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Culinary School? what school and what program????

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Im 26 years old and Im want to go to culinary school. I have no experience and thinking of volunteering @ a soup kitchen to get some, plus I want to get more involved in giving back to the community. I was looking into the The Culinary Institute of America A.S. Degree 21 months and The French Culinary Institute Diploma 6 months. I want to be a head chef one day and learn as much as possible from great chefs. I heard that you learn more through work then you do @ school. So I want to know is it necessary to get my A.S. or can I just get a diploma and move up the ranks with that? I want to become a sous chef in at least 4 to 5 years and a head chef in 5-7, does that sound about right? I would love to hear from people with industry experience.

post #2 of 6

DO NOT GO TO CULINARY SCHOOL. Sorry did I shout that? Seriously don't go. Go work at a restaurant for a minimum of a year. Realize what the business requires (numerous long hours, weekends, nights) and then see if you want to go. Culinary school is fun but it is not reality and you need a serious dose of reality.

 

The CIA will set you back almost $60,000 for a two year associates degree. Would you want to be sure this is really what you want to do before you drop that kind of time and cash?

 

Working for a great chef for 2 years you can probably learn as much and much more practical things. If you want to specialize in a particular area that you don't see with the chef your working for take an intensive class. For example you might work for a great chef but not do a lot of sausage making and you would like to. There are week long intensives where you can learn the art of sausage making.

 

First see if you want to go to school. The life of a chef as many of us will attest is not very family friendly and not at all glamorous like the food channels would have you believe. Just because you love to cook and are a good cook does not mean you will be a good fit for the food industry.

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Nicko 
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
post #3 of 6

What Nicko said!.....Go work in the industry, it's not as rosy as the food channel paints it to be.

How are you going to live on maybe $12 hr as a line cook and pay back that $60 grand you just spent on school?

Doesn't sound very appetizing, does it? Read, Read, Read through this forum, you will see the same answers over and over again.

 

Ask any of the well seasoned chef's on this or any other forum weather they would hire an un-papered cook with five years of well rounded line experience or a fresh meat grad with a shiny diploma that says he is a chef.

Sure you may learn the theory behind lots of things, but the non schooled cook has done it 100's of times. You can't learn in a classroom what you learn in a real kitchen.

 

I went to school 30+ yrs ago, was working at a small french bistro at night, learned way more at work than I ever did at school, and I got paid to do it.

In 30 years, no employer has ever asked to see my diploma. A few have grilled me on it, that's it.

You will always get further, faster in this industry on experience. hard work and a good reputation.

Chef's and restaurant owners are not knocking down the doors of culinary schools looking for the next grad to run or help run their operation.

Read, Read, Read.

post #4 of 6

What are do you live in? There is a good program in Sacramento that you might want to look into. Its a community college program so it would be way cheaper. You could do the AA program or get a certificate. Im currently doing this program and I love it. Let me know if you might be interested and ill send you more information.

post #5 of 6

El Pollo Loco, Inc. announced today that it has created a new executive management position, 'Senior Vice President of Strategy and Innovation,' to leverage innovation throughout the organization in the development of new products, processes and technology, as well as align resources around the Company's key initiatives.

Rising to the challenge of the newly created position is Joe Stein, who has served as the Company's Chief Financial Officer for more than six years. As Senior Vice President of Strategy and Innovation, Stein will develop and implement an innovation stream across El Pollo Loco and formulate best practices in innovation management-- helping to ensure that El Pollo Loco continues to stay on top of consumer and industry trends to maintain its role as a leader in the fast-casual segment.

El Pollo Loco has hired restaurant industry executive Gary Campanaro to fill the senior finance role as Chief Financial Officer. Campanaro, who most recently served as Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Claim Jumper Restaurants Holdings Corp., will provide overall leadership for the financial, purchasing, quality assurance and risk management areas of El Pollo Loco. His experience also includes senior management positions at several other companies, including: The Keith Companies, Inc. in Irvine, CA, CB Richard Ellis in Los Angeles, CA, and CKE Restaurants, Inc. in Anaheim, CA.
 

post #6 of 6

Maybe the restructuring will prevent future episodes of pulling up stakes and disappearing overnight as they recently did in Porterville, CA. Oh, they did leave a note on the door so employees would know where to find their ending paychecks!

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
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