Originally Posted by WheresTheBeef
I browsed another forum and a working chef who went to an expensive school recommended to just go to community college and take a course(s) there and not be knee-deep in debt once you're done. I wonder if anyone else feels the same?
For those in the US;
NO! You get exactly what you pay for. If you are going to go to college then go for 4 years at one of the better known schools. Leave with a BA. Every CC in nearly every city across the land thinks they have the greatest culinary program that ever existed. Leave that immediate area and the chances that any one has heard of your school will be slim to none. Maybe less.
IMO there are only a few Culinary programs in the US worth considering.
College is an investment in your future. Never underestimate the value of interviewing for a position that you dearly want and discovering that the person interviewing you is an alumni or finding that some one over seas or on the other side of the country knows the reputation of the school you attended.
I just don't think it can be emphasized enough that you should work at least a year in the field before you enter any culinary program. I can't remember the exact statistic but roughly 60% of all culinary grads will never work a year in the field. There's a few key reasons for that IMO.
One is that many seem to choose the culinary arts as a defacto career choice to appease mom and dad. Those would be the ones that partied like rock stars in HS and took all of the easiest classes or didn't have a great GPA.
Then there is the group that just has done what ever they wanted their whole life and have been spoiled rotten with mom and dad writing the checks for every thing. Many in this group seem to be over achievers in regards to having good grades.
Add the group that thinks its a chic career and think that after school they will magically have their own TV show making the big bucks.
I know that's a bit obtuse but in my experience it is the absolute truth. When you combine the above with all of the students that enter this field with zero experience and add it with those who think that school is just one big party, it's not surprising at all that so many never work a year in the field.
With out question there will be those who disagree with me but here is the way I see it.
If you are going to make the commitment to go to school then make the commitment to go to the best program/college available.
If you are not motivated enough to apply yourself or "Make" it happen then save your $$$ and get a job.
I don't believe I have ever seen a CC graduate make a dollar more at hire than some one with reasonable experience and no degree. While many start at the same wage tier after graduating from the CIA or J&W remember that the top 10-15% of each class will NOT!
IE they will be making more money and be starting in positions with more responsibility than many who did not opt to go to school or went to some generic CC program or cooking school and have several years of experience.
That's the value of a quality program and an internationally known college. With some corporations you will never be on the Executive staff with out a BA.
Irrespective of whether you choose a 2 year program with an associates degree or a 4 year program with a BA make sure you go to an accredited college and not some culinary school that leaves you with a worthless piece of paper and no degree.
If you are not determined to be in the top 10-15% of a major program then IMO you are wasting time and $$$ going to school.
Then again you just might be one of the lucky few that never goes to school and ends up making millions with their own restaurant, TV show etc. If so I'll tip my hat and wish you well.
For the rest a quality education at a reputable college is by far the best option followed by CC or simply working your way up. Just be aware that while the last two save $$$ you will likely earn a lot less $$$ over your career and work harder/longer to get to the same place as a first year college grad.
Again which ever way you go best of luck and Happy Trails!