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George Brown & Looking for Reviews/Advice

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm new to the forum and am glad to have found a place to look around for information on cooking, baking and culinary experience.

I've worked and trained as a graphic designer and illustrator and am now looking to attend culinary school as cooking/baking has long been another passion and I've wanted to own and run my own bakeshop one day.

I saw this section and thought I'd ask about George Brown College in Toronto. I am a California native looking to attend school in Toronto for fall of next year. I was told about George Brown College a month or so ago when I asked about culinary schools and programs on another discussion board (unrelated to cooking/baking) in that greater Toronto area. Looking to be near or in downtown Toronto since that's where most of the resources are and transportation options are central (I wouldn't have a car in the city as an international student).

Does anyone know much about this school and their pastry programs? I have since contacted someone from the school about which program is best for my needs. They recommended the Baking and Pastry Arts Management program which is a 2 year diploma program.

My goals is to not only attend school in the Toronto area, but to find work there eventually so that I can make the transition to living and working there in the food industry and hopefully starting a bakery. I know that requires me to get sponsored work in the area at some point.

I began earlier this year "starting" a bakery here in Los Angeles which simply means I have completed all of the paperwork to establish my business name as an LLC. I was going to open up the bakery here. I also became SafeServ certified. I don't know if that means much in Canada or if there's something equivalent there that would recognize my SafeServ status.

I must also mention that I am self-taught as a baker and a cook (cakes/cupcakes, buttercream icings, bars/brownies, cookies, pies and so forth). I don't have any professional experience in a commercial kitchen or as a professional baker/pastry chef. So I know I need some professional experience in a commercial setting and professional training. I was hoping that attending culinary school will help me to get my foot in the door, learn the necessary skills to become a competent professional pastry chef and to get some experience through academic networks working in a commercial kitchen setting...before I officially launch running a bakeshop.

The program that was recommended to me is supposed to train students in the pastry arts while teaching them business skills for business ownership or food managerial positions.

If anyone has any reviews on George Brown, any other schools and pastry programs in/near the down Toronto area or general advice on making the transition into culinary school, I'd be ever so grateful for the help. :)
post #2 of 16
George brown have a much better Full time calendar for culinary skills than part time.

i was contemplating them, but have since chosen liaison instead.
post #3 of 16
GBC has a great program for pastry as well as Culinary Management. I know a few of the instructors personally and they're very good at what they do and love teaching. I'm a graduate of George Brown as well and went on to do the Italian program offered there. The other major school in the area is Humber College but that's not right in the city core. Humber has produced some very good students that we've had on externships and then hired as full time employees. I went to Humber to do my CCC and was very impressed with the facilities and faculty.
There are two very good schools to choose from. Let us know what you decide to do.
Mick
post #4 of 16
Hey guys. I actually graduated from George Brown. The chefs there are amazing. Some of the most personable, funny helpful and talented people I have had the pleasure of meeting. There are also quite a few that are quite well connected in the Toronto chef scene. There were renovations going on when I was there so our classes were shuffled around quite a bit initially and our freaking simulation restaurant course got CANCELLED. I mean one of the biggest fears of a student is entering a professional kitchen for the first time and I assume this course was intended to ease our troubled minds. Anyways that aside the school is great. It's located right downtown, close to one of the main markets and right in the hustle and bustle of Toronto. I am sure the new simulation restaurant is fantastic. If you decide against George Brown there are other schools in the area, but I heard that Humber is quite good as well, but like ItalChef said it is not located in the city core.

Good luck with your decision.
post #5 of 16
Hi Airo -
I am having trouble posting to you. DK why! Anyway, I currently take 3 PT courses at GB School of Hospitality. Great institution. Perhaps you could manage finding one or more PT (i.e. Continuing Education) classes & stay in Toronto a 2-3 months to try it out, meet students, talk to chefs and teachers. Also, many first year courses are applicable to the Chefs Culinary Program and the Baking Arts Program. And then you can slip into the Full Time Program easily.
Ask any questions you have. Course calendars are online for Full Time and for Part Time.
Twotoos,
Toronto
post #6 of 16
Hi Airo --
This time the post went through. I also wanted to say that I am in GBC's new Artisan Bread Certificate Program. The teacher -- Chef Jennifer D'Souza -- has a magic touch for breads and also is a good classroom teacher.
The other program I'm in is the Tea Sommelier Certificate program.

Again -- email me specific questions if you have them.

Patricia (twotoos)
post #7 of 16
I was in George Brown for a short time (nursing, did not like that so well, lol) and have since decided to go with the pastry program. I am hoping to get in for Fall 2010. While I don't know about the culinary programs personally, I have a Chef friend that told me it is one of the best in Canada. I have really only heard good things. I couldn't apply to any other schools because I need to be in the city as well since I have a 5 year old I need to stay nearby, so I understand your concern about making sure you are in the city.

Humber is quite far, in my opinion, so I didn't even apply,( though I am quite worried about only having one option program-wise) and I hadn't heard a thing about any others around here, so to me, if I haven't heard a thing about them, they probably aren't worth it. I am not from here originally though so I guess it is entirely possible I just missed something. ;)
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi,

Sorry for the late reply, but thanks to everyone who responded. I have since been accepted to both George Brown's Pastry Arts and Baking Management program (2 year program) and Pacific Institute of Culinary Art's Pastry Arts and Baking program in Vancouver (6 month program).

Now, I am currently trying to decide on which school to move forward with. Essentially, both programs are different. Again, the one in Vancouver is a 6 month program without the extra focus on business management that GB's programs implies training for.

I am definitely undecided and am confused as to which program to go with, in the window of time that I have to decide.

As I wrote before, my goal is to train as a pastry chef, but my long term vision is to one day run and operate my own brick and mortar bakeshop, so not only do I want to become competent as a trained pastry chef, but I also want to get some business sense in too, both through training and experience.

Anyone have any advice or any further experience with either campus or program?
post #9 of 16
Airo- when did you get accepted? I applied to the same program, but I was late doing so- so I am not sure when I will find out if I was accepted or not.

As for the two different programs- if you are really looking to eventually open your own bakeshop, I would think the GB program would be better. Not to mention, the GB program includes skills classes all through the 2 years as well as the final semester as a externship. So you would get a lot more experience and practice in the long run. I looked into both as well, but there is no way they can squish as much into 6 months, even if you exclude the business aspect of the gbc program. That was just my view on it though. Good luck with whatever you decide!
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keirelle View Post

Airo- when did you get accepted? I applied to the same program, but I was late doing so- so I am not sure when I will find out if I was accepted or not.

As for the two different programs- if you are really looking to eventually open your own bakeshop, I would think the GB program would be better. Not to mention, the GB program includes skills classes all through the 2 years as well as the final semester as a externship. So you would get a lot more experience and practice in the long run. I looked into both as well, but there is no way they can squish as much into 6 months, even if you exclude the business aspect of the gbc program. That was just my view on it though. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Hi Keirelle,

Well, I recently got a letter in the mail saying that I need to take some math and English assessment tests for classes, however I have been to another college where I have a large history of math and English courses, so I sent OCAS a second transcript from another college. George Brown should be getting that evaluation and second transcript within 5-10 days, I was told.

Otherwise, today is the deadline for booking an assessment test. I haven't because I am waiting for the evaluation to see if I can become exempt. I don't want to have to fly out to Toronto just to take tests that I could possibly be exempt from if I can help it. I've taken so many English and math courses in the past so they should work in my favor, I am thinking.

So, this is where I'm at in the admissions process. I was told that this stage means that I've already been accepted.

Where are you at in the admissions stage? Did you have to book an assessment test, too? I got two letters in the mail. The first one was to say that my application had been received through OCAS. At that point, in the letter, I was assigned a student ID number and password for STU-VIEW on George Brown's website, to check up on my admissions status and other related stuff.

The second email I got, a week ago, was to explain further above...the testing...and about requirements for classes.

When did you apply? I applied around mid-late January.


post #11 of 16
I applied around the same time. I have gone to George Brown before for nursing, and I did the testing then, so maybe I don't have to do it again? That said, I applied to nursing again this time (I don't know why, I don't want to do it, lol) and they sent me a letter for the testing right away.. so I don't know. I also applied to the culinary management nutrition course- just because I could apply for a few programs for te cost, so I did, and I found out this morning I got into that- but I haven't heard a thing about the baking program so I am starting to get a little worried.

I did get my student number info though, but nothing about the proram I actually really want to get in to. 
post #12 of 16

Hi.. my name is Virali, I am from India.. I wanted to join the GBC Bakery & Pastry Managment Prog (2yrs full time). Hows the course? do they offer egg substitues as i am a pure vegeterian and want to open an eggless bakery. I really want to learn how to make eggless exotic deserts. Does anybody know the proffessor of George Brown who can guide me with eggless baking. Thank you. ur reply will be of great help.

post #13 of 16

hey I read a few of these comments and there is a lot of good info.  My conundrum is which course to take id also like to end up in California at some point.  So best if it is internationally recognized which I believe most are now a days.   ok my choices are:

 

Culinary Management

Pastry Chef course

Italian Chefs course
 

keep in mind id love to run my own kitchen but preferably one day in my own restaurant, id love to travel too and owning a bakery sounds good too when im older say in cali...also keep in mind im 30 now

 

so maybe culinary management and then a pastry course in France or something....i don no cant decided help!!

post #14 of 16

Known a lot of people not satisfied with george brown, but have also heard good things about their apprenticeship program from chefs who went there a long time ago 


Edited by nickstacey1987 - 2/7/13 at 8:37pm
post #15 of 16

I attended George Brown and ive worked with chefs from humber CIC cenntennial ect ect,,,, but its all what you make it after schools done you learn more then every before and alot of chefs are self taught and have good sucessfull careers so its really dose not matter too much a good rep is a good rep but its what your make out of it that counts

post #16 of 16
Hey, I'm new to the forum. I'm going to be starting at George Brown in September, I'll be enrolled in the Culinary Management- Nutrition program. Any reviews on the college and program would be helpful.

Thanks
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