My name is Marcos, and I'm a recent high school graduate. I'm currently attending a local state college just taking general ed classes, and have been considering whether I want to waste 2-3 years of time getting my A.A. in that time. I'm considering culinary school as an option. Don't get me wrong I'm not just trying to take the easy way out of schooling, I do love culinary and have been surrounded by it my whole life.
I discovered my talent in culinary arts in high school through the culinary academy that I was a part of for all 4 years of high school; we had an in depth program recognized by Prostart, SkillsUSA, and provided gourmet food at affordable prices for teachers,school staff, and catered to school events. I acquired a basic knowledge of culinary, baking, knife skills, sanitation(I'm Safestaff and Servsafe cert.) and expoditing.
My family also has a small restaurant background, and my mother has been a private cook for many rich families.
I've worked in the restaurant business now for about a year and a half as a host at The Yard House, I've been recently promoted to the expo line. I'm used to the high capacity/high turnout rate of a restaurant of this magnitude and I'm loving it. I have no problem with working in FOH or in HOH, as i'm acquiring a base knowledge of all aspects of the restaurant industry(somewhere down the road all that experience will be usefull). I'm currently trying to find a position as a prep/line cook anywhere that will take me just for the basic experience.
Culinary is something I love, and its something I see myself doing as a career. Yes, I do know of the real side of "The Life" and I see it still as a posiblity. Especially that I live in South Florida a hotspot for restaurants and their quality.
I've been wondering what would be the best path to get to my goal. Culinary school is one option; if I go soon I can be a graduate by the time I'm 21 or 22( I'm 18 turning 19 in December). I am aware that I will not be a head chef, or exec chef upon graduation, and that I have to work my way to it, but what job do you not have to work to the top right? Having a culinary degree would help fine tune my skills and set me apart from others. I will be working in the industry while in school; so I will be having hands on experience while going to school.
Some of the schools i've been looking into are: Le Cordon Bleu Orlando/Miami, Johnson & Wales Miami, or Art institute of Fort Lauderdale.
Another option of mine was to work in the industry full time for the 2-3 years it will take me to get my A.A. and go to culinary school after. The A.A. is an option for me just in case the culinary world isnt for me, and I can just transfer to another school to pursue another degree. But I could always get the A.A. after culinary school and the time would be just like if I went to a traditional 4-year college with not much of my life "wasted"
All together I don't plan on being in the kitchen my whole life by branching out into the business side of the culinary world as well.
I have a question for you culinarians. What do you think is my best option to get where I'm going? How do my two options sound? Any comments to add on? Does anybody have experience with the schools I listed?