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Why do some of you knock going to culinary school? - Page 3

post #61 of 72

 

 

Do what you love.  Have an open mind, know that even in fast food or poorly run place, you can learn what works and what doesn't.  There are many many different avenues to go in when working in the food industry.

 

Writing

Photography

Catering (onsite and offsite)

Farmers markets

baking

selling

marketing

food styling

working with booze/wine

teaching

event planning

corporate

personal chef

private chef

personal buyer

R&D

food scientist

broker

farmer

forager

RD

rural sociologist

on and on and on and on......many opportunities.

 

*I've done at least 50% of the list.

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #62 of 72

I'm new to this forum and I'm currently a college student but living in a food city really made me realize that my true passion is in food and cooking, so I'm looking to make the move into the culinary field ASAP. The problem is that I have zero experience in cooking in a restaurant, I'm just a home cook. I've applied to several restaurants around town for at least a prep cook job and they're all looking for at least two years of experience, so it's hard to get experience when everybody is looking for experience, it's hard to know where to start...dishwasher?? I really don't want to waste my time washing dishes when I could be learning and gaining experience in the kitchen. I would think going to culinary school is my only option....right?

 

if not go to culinary school how would you start?

post #63 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Costco77 View Post

 it's hard to know where to start...dishwasher?? I really don't want to waste my time washing dishes when I could be learning and gaining experience in the kitchen. I would think going to culinary school is my only option....right?

 

if not go to culinary school how would you start?


Most of us started washing dishes, and it's not a waste of time.  You don't think you wash dishes all the time, do you?  If the cooks like your attitude, they will ask you to do food prep tasks, if the Chef likes your attitude, he will ask you to move up to salads.

 

I don't know how to make my opinions clear on cooking in a professional kitchen, but I will try:

 

 

Say you need a cataract surgery, you have a choice of two surgeons.  First guy graduated 1st out of a class of 200, aced the surgery on computer simulation and on dead animals, but never really did it on a human before.  The other guy has done about 500 surgeries, no complications.  Who're gonna choose?

 

Yeah, yeah, a restaurant isn't surgery.  It's the owner's life though, his finances and risk, his overhead and salary cost.  It's the employee's livelyhood too.  

 

Work at lest 9 mths in a restaurant before plopping your money down for school.  It's (cooking professionaly) not for everyone.   

 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #64 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post
...Work at lest 9 mths in a restaurant before plopping your money down for school.  It's (cooking professionaly) not for everyone.   

 

Notice that FoodPump did not say cook in a restaurant, he said work.

 

As FoodPump pointed out, a dishwasher does not only wash dishes, there are no dishes to wash unless food is being cooked and served.

 

Besides, one of the most critical, IMHO, jobs in a kitchen is the dishwasher, remember, no plates, no tableware, no pots, pans, skillets, no money into the till!
 

 

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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post #65 of 72

i remain very proud that in my school's dining lab it was generally agreed that we would rename our DMO pit positions from "DMO1" and "DMO2" to "Bob1" and "Bob2". I had that bidness down and running like sunshine and smelling of roses come service.

 

While the rest of the restaurant or front of house were being cleaned (sanitized/swept/mopped), dishes were done well in advance and never second guessed, largely because there was no need. They were sparkling and wonderful - as was the commentary from our hot line in how our pit made damned sure they had what they needed in ample time and at the critical moment... not that servers were neglected but their needs did come second to our line.

 

in my final restaurant plan our prep cooks and dishwashers made essentially (much) more or even with our line cooks.

 

just sayin...

 

 

post #66 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Rhee View Post

For every great chef that came out of a cooking school, there are many who never attended.  Some of the world's top chefs never went to cooking school but trained and apprenticed at great restaurants.

 

Some examples?

 

- Mario Batali (attended but dropped out)

- Ferran Adria

- Joel Robuchon

- Thomas Keller

- David Waltuck (attended but dropped out)

- David Bouley

- Michael Romano

- Michael Chiarello

- Wolfgang Puck

- Alice Waters

- Charlie Trotter

- Tom Colicchio

- Daniel Boulud

- Gordon Ramsay

- Laurent Tourondel

 

The list goes on.  Even though I went to culinary school, if I had to do it all over again, I would've just started working and skipped school.  Why?  Even though, culinary school gave me basic insights, I learned more in my first 3 months of working than what school had taught me.  Also, each chef has their own distinctive styles of doing something as basic as making chicken stock.  For instance, when I used to work for Chef Waltuck at Chanterelle, his chicken stock excluded celery and substituted garlic instead, since he felt that garlic sweetens the longer you cook versus celery which becomes bitter the longer you cook.  However, Chef Tourondel sticks with a basic mirepoix with his chicken stock and is more traditional.

 

Having said that, I think culinary school is an option that should be considered as people are different and for some aspiring chefs, it may be important while for others it may be a waste of time.  My personal opinion is that if you already have a basic skill set and basic knowledge of cooking, it's best to skip school and enter into a great kitchen/chef.  I think experience matters more but those first 5-10 or so years should be spent under the tutelage of a renowned chef and where your skills can be honed from working at 110% instead of entering into a position where things are more lax.  Once you've done that, your options become much more open.

 

Lastly, I've worked with many chefs and aspiring chefs who have come out of CIA or J&W and for what it's worth, the range of skill and demeanor is quite vast.  It's really the individual that matters and not the school itself.

 

 

 

 

Gordon Ramsay did go to culinary school. lol.



 

post #67 of 72

"waste my time washing dishes".

 

I'd rethink my attitude in whole, or you'll find yourself "wasting time making salads", "wasting time plating desserts", etc.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #68 of 72

To be fair, Anthony Bourdain DID get a degree, but if you read his material he is very 'down' on the idea.

post #69 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmullins View Post

To be fair, Anthony Bourdain DID get a degree, but if you read his material he is very 'down' on the idea.



He writes fiction; poorly.

One can't take his writings as truth.

 

 

post #70 of 72

Most in this industry get a "degree" in order to ah... "appease" the H.R. dept or in order to get a decent salary

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #71 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post

Most in this industry get a "degree" in order to ah... "appease" the H.R. dept or in order to get a decent salary



Not that there's any thing wrong with that.

 

Dave

 

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #72 of 72

I wouldn't knock dishwashing. I did a year and a half in the dish pit, it made me a more humble cook after that point. And it serves as to a novice/apprentice as an oppertunity to observe the kitchen around you while doing a rather mindles task. Take a dish job and observe the flow of things and just do some time in the low rank and work up. It's simple and perfectly respectable for where you are and what you want to do.

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