My first post here, nice to meet you.
I am a 43 year old former cook/sous chef (it's been 15 years). I am (almost certainly) going to be laid off from my current position and am thinking of returning to cooking, but this time focusing on baking and pastry. I'm considering going to a culinary school for a certificate in baking and pastry here in the San Francisco Bay Area, but have not decided which one yet.
I have a few questions that I'd like to ask.
Are there any Bay Area pastry chefs out there? If so, do you have any opinions on the various schools here? I'm considering CCA in SF, le Cordon Bleu in Sacramento, the San Francisco Baking Institute, and even a certificate program at Santa Rosa Community College.
I'm just wondering what you have seen as far as graduates from these schools--were they well prepared, knowledgeable, etc. What did they say about those programs? Hearsay and rumors are welcome. :)
Second question goes out to a broader audience: What is a typical shift for an entry level pastry assistant/cook? I know the salary will be low, but will the shifts be mostly at night? I have kids so evening/night shifts are not feasible; early-early-O'dark thirty morning shifts would be possible, however.