I am new to this site and was referred to this forum by the General thread.
Basically, I am thinking of attending a Culinary School this coming fall, and I just have a list of questions here that I would like to ask those of you who have gone through, and graduated, a Culinary School.
I don't know if this matters or not, but the school I'm thinking about taking the Culinary course in is George Brown College that's located in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. If any of you have gone to the chef school here, or you just have heard some interesting things about it (good or bad), please don't hesitate to inform me any information you may have about this school.
Now for the questions;
1. What can I expect the environment to be like at Chef School? That is, is it a very stressful atmosphere to be working in? Or is there at least some aspect of "fun" involved?
2. What can I expect the teachers to be like? I was at an information session earlier this month, and one of the teachers seemed really to be enjoying his job, and a career in being a chef. Obviously, the atmosphere has a certain level of professionalism to it, but I need a teacher that is involved enough to make me be the best Chef that I can be. Do they take cooking to be over-the-top serious? Or do they have some level of letting you enjoy cooking for what it is?
3. What can I expect my classmates to be like? Generally, do culinary students straight out of high school have some level of professionalism about doing well in the course and learning as much as they can? Or are most of them going to be idiots (class clowns)?
4. I need something to be passionate about. I went to University for three years after high school, took pretty much every "General Arts" course that was offered, and still was not passionate about anything. I'm at the end of my rope when it comes to finding my passion in life, and I really need the next course I'm going to take at a college to motivate me enough so that I can have immense passion in that field. How many of you culinary students (past and present), were immediately passionate about cooking during your time taking the course? How easily is it to be passionate about cooking? How many of you were not passionate about cooking while taking the course?
5. Dishwashing. How much dishwashing am I going to be doing?
6. How much stress am I going to be under? I've read in some places that becoming a chef is one of the worst jobs to be in because the stress is almost overwhelming everyday at work. How much stress am I going to be under at Chef School? How much stress am I going to be under after becoming a Chef?
7. Career-wise, what can I expect, should I take the course for however many years it takes and then do an apprenticeship, after its all done? Is it one of those things where its going to be a while before I actually have a steady income? Or is it a good pay straight off the bat? How much do Chefs usually end up making? I'm not talking about TV Chefs, just ordinary Chefs that have graduated from culinary school and all that.
8. I have worked in my share of restaurants over my life, (always as a dishwasher - hence my concern in question 5), and in every single restaurant, the cooks are always cigarette smokers. Always! Cooking is not one of those jobs that has so much stress that I'm going to have to start smoking, is it?
9. Should I go to this school and realize that I want to become a Chef as a full-time career path, I want it to be fun. I'm not talking every day I wake up and am excited about going to work, but I need some sort of aspect of fun in the job if I'm going to make it into a career. Are there at least some aspects of becoming a Chef that are fun?
10. Is there anything else that I should know about culinary school, or becoming a Chef as a career?
11. During the aforementioned info session, the main teacher said that chefs travel a lot. Is this true? I would love to take cooking to Europe or elsewhere, as I find (through watching cooking shows) that the training is way more intense and way more fun on "the other side of the pond".
If I have more questions, I'll just add them onto the list.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Edited by kungfulincoln - 4/28/11 at 9:40am