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Another Rookie Chasing Dreams..

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
:chef:Hello everyone!

I'm very excited to have found this site and to have read such wonderful things from all of you. I wanted to introduce myself and hopefully get a few members to help me out with the life-altering choices I will have to make within the next month.

I am a 20-year old living in South Florida with, an almost, since-birth passion for the art of creating wonderful foods, deserts, and even beverages. I have recently declared this dream of mine to own a little Desert Bar and Bakery to my parents after hiding it for a few years. I was afraid of what they would have to say, being that my father is a business owner himself and would consider many things risky. I got the exact reaction I thought I would from them, they made up all sorts of excuses as to why I should'nt get into the culinary scene. All in all, I've proven my passion for it. I have made appointments with the FCI and CIA in NY and with the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale.

I have been to the Ai in Atlanta and Le Cordon Bleu as well, but I am still a bit sceptacle of where their true concerns for my future stand. I get the feeling they just want to gain their co-mission and call it a day.

So, if anyone has any advice for me I would deeply appreciate it. I have done extensive research on all schools. The Ai benefits me because of the restaurant management courses, but I also know that the curriculm of FCI and CIA for Pastries is amazing. The prices for the schools are about the same only that CIA is about 10,000 more!

Anyway, thanks for reading. Good luck to all.
post #2 of 11
Hi Le Cheri,
Having no idea how the American system works, I have no advice re. your education as far as colleges go.

There is a compromise however, Have you ever though about spending your free time working your way up in a local place, to get a feel for the life.
My No. 2 son wasnt sure about whether he wanted to commit to the chef life and volunteered his time for 2 weeks at his fave place. within this time they realised his potential and he has now joined his elder brother as a sucessful chef without college training

My point is, Maybe you should find out if your dream really is what you want

Mainstream education is a valuable experience. Thats the way I did it and 4 years at college gave me real confidence, but my boys didnt need it to get way further than i ever did.
All the very best of luck in whatever you decide
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
post #3 of 11
I agree with Bughut, but with some added emphasis.

I was lucky enough to spend a few years working in bakeries before I went off to school. It was easy for the chefs to tell who had. And you know what, we learned more!
Not having to worry about getting the basics down frees up your mind to remember the more interesting things. And 'the basics' in a professional kitchen are different from 'the basics' at home.

Oh, and also that thing about making sure you really want to do this too....:D


"Health nuts are going to feel stupid one day, lying in the hospital dying of nothing"
-Redd Foxx

"Health nuts are going to feel stupid one day, lying in the hospital dying of nothing"
-Redd Foxx
post #4 of 11
Take Erik and Bughut's words seriously.
BEFORE YOU GO TO SCHOOL, do some work in the field!
Work in a real professional kitchen as a prep person or work in a bakery or cafe.....just get in there to see what you're in for. Mark my words, this is important and valuable advice. I can't tell you how many interns I've had actually quit school when they found out what a real kitchen puts you through. A lot of people have very filtered and inaccurate ideas about what kitchen life is all about. Before you spend THAT KIND OF MONEY on an education that you basically can get for free, you need to BE ABSOLUTELY SURE this is what you want. IT'S NOT AN EASY LIFE!

You might want to read the entry in my blog titled, "So You Want to Be a Chef?"
Linky below.

P.S. I am not a fan of Le Cordon Bleu schools or AI. Their programs aren't very thorough and the interns I have taken on from those programs know next to nothing. It doesn't reflect well on the schools. I'm even wondering what the heck they're teaching.......none of my interns really had a clue about a lot of the basics! And NONE of them had a clue about time management or efficiency.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you!

I will definitely take that advice into consideration. I have worked at a restaurant doing all types of kitchen work for about 2 years. But I will look into doing some volunteer work in bakery, patisserie, or something of that nature.

Thank you so much. This is all very helpful.
post #6 of 11
There are any number or ridiculous platitudes I could cite.
Here, however, I would say:
"do something you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life".
Or something like that.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hmm.. I'm not quite sure I follow. However, I am aware that being in the kitchen involves a whole lot of work, and I have always appreciated the end result of hard work and dedication. I am not, nor have I ever been concerned with how laborious becoming a Chef may be, I was just worried about gaining the proper experience and where I should start, but after all of the advice I have received from this forum and many others, I feel a lot more confident that I will make the right decisions.

Thank you all again for the wonderful advice :smiles:
post #8 of 11
i graduated from the Art Institute of Seattle a few years ago. i loved my school and think that i got my moneys worth. i know that there are bad reputations from every school. Ai students are assumed to be unskilled, CiA graduates are cocky that cant be backed up with skill. community college graduates are just not up to par... (i dont believe these btw, just things ive heard)
basically, you get out of a school what you put in. there are going to be incompetent people graduating from all different schools. and from what i've seen, ALL people straight out of school are shaky and need guidance.

i would reccomend an Ai school, but its really a personal decision. find out how much hands on time you get . how much lecture time is involved. (we had 5 hrs hands on and 1 hr lecture, 3 days a week for 12 months) and they offered night classes allowing us to have day jobs. and i would reccomend getting a small job in a kitchen to see if you can handle it.

good lucK!
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank You!

Thanks for the advice! I agree with you 100%. I'm sure there are schools that teach a little better then others, but I'm also sure it can all depend on the student. I visited the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale in my area and LOVED it. So now all I need is a part-time kitchen job and I'll be on my way!!
post #10 of 11
hi! This is Sweet Sue, I just joined myself. I am transitioning from a 21 yr career in nursing to one in the pastry arts. it was so hard to take that leap of faith for me. I truly felt that I was trying to leap across the grand canyon. I stumbled on a school by Loretta Paganini , ICASI, that is 42 miles away from me and they offered both professional culinary and pastry programs which included restaurnt management classes as well as an externship. i dragged my mom to an open house and she was as impressed as i was. Later when my brother saw how serious i was he loaned me some money to help with the cost. I just finished my externship and the actual graduation ceremony is 10/04/08 . follow your dream! bye.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank You

Will do Sue :chef: thanks for the extra motivation. Good luck with your career.
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