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Culinary vs Baking and Pastry

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I've just been accepted to the Johnson and Wales Garnish Your Degree program for culinary arts. It's for people that already have a bachelors degree and want a culinary education. I've been changing my mind a lot between culinary and baking and pastry. I'm interested in both and am looking for advice from people who have had similar experiences. I like the science aspect of baking and pastry and it seems like it would be a little more relaxed professionally. But I like savory food better and like the art aspect of culinary.

 

Because of the general education credits from my bachelors degree, both the culinary and baking and pastry programs will only take one year to complete. (3 semesters of class and lab, 1 semester of an internship) However, the culinary program starts in March, while I'd have to wait until next fall to do the baking and pastry program. That's almost a year away and a huge disadvantage compared to the culinary program. Also, my bachelors degree is in business administration, and I feel that a culinary education would make me better suited for restaurant management down the road compared to baking and pastry. That could be total BS though, I'm just taking a guess at that. Any advice or personal experiences would be cool.

post #2 of 24

Hello, I am also a student at JWU though I am still a sophomore doing junior class in the spring, with the subject of culinary and baking, I think the culinary will give you more opportunities in the future. When it comes to jobs and even experience in the field. Yes the baking and pastry from what I seen is way more relaxing then culinary and science is all over it too.  You can also take concentrations on baking and pastry if you are eligible. I personally will be taking one since I also like baking and pastry but since my major is food service management culinary will go a lot better with it. And I know I will have more opportunities and openings when I graduate. So I advice culinary. But if your still undecided go with your first thought.

 

Good luck!

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Petit Chef View Post

Hello, I am also a student at JWU though I am still a sophomore doing junior class in the spring, with the subject of culinary and baking, I think the culinary will give you more opportunities in the future. When it comes to jobs and even experience in the field. Yes the baking and pastry from what I seen is way more relaxing then culinary and science is all over it too.  You can also take concentrations on baking and pastry if you are eligible. I personally will be taking one since I also like baking and pastry but since my major is food service management culinary will go a lot better with it. And I know I will have more opportunities and openings when I graduate. So I advice culinary. But if your still undecided go with your first thought.

 

Good luck!



Thanks for the response. I don't think this program allows for concentrations. I was looking at the curriculum and I will have to take one baking and pastry class in the culinary program though. I think that because it's an accelerated program, there's little to no flexibility as far as what classes you can take.

post #4 of 24

Alright, well I wish you luck, and hope everything goes well with you.

post #5 of 24

I'm going through the same exact problem. My passion is pastry, but I want to be a restauranteur and I already have a few people that want to invest in restaurants with me in the near future. I'm going to a local vocational program in my town for culinary arts. The program does teach the traditional culinary ciriculum, but the program is more geared towards the profession and the business side of the spectrum to help you be job ready. So, by the time I will be done with the program, I will know the business side of the spectrum, but I will need to refine my culinary skills.

 

So... I am thinking about doing a Grand Deplome at Le Cordon Bleu Paris or London to learn the culinary skills I will need to work in an upper scale restaurant. The Grand Deplome is the combination of the Patisserie deplome (sweet/pastry) and cuisine deplome (savory/culinary). Then, if I want, I can do culinary management college classes online through Le Cordon Bleu.

 

Anyway, that's my situation. My plan is unconventional, but it works in my book and it does fit the budget (less expensive than going to a 4 year culinary degree program like JWU or the CIA). It might even be overkill!

 

---------------------------------

 

For you I would suggest sticking with the culinary program. They will dabble into pastry somewhere in the class, but it won't be as refined or skilled as a full pastry course. Plus, culinary is more of a general course and would fit best with your college degree, whereas pastry is very specific and specialized.

 

Then, if you decide you want to learn more about pastry, offer to intern at a pastry shop/bakery to learn the trade.

 

But, just remember that a culinary deploma or degree doesn't make you a professional an NO program can fully make you job ready. Culinary isn't like engineering or being a doctor; you don't need a degree and just because you have one doesn't make you certified for anything except for bragging rights. YOU and YOUR work ethics are what qualifies you for a rewarding career in the culinary niche.

post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 

How does the French Culinary Institute compare to Johnson and Wales? I'm going there this Friday to take a tour. Looking at the website, it seems pretty interesting. It only takes 6 months but it's very expensive for the program. I can't seem to find what you technically graduate with. I'm assuming that since it's only 6 months it's some type of certificate program. 46K seems like a lot for a certificate but maybe it's worth it. The Johnson and Wales program leaves you with an Associates in Applied Science.

post #7 of 24

Go with J&W.  The certificate  does not mean you have learned cooking or baking, it means you attended and paid.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

Go with J&W. The certificate does not mean you have learned cooking or baking, it means you attended and paid.


That makes sense. I'm going to check out FCI anyway though because I've heard great things. It seems like it's better suited to home cooks that want to pick up some skills though compared to someone looking for professional level prep.


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post #9 of 24

The instructors at FCI  are top notch all pro's and been around a long time. The type of cuisine that they excell in however is not the one that the majority of restaurants practise  today. Its pretty upscale. I believe JW has more of a handle on a more rounded culinary edcation. At one time they were highly regarded throughout the industry for their baking classes more then anything.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

The instructors at FCI are top notch all pro's and been around a long time. The type of cuisine that they excell in however is not the one that the majority of restaurants practise today. Its pretty upscale. I believe JW has more of a handle on a more rounded culinary edcation. At one time they were highly regarded throughout the industry for their baking classes more then anything.


I'm glad you mentioned that because I got the feeling FCI was based on old school French cuisine, considering who the founders are and that they designed the curriculum.

JWU seems like the smarter option, but something about FCI still seems really cool to me. I'll let you guys know what it's like tomorrow after the tour.


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post #11 of 24

How was the tour at FCI?

I am curious to know what you think because I am also very interested in their school. My understanding about the school is that it is based on french culinary techniques which are the foundation of most cooking styles we see today, so I do not think that it is outdated. 6 months does seem pretty fast but if you already have some knowledge about cooking and practice on your own you will be able to learn quickly what they are teaching you. After all, the faster you get into the industry to gain experience the better. I don't think that doing a program that is a year or two long will give me any advantages over others...it's the job experience that counts!

Another thing that FCI can offer is a huge network of successful alumni, which can really help you get a foot in the door.

post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
^^^ The tour at FCI was really good. The building and kitchens are very impressive, plus it's right in the heart of Soho so that's nice. The career track culinary program is split into six levels, and each level has their own kitchen. There's big projectors in all the kitchens so you can see what the instructors are doing.

The career services and alumni departments seem very in depth. They have a library full of all kinds of stuff as well as all the demonstrations by celebrity chefs that occur there. There's tons of opportunities to volunteer at these events as well. So it's not uncommon to do prep work for Bobby Flay for instance. They seem very committed to getting students internships and jobs.

There's a ton more stuff going on there though so if you have any specific questions let me know.


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post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
O and yea, the program is rooted in French cuisine and techniques. I looked through the level 1 textbook and you'll definitely be picking up a lot of French. Many of the instructors are from France from what I've been told. Plus, Jacques Pepin created the current curriculum I believe, so that gives you an idea of what you're in for.

They also have an Italian program where you spend half your time in NYC and half in Italy. That includes Italian language classes and time working in an Italian restaurant. French cooking is the basis for everything though so the Italian program is something that would usually come after the standard culinary program.


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post #14 of 24

That sounds great, thanks for the info! I will definitely plan to visit there soon. Unlike the Cordon Bleu, FCI doesn't offer a program that has a combination of culinary and pastry. Did you found out any info on whether they cover some pastry topics at all in the culinary program? I would like to learn both since my goal down the road is to open my own restaurant or catering business but if I go to FCI, I think that a culinary diploma will provide more opportunities.

 

Also, did you found out what was FCI's admission rate? Do all students get in who meet all the requirements? If students don't get in due to limited space, are they put on a waiting list? If yes, how long before you get into the program?

 

Have you decided to switch from J&W to FCI finally?

 

 

post #15 of 24

That sounds great, thanks for the info! Sounds like your impressed. Have you decided to switch from J&W to FCI?

 

Also, knowing that FCI doesn't offer a program that combines both culinary and pastry, do you know if they cover any pastry topics at a minimum level in the culinary program?

Did you find out what is the admission rate? If there is not enough space during an admission period, are you put on a waiting list? If yes, how long before you get in? It seems like FCI has a lot of great things to offer, but I'm just a little reluctant on the expensive tuition fee...

post #16 of 24

Please disregard the last message...it didn't post properly! lol

post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure which school I'm doing yet. I'm leaning towards FCI though. The bigger decision is figuring out what program I want to do.

Yes, the culinary does cover baking and pastry. This happens at level two and I was told by the admissions rep that about 75% of this level is baking and pastry. You could always do both programs, but of course you're looking at 60-90 grand depending on whether you take day or night classes. The school also offers classes for the "serious amateur" in all different types of things. So I'm sure you could supplement the culinary program with some other classes. Plus, they give pretty big discounts to returning students.

I don't know much about the acceptance rate. It sounds like if you have a high school diploma and the cash, then you're good to go. They told me a copy of my college diploma was sufficient. When you apply, they take a $100 deposit which reserves your spot for the class. Because new classes start every few weeks, it didn't seem like they had a problem of people having to wait.


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post #18 of 24

I hope I'm not too late to sway your mind, but.... GO WITH JWU!!!! Which campus are you closest to? (Denver, Charlotte, Miami, or Providence?) 

I'm currently in my last trimester of my senior year. As some of the posts above have mentioned going to a school that gives you a certificate isn't nearly as good as going to a school where you can get either an associates or bachelor's degree. If you're applying for almost any job there is little to no difference between having industry experience and a certificate. A Degree however is a game changer. 

JWU (providence and soon to be charlotte) offers a bachelor's degree in Culinary Arts & Food Service Management (CAFSM) this degree is definitely geared toward those that want a more management position as opposed to being a line cook.

If you have any questions about how the JWU program works let me know, I'm sure I can answer your questions.

@Baker Boy100 which campus are you at? PVD here! :)

 

:tux

:chef tux

"Mother Nature is the true artist, the Chef is merely the technician"

    -MPW

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:chef tux

"Mother Nature is the true artist, the Chef is merely the technician"

    -MPW

Reply
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
^^^ I'm still open to JWU and I haven't made a final decision yet.


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Edited by Whiz - 10/28/11 at 6:45pm
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 

I've also been entertaining the idea of going to Boston U for a masters degree in gastronomy. Totally different type of thing though. I definitely have to pick something soon and go with it though.

post #21 of 24

Johnson & Wales is instituting a masters program as well, in Applied Gastronomy. Should be available for students in 2012

:chef tux

"Mother Nature is the true artist, the Chef is merely the technician"

    -MPW

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:chef tux

"Mother Nature is the true artist, the Chef is merely the technician"

    -MPW

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post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 

^^^ Good to know, thanks. I'll have to look into that. It's a really interesting program, and covers everything about food including its anthropology, history, science, policy, economics, etc. It's very interesting and it appeals to me on an academic level, but I have no idea what your supposed to do with a degree like that.

post #23 of 24

teach, that is really the only purpose of getting a masters degree in culinary. Not a whole lot else it's good for.

:chef tux

"Mother Nature is the true artist, the Chef is merely the technician"

    -MPW

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:chef tux

"Mother Nature is the true artist, the Chef is merely the technician"

    -MPW

Reply
post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
And bragging rights I suppose. That way, when you get in an argument with a foodie you can say, "Well I have a masters in gastronomy!"


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