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Culinary School Grad - Page 2

post #31 of 55
One of my short lived assistants who graduated from Cordon Bleu, used to sip tea and watch her cream whip. She had no idea that perhaps she could be doing other things while her cream was whipping. I find that many grads have no idea about pacing when it comes to the real world of baking.
post #32 of 55
A couple of years ago I was working in a small custom cake shop. A woman called in early Dec. looking for a job in the field since she was going to enroll in culinary school for the Jan semester, she wants to be a pastry chef. I didn't have an opening but had a few minutes to talk with her about the prospect of going to school and what she wanted to do.

I asked her to tell me a little bit about herself, the conversation went something like this.

Me - "why do you want to go to culinary school for pastry?"

Her - "to increase my earning potential, I have been divorced for 6 months and have 3 children under the age of 10"

Me - "what do you do/earn now"

Her - "I'm a paralegal for JC Penney. (stammering about if she should tell me her salary)"

Me - "I don't really care what you make, I don't know you, I just want an idea - are you in the 30's?"

Her - "yes. The admin office also said they have job placement when I graduate."

Me - "unless you are top in you class and extremely good you'll earn about 8-10$ an hour to start. You will most likely work in a hotel, club or restaurant. Most likely you will work nights and absolutely on weekends and of course holidays. Corporate positions are few and far between."

Her - "really?"

Me - "yes. But I don't want you to believe me! Before you sign on the dotted line and be committed to 45K for culinary school, I think you should call come chefs in the area who are NOT working for the school. Ask them for 5-10 minutes of their time to speak with them about your situation. The school wants you to enroll and get your 45K, they can't get a job for you if one doesn't exist."

Her - "thank you for your time"


I never heard from her again and often wondered what she ended up doing. I couldn't imagine going back to school full time with 3 children and divorced!! Especially into this industry where it could take a while to "increase my earning potential"

I don't know for sure, but it seems like the admin office tells them they could earn 50-75k a year as a chef and not tell them how long and rugged the road to get there is.
post #33 of 55
In working for culinary schools in admissions for about 5 years, I can tell you that SOME schools will absolutely omit the actual "earning potential" of a chef. They typically leave out the "Expect to make $8-12 as a cook or pastry ***'t and you need to work anywhere from 3-10 years after graduating to move into any type of mgmt position"

Dishonor before death.
See the truth about the culinary education industry at www.culinaryschooladviser.com 
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See the truth about the culinary education industry at www.culinaryschooladviser.com 
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post #34 of 55

ugh

post #35 of 55

ugh

post #36 of 55

I was toying with the idea of going to culinary school and I still may but what turned me off of one school was the assertion by the  dean of the school that if I spend 6K on his course he could get me a job in any kitchen in Canada as a line cook.  Uhm... I had zero culinary training when I started out.. I was a self taught home cook and made the transition into the pro world... so why do I need his course to get the job I currently held??  It was a private career college so I was already wary of their program and when I went to that info session the dean presented himself to be more of a salesman than an educator.  When I do decide to take classes I would like to work under an educator rather than a salesman. 

 

The advertising lines are decieving... the local private school says in their tag line "become a qualified chef in less than three months"....yeah right... another reason why I will not take classes there....

OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #37 of 55

I have another one coming in wed. She looks promising, we'll see. Despite the some what crazy look in her eye. I find the slightly psycho people do the best production.

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post #38 of 55

OK, I completely agree with ED BUCHANAN... its the person, not the school. My school prepared me to work in a crazy kitchen, so my first job in a real kitchen was just another day for me... just slower. However, there are many who came from my school and are completely lost. So, good school or not, it is up to the individual to get all they can out of it.

 

Culinary students have more experience than someone who has never cooked in a professional kitchen before, but their personal skill level will vary. Some you have to walk by the hand and others you can toss into the fire. Some should find a new career. Just don't discount someone because they only have Culinary School experience... you don't know how hard it was for me to get my foot in the door.

post #39 of 55
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #40 of 55

Well two interveiws and tryouts this week, one was a machine and blazed through her tests a J&W grad. Her only problem was one of her tests was to make 6 portions of any kind of dessert, something seasonal and appropriate for our menu, kind of like Iron chef, I was somewhat disappointed in her product but that part of the trail was a suprise. She has great potential, too bad she only wants part time. The second one today took 1.5 hours to make a run of cake batter and a run of icing, we never got to the make anything part of the interview. It was like being stuck behind a person going 45 in a 55 zone and not being able to pass. We might bring her into the bread production but it does not look likely. 2 different culinary school grads 2 totally different results. go figure.

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post #41 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by rat View Post

Well two interveiws and tryouts this week, one was a machine and blazed through her tests a J&W grad. Her only problem was one of her tests was to make 6 portions of any kind of dessert, something seasonal and appropriate for our menu, kind of like Iron chef, I was somewhat disappointed in her product but that part of the trail was a suprise. She has great potential, too bad she only wants part time. The second one today took 1.5 hours to make a run of cake batter and a run of icing, we never got to the make anything part of the interview. It was like being stuck behind a person going 45 in a 55 zone and not being able to pass. We might bring her into the bread production but it does not look likely. 2 different culinary school grads 2 totally different results. go figure.

 

I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir by replying directly to your comment, but I thought you struck on something that I haven't seen talked about much in these threads, so here goes.

 

Schooling only offers the opportunities to learn.  The higher quality the program (staff, hands-on exp, theory, et al), the better the opportunity to learn.  Not every student who graduates from a program (even if it's one of the best programs) will have been able to take full advantage of every opportunity the student had while attending.  Whether it be a simple matter of "chemistry", clicking in with the set-up, or a matter of retention/application, individual results may vary   A diploma from a certain program looks great on a resume, and can open more doors, but ultimately it comes down to the performance, passion, and will of the individual, and not their schooling.  I'm glad you're using stages, and I'm sure you are too. 

 

P.S.  Couldn't agree more with your previous comment about nut cases.  Only those who are willing to give it their all do very well in professional kitchens, and giving it all usually means ones sanity is the first thing to go.  Besides, you can only argue with the confit so many times before it gets the best of you.
 

post #42 of 55

 


Yes, PeteMcCracken, I think that's the only way.  These chefs take educating the next generation very seriously, they know they are the keepers of a way.  It is a shame that this "program" does not have more purchase in America; fine dining would be more affordable and there would be more good cooks.  Why pay thousands to a school when it is possible to get payed to work and live in a M.O.F's brigade?   Sigh...  There are many other reasons why this is the way but I can't find the words.

post #43 of 55

I have a pastry certificate from le Cordon Bleu.  I went to school with 10 years experience in savory because I was unable to find someone willing to give me a chance at baking.  I happily pay my loan payments every month since it was a great stepping stone to my current job.

 

I love this thread!  It details my struggles the past 2 years entirely too well.

I had an experienced non-grad professional who was amazing to work with & I don't think I appreciated him enough.  When he passed away I hired 2 girls within weeks of each other, one a le cordon bleu grad the other with 6 yrs industry experience, both complete flops.  

 

The grad had that sense of entitlement that I don't understand since 3 of our 5 instructors were the same.  She is a pantry cook now. 

The girl whom past employers spoke glowingly of can't tell when cakes are cooked, refuses to leave anything in the oven long enough for it to turn even a little golden brown and bursts into tears when things heat up a little.  Plus when things go wrong she runs to the exec chef and tells him that her training is lacking and I've "never said a word about....."   He is frustrated, I'm frustrated and the twit thinks she needs a raise.  I kept track one month and I trashed more than $170 worth of product.  When I explained that so long as half her work was going into the trash she would get no raise she cried.  There is no place for tears in the professional kitchen >:-{   I started documenting that very day.

 

Whew, enough ranting! 

 

My philosophy from my days on the hot line remains with me.  Shut up and let your work do the talking.  I finally found someone else who lives it, the new girl is amazing, self taught and can crank out prep faster than any non-meth addict should be able to.

post #44 of 55
Thread Starter 

It's been a year and my culinary school grad moved on to a manager's position in a big hotel.  She's doing well, and I can honestly say that I am happy for her. 

 

Someone way up in the posts suggested that I get rid of both of the pastry people and use the young girl who steps in and does a great job. Well since last summer, this girl is the second baker, and I often rely on her when I need something different since asking the primary baker to change her routine makes for a stressful day....for both of us.  The young girl did a 6 inch decorated cutting cake and 100 cupcakes for a wedding we had on Saturday.  While she was setting up the cake table, a guest asked if she had done the cake.  You have never seen a more proud young woman!  It was as if the guest had given her million dollars!

 

I am giving her a raise tomorrow.

post #45 of 55

Lentil, I'm glad to see your second baker is doing so well.  She is the right person for the job and your former employee has found something that better suits her.

 

I have to agree with something that's been mentioned all through this thread and it's the sense of entitlement that most young people seem to have today.  I'm not sure where that comes from but I think it's the parents.  They're afraid (or can't be bothered, don't have the time, etc) to stand up to their kids and teach them to respect others and to work for what they have.  I can tell you that my kids know the value of a dollar and know that they have to work for everything in this world.  They're both getting close to college age now and they know that they are going to have to fund their education.  We will help them in that they can live at home rent free as long as they are in school and we'll feed them etc.. but the cost of school itself is their responsibility.  I'm sure I sound like a hard a** but I want them to think about the choices they make and not waste their time and money doing something they have no interest in.

OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #46 of 55

I save the tears in a little jar. They have qualities similar to the "tears of gypsies".

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bekazu View Post

I have a pastry certificate from le Cordon Bleu.  I went to school with 10 years experience in savory because I was unable to find someone willing to give me a chance at baking.  I happily pay my loan payments every month since it was a great stepping stone to my current job.

 

I love this thread!  It details my struggles the past 2 years entirely too well.

I had an experienced non-grad professional who was amazing to work with & I don't think I appreciated him enough.  When he passed away I hired 2 girls within weeks of each other, one a le cordon bleu grad the other with 6 yrs industry experience, both complete flops.  

 

The grad had that sense of entitlement that I don't understand since 3 of our 5 instructors were the same.  She is a pantry cook now. 

The girl whom past employers spoke glowingly of can't tell when cakes are cooked, refuses to leave anything in the oven long enough for it to turn even a little golden brown and bursts into tears when things heat up a little.  Plus when things go wrong she runs to the exec chef and tells him that her training is lacking and I've "never said a word about....."   He is frustrated, I'm frustrated and the twit thinks she needs a raise.  I kept track one month and I trashed more than $170 worth of product.  When I explained that so long as half her work was going into the trash she would get no raise she cried.  There is no place for tears in the professional kitchen >:-{   I started documenting that very day.

 

Whew, enough ranting! 

 

My philosophy from my days on the hot line remains with me.  Shut up and let your work do the talking.  I finally found someone else who lives it, the new girl is amazing, self taught and can crank out prep faster than any non-meth addict should be able to.

Fluctuat nec mergitur
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post #47 of 55
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by leeniek View Post

Lentil, I'm glad to see your second baker is doing so well.  She is the right person for the job and your former employee has found something that better suits her.

 

I have to agree with something that's been mentioned all through this thread and it's the sense of entitlement that most young people seem to have today.  I'm not sure where that comes from but I think it's the parents.  They're afraid (or can't be bothered, don't have the time, etc) to stand up to their kids and teach them to respect others and to work for what they have.  I can tell you that my kids know the value of a dollar and know that they have to work for everything in this world.  They're both getting close to college age now and they know that they are going to have to fund their education.  We will help them in that they can live at home rent free as long as they are in school and we'll feed them etc.. but the cost of school itself is their responsibility.  I'm sure I sound like a hard a** but I want them to think about the choices they make and not waste their time and money doing something they have no interest in.

Sounds like we're on the same page!  I agree 100% with the entitlement being the parents' fault.  I have a friend who owns a restaruant and he was telling me that he sent a kid home one day for not doing his job- not fired him, but sent him home for the day. That afternoon the mother came in and gave my friend h*ll for being hard on her little darling.  My friend is such a softie!  When I worked for him, I used to tell the kids when he was mad because he never raised his voice. 

 

My kids also are responsible for much of their education.  I have one who's been out of nursing school for 4 years and has taken full responsibility for her student loans and a sophomore in college who has worked 50+ hours a week since school got out in May.  He's a hard worker and has contributed a considerable amount to his tuition.  We wouldn't have it any other way.  I don't want to be paying off student loans when I'm in my 60's! 

 

BTW, I didn't give her a raise today, but told her I'm paying so she can take a series of cake decorating classes.  She is thrilled!
 

post #48 of 55

  I can sooo relate as i insist on pace and multi tasking,yet i have a dipstick apprentice whom insists on hand whipping cream while 3 mixers remain idle cos "it takes the same time"......... oh dear,he just dont get it

I too had a simular application  for an apprentice cook  from a guy in his 30s who worked for years in computers,earning way more $ than me-who claimed he didnt care about the money cos his wife got $400. an hour as a lawyer and he just wanted to do cooking cos he liked it-like sooo many others whom recently watched  the tv series of "master chef".

I didnt hire him as i predicted he wouldnt last when he had no idea of  the low  pay,the long  hours,the preasure cooker enviroment etc........

I find too that here in Australia,the private colleges tell "porky pies" (falsehoods) about the real world to all the overseas students-just to get them enrolled and get their money.............then industry (we) have to deal with it...................

post #49 of 55


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillipo View Post


I find too that here in Australia,the private colleges tell "porky pies" (falsehoods) about the real world to all the overseas students-just to get them enrolled and get their money.............then industry (we) have to deal with it...................


They do that here in Canada too.  Most of the private culinary schools leave out alot of real world details and it isn't until after one enters the real world that it becomes apparent. 

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post #50 of 55


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lentil View Post


 

Sounds like we're on the same page!  I agree 100% with the entitlement being the parents' fault.  I have a friend who owns a restaruant and he was telling me that he sent a kid home one day for not doing his job- not fired him, but sent him home for the day. That afternoon the mother came in and gave my friend h*ll for being hard on her little darling.  My friend is such a softie!  When I worked for him, I used to tell the kids when he was mad because he never raised his voice. 

 

My kids also are responsible for much of their education.  I have one who's been out of nursing school for 4 years and has taken full responsibility for her student loans and a sophomore in college who has worked 50+ hours a week since school got out in May.  He's a hard worker and has contributed a considerable amount to his tuition.  We wouldn't have it any other way.  I don't want to be paying off student loans when I'm in my 60's! 

 

BTW, I didn't give her a raise today, but told her I'm paying so she can take a series of cake decorating classes.  She is thrilled!
 

 

I agree, Lentil  when I'm in my 60s I want to enjoy my life, not have to worry about paying off my kids loans. 

 

I bet your baker is excited!  Having the boss pay to help her improve her skills is as good as if not better than a raise in some cases.  It shows that you value her and that you are willing to invest some money in her to help her improve.

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post #51 of 55

Folks as a former culinary instructor The student either has it in the hands or doesn't. Tha's bottom line. You can show and teach all you want but they have to have it in them. The inborn ability, the will and desire.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #52 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Buchanan View Post

Folks as a former culinary instructor The student either has it in the hands or doesn't. Tha's bottom line. You can show and teach all you want but they have to have it in them. The inborn ability, the will and desire.


 In the late 50's and early 60's I taught French, Italians, Polish and Greeks how to cook straight off the boat before they even learned English but, these kids today they get just enough education to make them dangerous. I would rather someone tell me they did not know than to open their mouth and prove it. With the Europeans If I handed them a 10# bag of split peas they knew what I wanted and if they didn't understand something they would wait until I explained it by showing them, these kids today think they know everything.

post #53 of 55

About twice a year, I get pastry students  for two week "stages" from two schools, around 8 students per year.  So, in the last 3 years I have had opportunity to work with and observe "fresh" students.

 

Final analysis?

 

Everyone is different.   School is NOT a leveler of playing fields 

 

Some have had prior experience and know their way around the kitchen, Some look at me blankly when I give them a dozen apples, a paring knife and two lined tarts.  Some work sloooooooow but,-as a saving grace, don't screw up and are fairly clean, some manage to spread more ganache on the counter when removing ganache from the robot-coupe than they get into the piping bag.  Some I've hired during peak seasons.  One dude put in 750 grams of salt instead of 75 grams salt into a pie dough recipie--he made it twice before under my very eyes.......

...."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 #54 of 55

Hi! I'm currently a culinary student just focusing on pastries and I have to do an internship pretty soon. I was wondering, what should I expect? Am I going to be thrown in and just given a recipe to do? Or have someone to work with? I know each place will be different, but I just wanted to get a general idea, especially from Professionals!

post #55 of 55

 QUOTES "" OK Chef I know ,I graduated CIA,""" ''but thus is the way we did it in school"" '' I did not spend all that money there to do this""  ""But my instructor said''You can't do it that way'' Need I say more????    Now welcome to reality and the real world.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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