easy thing culinary school, very stressful very time consuming (your in class like you would be in a restaurant).

No 4 years in cooking expereince is no where NEAR what you will pick up on in school trust me. I have about 6 years expereince in professional restaurants on top fo 4 years at a technical school for culinary arts (Highschool) then a year down at the culinary institute of america.

Id tell your friend to push her to go to school if this is what she wants to do for the rest of her life. Sure a degree for culinary arts doesnt mean youll have to be a chef in a restaurant you can go many directions with it thousands even but its still worth it. You need a degree now a days.

If you dont get a college degree now a days and just go streight into working out of highschool its kind of looked down apon. :o


And to throw this in there, school is what you make it, if you go to party thats all youll learn how to party, if you go to learn and go into class each and every day and go to chef and say hey chef last night i thought of this......what do you think? and just pick their brains youll get the most you can for your money. and trust me 36k a year is not cheap so get as much as possible for your money.

Anything else I can help you with let me know! ;)
"Some of us Cook. Some of us Grow. All of us Eat."
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"Some of us Cook. Some of us Grow. All of us Eat."
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post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks to those who replied to this and jbd for the PM, Its funny I hate to dictate peoples lives for them. I think I will invite her over and let her read all the replys and let her choose for herself. Thanks again.
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #9 of 11

Why school for me...

This is how I view the cost/reward ratio of going to school. From what I have researched, the skills gained from going to culinary school equate to almost a decades worth of experience. So basically, you pay around 40k to shave 8.5 years of your long climb up the culinary ladder. So basically it boils down to either climbing the latter from the bottom rung up, or paying a cherry-picker to hoist you up a ways and starting there. Another benefit to going to a well respected school is that it looks very good on your resume, and can help give you an edge in a highly competitive environment. I start my training at Le Cordon Bleu Atlanta in a few weeks, and I feel I have made a wise choice.
post #10 of 11
Why school?

I was at a party few weeks ago and was having a really good conversation with, shall we say, an individual. Everything was just hunky-dory until I said the phrase "It's a secret between she and I". Indivudal goes ballistic on me, accuses me of being the language police, an ex-English teacher, Saddam Hussien's baby brother, etc. etc. Why couldn't have I just said "It's her and my secret?"

This whole next paragaraph will be based on the assumption that the student in culinary school applies themselves diligently and actually wants to learn something:
(a)No one employer, no one job will expose you to all the techniques, tips, ingredients and methods a decent school will show you.

(b)Just because you learn a technique from an employer or collegue does not necceasarily guarantee you that that technique is executed properly, or the theory properly explained. This is a very typical situation in N. America.

On the other hand, it is the School's mandate to instruct proper technique, from qualified instructors, and to test the student if s/he has understood these techniques and can apply them.

All this being said, a school does not focus (well at least not as much as the employer would) on economy of movement and how to deal with everyday situations.

For me, anyway, school is important to provide the basics in order for the student to decide what is right or wrong when they work on the job.

Of course, you could get into an arguement with a "self trained cook" that the scum from boiling potatoes does NOT "contain nutrients and vitamins" and should removed, not stirred back in, or that "saute" does NOT mean "to toss pasta in a sauce".

It's a secret between she and I....
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #11 of 11

Attend school

I cannot tell you how important school is. See it teaches you the how, why, the fix the understanding of things. These are all valuable tools when you actually get into the culinary world. The drive is something else but you need to have the basics if you have that and the passion and the drive, you have the key to a great career and quickly. Let her go, encourage her to go, I am now the Executive chef because of these traits I hold and I only did it in 2.5 years. That says something. School will also prepare her for the "mindset" that is expected of us when we enter the career world. Any other questions, ask me, I did it and would not take a minute back. I am only 29, attened school at 26, did my time and did it well and I am a female in this field. I know the mountains and I know the hills. Trust me, there will be plenty but so rewarding when you become Executive chef! Best of luck to her.
Littlechef:chef:
Determination is going after Moby Dick in a row boat and bringing the tarter sauce!!!!......NICE!
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Determination is going after Moby Dick in a row boat and bringing the tarter sauce!!!!......NICE!
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