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!