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graduate degree

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I have a BA in Graphic Design, but have chosen to seriously pursue the culinary field over the last few years. Professionally, I have about a year's experience as a baker / asst. pastry chef, and am about 5 months in to being a line cook (saute/fry). My end goal is to be a pastry chef and own my own bakery/cafe (I kinda got suckered into the line cook job and am learning a lot, figured it would help round out my experience — plus I love where I work!). I'm also still doing desserts at the restaurant where I'm on the line.

 

I was thinking about going to culinary school as my next step, probably a community college program, or otherwise doing an apprenticeship. But it doesn't look like that's in the cards for me right now. I'm learning tons on the job, and am happy to continue to build my knowledge and experience that way.

 

I have the opportunity to start a small pastry/dessert business with another pastry chef friend of mine, and I think we're going to go for it and see where it takes us. We have a third partner who is very business minded, as well.

 

However, I'm thinking that a graduate degree would probably really help me in my end goal. What sort of degree should I go for, though? Should I look into an MBA? Or try to find a restaurant/hospitality management master's? The latter seems to be few and far between, and my impression was that most MBA programs expect you to have a few years of industry experience...

 

Any thoughts or opinions would be wonderful. Thanks!

post #2 of 4

How would a graduate degree help you achieve your "end goal"?

 

Answering that question will not only define whether you need it as well as what kind of degree will be most helpful.

 

Will it help you in your relationship with your partners?

 

You appear to be embarking on a craft or trade career, what will be the advantage of a graduate degree?

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Well, I completely agree in that the cooking and creative side of things is certainly a craft, and one that I will only improve upon through experience and practice. 

 

My concern is in the running of a business. I know that running a restaurant (or bakery, etc.) is an extremely complex undertaking, and I'm thinking that some sort of education in business or management would help a lot. I just don't know what exactly would apply to restaurant ownership, since they don't have a "restaurateur" masters. And, since I already have my BA, I figured a masters is the next logical step, rather than getting another BA...

 

I understand that many (most, probably) restaurant owners and owner-chefs don't have formal education in business, but I think it would be something to consider, and was wondering if anyone else out there has any experience with or opinions on this sort of thing.

 

I also do think it will help me in my endeavor with my partners (not necessarily the relationship), as well as any future endeavors. I understand organizations like the Small Business Bureau are more likely to give support if you have a business / management education; I suppose it gives you a better chance of success?

post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubiarubia View Post

Well, I completely agree in that the cooking and creative side of things is certainly a craft, and one that I will only improve upon through experience and practice. 

 

My concern is in the running of a business. I know that running a restaurant (or bakery, etc.) is an extremely complex undertaking, and I'm thinking that some sort of education in business or management would help a lot. I just don't know what exactly would apply to restaurant ownership, since they don't have a "restaurateur" masters. And, since I already have my BA, I figured a masters is the next logical step, rather than getting another BA...

Basic knowledge of business law, business finance, business accounting, and personnel management can definitely be advantageous. Whether a degree, be it BA, MA, or even a PhD, would be advantageous is another question that is highly dependent on your long term goals.

 

If you plan on moving out of the cooking aspects and into the management of the business as contrasted to the creative side, the degree path begins to have merit. On the other hand, management can always be hired wink.gif.

 

IMHO, a degree is of more value when dealing with those who do not know you or when working in the corporate/academic world. Knowledge and experience is of more value when actually working rather than managing. The knowledge necessary to run one restaurant is fairly simple to acquire, the knowledge to run a restaurant empire may be a little more difficult, again, remember, you can always hire lawyers, accountants, HR managers as well as cooks and even chefs!

 

Quote:

I understand that many (most, probably) restaurant owners and owner-chefs don't have formal education in business, but I think it would be something to consider, and was wondering if anyone else out there has any experience with or opinions on this sort of thing.

 

I also do think it will help me in my endeavor with my partners (not necessarily the relationship), as well as any future endeavors. I understand organizations like the Small Business Bureau are more likely to give support if you have a business / management education; I suppose it gives you a better chance of success?

If you do pursue the degree path, I would suggest some form of marketing rather than management, IMHO, the successful restauranteurs are masters at marketing, it is not how great the food is, it is how well you convince others that it is good!

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
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