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Culinary answers from a culinary student. Who, What, Why or should I...

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hello, I am writing this article in hopes that I may help answer questions people have that are considering the culinary arts path. I had a lot of questions at the beginning of my culinary research, but not so much definite answers.  So I will give you what I have found out and will continue to share new truths as they come. I was given some great advice here on ChefTalk and if I didn't, I always got a great perspective. I will be sharing my perspectives and  the information I am still learning.

 

My first major question was to go to school or just start working in the industry. A lot of people said that if you work in the industry you will learn all the techniques, lingo and experience you need to be successful in a shorter time than going to school. They also said that I would save alot of money.

               Ans: Now that I have started my first semester in culinary school ( Miami Culinary Institute, Miami Fl) ,I have found that to be a false statement. I am in school with professionals working in the field and they have incredible cooking skills, but lack knowledge of the basis of their skills. They don't don't know the correct language, flow of business, flow of food or sometimes even the right chain of command. When asked why they don't just try to get one of the chef's to mentor them and teach them all the things they need to know, they say there is no time. The ones that are working in a high end restaurant are so busy and even if there was time, the poulticing you to have to do to find someone  who wants to put the effort in you is just not worth it. It is some much less of a headache to go to school to learn.

                         Then there is the connections with professionals that are affiliated to the school . This is an unbelievable source for information. I don't have to worry about bothering someone at work with a question, I can just ask my chef in class. Then there is the opportunities for jobs. The first week I was in school one of my classmates got a job at a popular restaurant in South Beach.Even though my school is new, it is already getting a good reputation and business are asking for students for hire. I have been in only for a few months and I got to volunteer at two events in Miami. I food prepped and did the serving and PR for our school and the Restaurant we have (TuYu). I also got to work with a Chef from Spain. I personally think this is an amazing advantage of exposure to the Culinary World.

 

My Second question was how do you pick the right school?

                     Ans: Research on what you want to get out of the school. I wanted to learn the most I can. I wanted class room as well as practical field experience. Location was very important. I wanted something near home. I was able to be near home and work. Cost: I am a fixed budget and needed something that I could pay slow and cheap. My school (MCI) is currently the cheapest school out there.

 

I have more to say, but will make it for another post. For now please ask me questions or go to www.facebook.com/Theculinaryexperience  which is my FB page that I have decided to do so culinary people can see what a new student does. I am also making it a page to give out information about all things culinary. Hope to talk to you soon! Peace , Blessings  and a great meal!

Errol

 

post #2 of 4

Very well written with great information. You might want to add that finding a good school is to ask a chef from a top restaurant where they went and if they would recommend it.

post #3 of 4
Quote:
I am in school with professionals working in the field and they have incredible cooking skills, but lack knowledge of the basis of their skills. They don't don't know the correct language, flow of business, flow of food or sometimes even the right chain of command
I am having trouble understanding this statement, could you please explain a little further.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

 Hi cheflayne,

 

I would love to explain what I meant in that statement. I am not in the industry and so when I found out the students that were, I picked their brain on what their experiences were. Some are in top restaurants in Miami so I thought that they could just be mentored, but their reaction to that was a disappointing no. The business is so busy, there is only time to catch on to what you see. They said that with the knowledge of vocabulary (many times because of the classics-French) they were at a loss of the procedure and what it entailed  completely. Then along that the technique of the food production was not completely understood, so even though it was witnessed it was not understood. The students say in the high end restaurants that lack of knowledge is well recognized by the experts.

 

Then there is Food cost ( including breaking down your own meats/ or not ) and flow of food in sanitation/check in and using bones/ vegetable discards for stock and sauces. They may have seen or knew of someone doing it, but not as a whole operation. It is different to know a task compared to doing a task with the knowledge of how it will affect everything in the kitchen.

 

Then understating the flow of food or chain of command of the organization of the classical

kitchen. knowing the real position or responsibility of the Chef , executive chef, chef cuisine and the sous chef. Many people think the Chef is the head cook, where he really is the Leader of the entire kitchen from Cost, production to management to creative designer . Then the knowledge that anyone can not just jump in to Garde manger. What about the expediter or aboyeur can not be one of little experience and might be one of the most important in the kitchen next to a chef. Many in the kitchen love to horse play and sometimes disrespect the chain of the command and this could result in a poor flow of food to the costumer leading to no return business. 

 

I hope I cleared up the questions and am will to add more to it as requested! 

Thank you for your interest! 

 

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