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I don't want to change career...

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
OK, so I'm interested in going to culinary school, but not particularly to change career.

I know that may sound silly to do, but I really want to become a chef, but not to change my career.

Are there many people that do that? If so, how did it work out?

I am right now considering Kitchen Academy or Art Institute in Seattle.

Let me know your thoughts, and if you want more info let me know, and I'll give more background.

Thanks for your input!
post #2 of 21
Terrific idea!

post #3 of 21
there alot of people that go to culinary school just to learn how to cook better and never go into the field.
post #4 of 21
I think the price of Kitchen Academy and the Art Institute is way too high if you are not going to pursue cooking as a career. I would look into taking courses at a community college.

For the record, no school will make you a chef. School will only teach you to be a cook.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
post #5 of 21
What would be better in your case is to take some regular cooking classes that are more for home cooking. Places like Kitchen Acadamy and The Art Institute and even community colleges does teach cooking but they prepare you for professional work. So if you are not looking to become a professional chef then i would take the more liesurely approach.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
As for the price mentioned earlier, I'm not really concerned. Also, one of the things I'm looking for is a DEGREE. I realize that KA doesn't offer an official degree, but they have an accelerated program.

This is why I'm leaning towards the Art Institute. They at least offer a degree (AAS).

All that being said, I have one burning question, and that is about the Externship that they BOTH require for completion.

I neither want, nor need to work in the commercial environs. Any suggestions there?
post #7 of 21
just curious, what are you going to apply your degree to once youve earned it? Seriously check out community colleges they usually dont have externships but will teach you cooking!
post #8 of 21
Lemme get this right. So you basically want to go to culinary school to become a better cook, but not to actually get a cooking job? Nothing wrong with that if you have the money, however, I am just wondering.

I am 31 and starting culinary classes in February. BUT unlike you, I have yet to have a career. I am attending a local community college that I have heard is pretty good. I am starting off with two classes. Basic Food Preparation (10 hours per week) and Introduction to the Hospitality Industry (2 hours per week). The intro class is needed if I plan to get a hospitality degree, or certificate. And I hope to get that far (degree).

Here is a link to all the hospitality classes my community college offers

Cooking, baking, menu planning, restaurant operations, etc. Maybe your local community college will have similar classes?

Check out this link
Seattle Community Colleges

Personally, I feel a community college is just as good as a $45,000 school as long as both the school and student is competent. If you are going to thrive, you will thrive regardless because that determination can not be taught. The real dedication needed to succeed will come when you are not in class, but when you are on your lunch break with your textbook, or at home with your books, videos, knives, stove, and ingredients. And also if you decide to get a part time food job while working at your full time job and going to school.

If you just want to be a better cook, invest in at least one textbook and dedicate yourself to it. I own both the 'On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals' 4th edition and Professional Chef (CIA) 8th edition. IMO they both compliment each other. I also want to get the ACF Culinary Fundamentals textbook.

Good luck to whatever you decide.
"To be a good chef all you got to do is lots of little things well" -Marco Pierre

"As far as cuisine is concerned, one must read everything, see everything, hear everything, try everything, observe everything, in order to retain in the end, just a little bit." -Fernand Point
"To be a good chef all you got to do is lots of little things well" -Marco Pierre

"As far as cuisine is concerned, one must read everything, see everything, hear everything, try everything, observe everything, in order to retain in the end, just a little bit." -Fernand Point
post #9 of 21
The externship in a commercial kitchen is part of learning how to cook. Not only learning something about the commercial environment, but cooking period. This includes dealing with time pressure, learning to fix disasters on the fly, keeping your head in what you're doing while everything is going nuts around you, and maintaining a an extremely high degree of organization and cleanliness.

You may be able to keep your externship in a catering rather than a restaurant environment which, in a sense, is more practical for someone who plans on doing a lot of entertaining. You may or may not be aware of it, but catering cooking differs from restaurant cooking in a lot of ways.

If you want to cook at a professional level (whether or not you want to cook professionally) a short time in a professional kitchen will teach you lots of important lessons more quickly and thoroughly than you can learn them elsewhere.

While you may never sully your culinary education with money, "One never knows, do one?"

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
To answer the above, and other questions, Yes...kinda.

I'm at a place where I can afford to do whatever I want education wise. I simply want to get a degree in something that I ENJOY. Nothing wrong with that right?

I had a tour of the Kitchen Academy in Seattle last night, and met the director and all. I really like the idea of the quick program, but there is only a "diploma" at the end.

I am also in the military (reserves), and a degree of ANY type will make a VERY large difference in promotion. I believe that answers the other question of what I am going to do with a degree.

I am going to research the local community colleges, and I also have a meeting scheduled with the Art Institute in Seattle too.

Thanks for all the input, and opinions. I appreciate it!
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
OK....I like the discussion, and like to keep it going.

The visit to KA was enlightening. The Bakery/Pastry class was preparing pastry for the Washington State Governers Inaugaration Ball. Cool stuff!

This only piqued my interest in the schools even more. I have yet to visit the Art Inst., so I'm not sure what that progam looks like.

I've also looked at the local technical college and they have a program too. I may do that, as it is cheaper, closer, and if I want to skip a quarter/semester, I can without too much falling behind.

I've heard the cons of the KA's and Art Inst., convince me why I SHOULD go to either of those!
post #12 of 21
>>convince me why I SHOULD go to either of those!

not to put a real fine point on it, but you were insisting they had to be "the best" because of the "degree" thingie - well almost, one does a diploma...

there are many options to learning basic cooking techniques and to expand your horizons beyond nuking frozen pre-prepared foods.

if you are counting on a degree to advance your (say it ain't so, reserve military career?) make sure it's from an accredited institution. no knowledge of your choices, but non-accredited institutions basically you mail them a check and they mail you a degree. folks be onto that.

otherwise I too am completely perplexed on the fixation to "have a degree" with no intention of ever professionally employing your qualification. up to you, I'm not paying . . . <g> nothing wrong with personal aspirations - so iffin' you want it, go for it.

USN, Retired
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Dude...what's wrong with a "Reserve Military" career? I've been doing the military (Active AND Reserve) for 21 years....why not retire, and get the pension?

As for you being perplexed, it's a personal thing. I'd prefer a "degree" at the end as opposed to a "diploma". Also, there are plenty of people NOT working in thier degree field. I personally know a Yale educated Lawyer that is now a cook at Disneyland Resort. He went through the KA in Hollywood. The degree doesn't make the person. And the Art Institute is an accredited institution, so I won't have a problem if I go that route.

Thanks for your input, and what did you retire as from the Navy?
post #14 of 21

and in the reserves, the only thing that counts is whether you're still alive when your promotion date arrives.

regards the rest, you've answered all your own questions. you do not need a degree, for anything. with 21 years, ain't gonna go get no better. yeah, reality bites.

if you want it, go for it. do not expect it to bring anything other than personal satisfaction - which does count for rather a lot.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Dilbert, the Reserves have changed....and as an enlisted person, I still have to take the same test as active duty.

Yes, this is a personal pride/accomplishment thing.
post #16 of 21
the pros for going to the art institute or kitchen acadamy is externships if they have any. they put you in a real foodservice facility, alot of community colleges dont do that. and alot of these places are excellerated, i think kitchen acadamy is about 9 months if im correct.
post #17 of 21
I was trained as a chef very young. Went on to finish an electrical engineering and an atomic spectroscopy career.

I have continued to cook professionally for more then 30 years. While I was trained during the mentor era. Prior to all these schools being around.

I have always been glad I had the pro training. I cook professionally all the hours I want to (caterers always need competent help, as do most restos during the holidays)

Chef pay is not super high, but I made my living with the engineering and did the pro cooking strictly for my own mental health!

Worked well for me and continues too.

I vote for Community College, the large named schools are a waste of money, entry staff is trained to drain every dollar from a young students pocket. Staff understands that they all think they are the next TV star. Reality is, save for very few, they will work the rest of their life trying to pay that loan off at $12 per hour.
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
post #18 of 21

C.C's do the job, and pretty good too. Here over the border VCC (Van C. College) has some excellent instructors and courses--as well as a strong connection with the hospitality industry.

You will find, in the next few weeks, that you are being "love bombed" by the private schools. The recruiters have a job to do, and in many instances the recruiters earn more than the instructors. Remember, school is just like a piggy bank: You can only get out what you put in.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. I'm looking at the local tech school. They offer a degree, and it will most likely be much cheaper. Renton Technical College | RTC | Education for Life | Training Programs is the place I'm looking at. It's close, and should be OK.
post #20 of 21
So di you wind up going to Renton? Im moving to the Seattle are myself and am interested in oing to culinary schools the KA and Renton are among my lis
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 

I decided to do something else...

I looked into KA and the local place (Renton Tech), and the tech college is probably better as a long term thing. If you want a fast, get into a restaraunt job quick school, KA is the place.

They both have good instructors, and curriculum, but KA is just compressed. If you have a choice, take a major program like Art Inst. I think you'll learn more about the 'why' things are done, and not just the how....

Myself, I decided to buy a house....the market is ripe, and I was in that position, so I bought a house and will wait on the culinary part for later. I have that flexibility.
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