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Culinary degrees from Community Colleges

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Hello fellow culinarians,
I wanted to start this post in order to collect info for those who are in the process of choosing schools. There are so many things to know before you choose a school. I am looking for advice from those who have already gone to a community college or city college. What classes are missing from these programs? How good are the baking classes (if any)? Will you learn how to make the mother sauces? How good are the externship sites for graduates? Etc. Etc.


:chef:
post #2 of 33
I have gone to a city college. Baking classes were HORRIBLE. We learned to make the mother sauces, and learned the hierarchy of sauces once for a test. Ask any student to name them, they won't be able to. Not sure about externships yet, they don't seem to be too bad although I have to find my own due to politics (don't ask).

Overall, I can say that my college caters to the lowest common denominator. Not much is expected from students and it's easy to get A's in all your subjects.

HOWEVER:

1. I bet there are similar complaints coming from those who have gone to 'ivy league' schools.

2. My education has been an introduction of sorts and has invited me to further investigate things which I might not have otherwise. I have also gained a lot from my conversations with some of the teachers.
post #3 of 33

well...let me say this

having gone to an "Ivy League" school and teaching at a publicly funded community college both types of schools have both good and bad attributes.

Community colleges are more accesible to the masses,while those "Ivy League" ones are huge $$$

Private institutions can and usually are far more disciplined then community colleges

The bottom line is that you only get out of either what you put into it and graduation from either "Ivy League" or public Community College does not make you a Chef!
and just remember.....no matter where you go...there you are!!
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and just remember.....no matter where you go...there you are!!
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post #4 of 33
Thread Starter 
Do you think it is a good enough education for someone who wants to become a personal chef? Since we do not get to work with the best of ingredients, do you think it will be harder to create gourmet cuisine later on? These are some of my dilemmas right now and you all have been very helpful. I see seeral other students asking these questions and I think we should keep this thread going with input from everyone.


:bounce: :bounce: :chef:
post #5 of 33
It's fine for private cheffing.

I don't think too many schools deal with foie gras on a daily basis. If you need to know foie gras, your chef will teach you exactly what he wants when you're out in the industry. (that is, if he lets anyone near it!)

Even if you plan to be a private chef, you should get industry exposure first...
post #6 of 33
I have to disagree with the industry experience thing. My wife has industry experience and does not work in the industry other than to help out with marketing and administration of my personal chef business. After years of slaving in the insurance and finance fields I honed my skills in my own kitchen and threw dinner parties for friends to test out recipes i created. I then went to the US Personal Chef Institute and graduated at the top of the class. It is fine for some chefs to work in the industry if that is what they want to do, but for me the decision was a no-brainer. I wanted the immediacy and the control. Also, I did not want to make someone esle rich off of my hard work. On a daily basis I get feedback and specific details about individual clients which makes my cooking all the more customized to their needs. I hear time and again that I am just what they were looking for and they feel good knowing what goes into their meals is not only good for them but incredibly delicious as well. Each time I cook the meals are different and there are no specials. Plus the recipes I create are for the most part exclusives and no other chef has them: Bulgur wheatballs in orange basil tomato sauce,
Tofu Nuggets with sweet and sour sauce over jasmine rice, Creamy corn miso soup served with mini crabcakes with tarragon dijon sauce, Vegetarian "fajitas" served with Southwestern Corn Salsa, Non-Dairy Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna Roll-Ups served with Vegan Caesar Salad.

Try getting that in a restaurant!
post #7 of 33
Bet you could get that type of food at Real Food Daily in Santa Monica, CA! I had the most incredible vegan meal there last October. (Might have posted about it in the Restaurant Raves board.) But, yes, places like that are few and far between.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #8 of 33

Community College

I have some of the similar questions. I am now looking into a community college in Asheville, NC. They have a program specific to Baking and Pastry and I was wondering how this school would compare to the IVY league. I am not looking to become the head honcho, so my thinking is this program would suit me just fine. Am I right to assume that. Any advice would be greatful.
post #9 of 33
Depends on the context of the program. Also what exactly do you want out of this. What are your career aspirations? Tell me what JC is it and if it has a link to your program. I'd love to see it. If you can afford it, look into a culinary school that has a specific B&P program. Try CIA Greystone. I hear they have a good one.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #10 of 33
Jeff..... from what I know, the Greystone campus is for continuing education, not the entire program.

And for those of you who feel you are too poor to attend a high dollar school, I can tell you that I am about as poor as they come and that makes it all the better when the Gov't is concerned. I am getting almost all of my tuition PAID for, which only leaves me with room/board, and books and uniforms. That has been just about covered by Stafford loans, so I only need to borrow a small amount from an outside lender. I went to salliemae.com, and their interest rate is about the lowest on the market, and 80% of the applicants recieve loans.

Ciao....soup
post #11 of 33
I'm about a month away from finishing a program at one of hthe Community Colleges here in the Phoenix area. I've been very pleased with the program and really think considering the whole program - including books, uniforms and supplies- cost me less than $4000 I've received a really good value for the money I spent.

Not all programs are created equal. The one I'm in is focused around two restaurants - a lunch room and dinner room. First semester is lunch service, second dinner service. We are broken into three rotations and rotate through them each semester: Bakery, Hot Foods, and Garde Manger/Dining Room Service. All of my chefs have had at least 15 years professional experience, all have had Exec Chef experience from many of the top resorts and restaurants here in town. Several are CIA graduates and many have trained in Europe extensively. One of the best things to me si that the student-chef ratio is always below 10-1. Right now in my group we are 7-1.

They are upfront in our program to tell you you will not be any sort of "chef" when you finish. The goal of the program is to give you the skills to go out in the industry and be a top notch cook in any sort of establishment. Quality skills and the abillity to keep up in a real world environment is emphasied. Everything is hands-on everyday. I had no experience whatsoever coming into this program and last spring placed at the top here in AZ in a competition...this took me to the National level competition where I placed 7th. I was pleased with this and know much had to do with the quality of teaching I was receiving.

We've studied and made all the mother sauces and many derivatives. The menus are designed with this in mind. We've had lots of hands on chacuterie experience. I knew nothiing about baking coming into this...I'll admit this had been the part of the program I'd like to see improved. On the Hot Foods side we receive instruction not just on the how but the why. In both bakery rotations we received a lot of how instruction but not much why. I would have preferred more on this....that said I have learned how to many techniques and become comfortable doing most that is asked for....but I don't fully undertsand the chemistry involved in baking. But there are definitely continuing education opportunities I can pursue, excellent books to read, or find employment in a bakeshop and further my educaiton in this area if I decide that's where my interests might be.

Picking a school is a personal choice. I'm in my mid 30's with one college education behind me...I didn't want to go into debt to learn this. I will be starting my Master's in Nutrition next year to combine iwth my AAS in Cul Arts....for my goals this option worked out fine and now that I'm at the end I have no regrets. Before choosing a school(there are several here in town) I went out and talked to local chefs about which schools they liked to hire from and why. I was consistently told that the program I am in was well-respected, they loved to hire graduates, and for the money, from the programs here in town I coudln't beat what they were offering.

Good luck in your decision making process and your future! :)
post #12 of 33

What School Do I Choose?

I recently retired (medically) from 10 years active duty in the army. I am now looking to futher my education. Funding shouldn't be too much of a problem. My big concern is I want to hear opinions on advantages and disadvantages concerning academics between Le Cordon Bleu at Brown College in Minnesota and CIA Hyde Park Campus. The cost of each school for an associates degree without lodging is about the same. I have been asking around and people have been telling me to go with Le Cordon Bleu. They say that CIA graduates have "attitudes". I believe this is the person, not the school. I should add that I truly desire a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts and Le Cordon Bleu doesn't offer this. Please give any opinion you have. All are welcome.
post #13 of 33

Re: What School Do I Choose?

Minnesota isn't the only LCB school in the US (if that's what you're looking for). There are sveral that you can check out here. They do have B&P as part of their overall program. It's just not covered in detail. If you're deciding between those two alone, go with CIA.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #14 of 33
P.S. :

What school are you attending now, ziggy?
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #15 of 33
Scottsdale Comm College
post #16 of 33

Re: What School Do I Choose?

Go to the CIA.

Kuan
post #17 of 33

LA trade tech

Has anyone heard anything about the LA trade tech culinary program? thanks!
post #18 of 33
PM me and I will tell you what I know about LATTC.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #19 of 33
Just tell us. Don't be afraid to speak your mind :)

Kuan
post #20 of 33

Oui Monsieur Kuan

Ok. Aside from knowing a couple of graduates (one I went to school with 6-12 grade), I grew up not too far away from the campus. Their program is excellent and the instructors seem very knowledgeable. I did take a tour when I was visiting my sister in Hawthorne. I like how the program is structured. One gripe I do have (some, ok most, don't seem to mind) is that there isn't enough time on B&P. I am one that does mind. Even though I prefer the savory side of this biz, I still want a thorough understanding of baking and pastry principles. One of the people I know was a sous chef at Ago(last I spoke with him) and the other works here in Las Vegas with me. She's the PM saucier. They seem to know their stuff. So if you are considering LATTC, you won't go wrong by attending. :)


PS: It won't cost nearly as much as Art Institute of Los Angeles!!!
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #21 of 33
Oh I forgot.

In case you didn't see their website click here for the curriculum.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #22 of 33
Tasbury.....The CIA has just added a few more entry dates for the Baking and Pastry Arts program....not sure how many that makes now, but they've upped it from 8... Now i'm not real sure of the cirriculum, as I am enrolled in the Culinary Arts degree, but if is as thorough as the one i'm in it will be well worth the money spent. The facilities and Chef-Instructors are first rate, the campus is incredible, and they will be with you throughout your career.....there are alumni all across the U.S. and abroad, so if you ever want to relocate, even to another country, they will help you. I did a lot of research before applying to a school, and once I visited there was only one school I applied to.
post #23 of 33
I believe they're up to 16 entry dates per year. :eek: I had taken a look once for my wife (who's into baking & pastry). But she doesn't see the point in spending $40k+ to get a two-year degree. Boy did that start a debate in this house. I am a firm believer in "you get what you pay for". Sure, anyone can get a degree from a CC. But again, I think some schools are better than others. Back to B&P. Their certificate program at Greystone is rumored to be good too.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #24 of 33
If you go to a mediocre community college program and work at a really reputable restaurant you will probably get more out of it than those who just attend a top notch school.
When you look at job ads for executive chefs or sous chef and they expect a culinary degree. They're not specifying CIA or a local community college.
It all basically boils down to how you apply yourself.

ps my chef laughs at me when I tell him i paid for my school (35k @csca) and insisted that I just go to a good community college program.

Is San Rafael a 30 min drive from SF or Napa Valley?
Protect the animals. Eat an activist
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Protect the animals. Eat an activist
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post #25 of 33
He's laughing to console himself. :D One day you may be his boss. As long as you loved your experience there who cares what he thinks (or does)........
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #26 of 33
BTW it's San Francisco.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #27 of 33
vzank......for me going to a mediocre community college just wont cut it. I was looking for a well-rounded program involving the teaching of several different cuisines, as well as a thorough cirriculum of management classes. As far as working in a reputable restaurant goes, I agree with you.....I plan on working the entire time i'm in school. The way I see it is that if i'm going to spend any money on school I might as well make it worth the time and money I put into it. I've looked through the course cirriculum from some of the local community colleges here, and, like Jeff said......you get what you pay for. It seems to me to be a waste of money. The program i'm in covers many facets of the industry, and the campus facilities are top notch...IMO it's worth every dime......all 875,000 of them. Ya the thought of spending that much on school gives me that deer-in-headlights look.....but what the h#ll.......i'll be in debt the rest of my life for one thing or another, why not spend it on a great education.
post #28 of 33
I'm a firm believer in a well rounded education. I also believe that some states have unsatisfactory criteria for what constitutes a well rounded education. Many culinary schools tend to neglect subjects such as Chemistry, Physics, Anthropology, and Mathematics. It's not just an education in culinary arts, it's education for life. Think about it before you choose to go 35k in debt.

Community colleges, on the other hand, are more geared toward providing you with a more diverse education. So, instead of learning how to make pasta, you learn the latin roots for the names of pasta. Ever wonder why a chiffon cake is called a chiffon cake?

There are some community colleges which have an extremely good culinary program. Don't get blinded by all that glitzy, fancy sugarwork you see at those "ivy-league" culinary schools. Widen your options and don't invest your education dollars in "potential."

Kuan
post #29 of 33
I hear what you're saying, Kuan. A well rounded education is important as well. I've done general eds in school already. I want to get out of this CC!! yeah they have a culinary program but I'm not so sure it's right for me. I get conflicting statements from the culinary faculty at the CC as to which avenue's better. CC or culinary school. I believe it's a personal choice, 100%! Sure, every school is gonna say "Come here and learn from the best". Puhleeze. Spare me. Yes, part of me was thinking, "What would I be getting for $31k at SCI that I won't get at my CC?" There's has to be something they offer a CC can't, right? Tell me I'm right????

:confused: :crazy:
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #30 of 33
Well, if you're going to SCI, then yeah, of course! SCI is an awesome school. I hope your credits transfer, at least some of them. :)

Kuan
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