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The One Degree that Matters!...Excuse me while I dive for Cover.

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Just my opinion, so don't kill me!

Whether you get a culinary degree or not you start out the same place everywhere.....dish duty or prep cook!

You get a Restaurant Management or Business Administration Degree along with previous culinary experience I think you are more marketable.

But if you wanna cook, get hired at better places and make it to the "Ultimate Chef Plateau" get an Cooking Experience Degree. For free! All you have do do is supply the hard work ethic. :) Thomas Keller is a good example I guess.

Again...this is just MY opinion. ~Ducks behind some boulders before the firing starts~

Jodi
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #2 of 30
Yes people like Thomas Keller Charlie Trotter or Norman Van Aken could do that at one time but in this day you need a degree period talent only gets you so far. As for starting out in the same place I disagree I see kids all the time coming out of school and heading kitchens at 21 or 22 I do not agree with it but it does happen.
post #3 of 30
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I know....but I keep my version of Utopia in my head. Realistically I plan on a degree in rest. mgmt or biz admin.

The idea of a Cooking Experience Degree is something though. ~Sigh~ :D
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #4 of 30
Okay, time to shoot my mouth off:

Just having a degree -- ANY degree -- gets you nothing right off the bat. Sure, it helps that you've read, and practiced, and learned. But you've got to be able to DO it. Anyone who gets out of school and expects to be a "real chef" or General Manager right away is a fool. Even if they have experience, they've still got to prove themselves.

If you want to cook, just cook and not supervise or manage anybody, and definitely NOT run any kind of business, all you really need is what you were born with.

If you want to cook and move up to the point where you are a supervisor or manager (still in the kitchen), culinary training is necessary to learn proper techniques. And some training in supervision/management is imperative. But not necessarily a degree.

If you want to run a business, you'd better know how. If you get that knowledge by going to school, fine, for the food end and/or the business part. But you need lots and lots of experience, as well as lots of training. Sure, there are always stories of people who hit it lucky, but mostly they are NOT "overnight successes" but people who worked long and hard to prepare. Do you have to have a degree? Again, no. Just a lot of knowledge of how to do it.

What it comes down to is: you need knowledge to succeed. How you get it is your business. BTW, a lot of colleges give credit for "life experience."
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #5 of 30
:mad: :mad: :mad:

I can't even reply to this !!!!

Give me a break!!!!!!!!!!!

It's so easy for some to have all the answers with out breaking a sweet:mad:
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #6 of 30
Wow, CC, is that all directed at me? Sorry to make you that angry. That's my opinion, though, based on what I've seen and my own version of Utopia.

Hope you feel better soon. :eek: :D
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #7 of 30
Dear Suzanne,

Just for the record, no it was not directed at you.
I agree with you %100.

I know for a fact that you have pulled the 70 hour weeks like me back to back to back, swim in your sweat and bleed red blood.

Yes I am angry!!!!

Some read some books or play on the internet and have all the answers to our Biz, I say B**LS**T

When someone works 12/14 hour days for year after year like so many true chefs and cooks do, then you can tell my about what type of degree we need.

As for degree's, Yes I have degree's,
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #8 of 30
According to the Greek Legislation in a case of murder, your defendant doesn't have to be a lawyer.
You can bring your neighbour to defend you if you find it appropriate.

Maybe your neighbour is as good as the best lawyer but that doesn't mean that we don't need lawyers.


People have an attitude towards degrees. I can understand that.
But degrees is something that society itself has established to judge the most competent.
And whether people like this or not, more competent are those who have passed the exams :)
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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post #9 of 30
Cape Chef I hope you are not mad at me I do not have a degree myself I killed myself for 15 years and realized my talent only took me so far. I go to job interviews and all they wanna know is do I have a degree well no I don't so it dosen't matter how many years I been on a line cause that is the criteria.I think the gullible in the industry has been brainwashed by the ACF personally I think in 5-10 years if you do not go to such and such schools and belong to the little ACF "club" that you will not be able to work. My thinking for this is look at job ads in any city papers or on starchefs and such it is all CIA only or CEC only or some such nonsense. Me personally I do not want to work in an industry that I have to join some organazation that I have to pay money to to get certified with or I do not get certian jobs that just smacks of the **** party a little too much for me.
post #10 of 30
Dear holydiver,

Please, I am not mad at you!

Listen, Like Athenaues said, those who pass the exam must be more compatent then those who don't.
So be it, I find in our industry sometimes things work in reverse. First we spend some time, or years before we go to get a degree.

I cooked for 5 years before I went to school, I have nothing "nadda"against degree's..I have worked and studied very hard to have my degree's, no one handed them to me, nor did I brown nose those bigshot ACF guy's.

You know Timithy Ryan was a CMC at 27 years old? give me a break, to be a CEC, you need 7 consecutive years as an Executive Chef, So I guess he was a Exec at 19 or 20 eh?

CMC? ACF propaganda. if you have endless supplies of money donated to you by coporate America, and have enough aspic to glue a ten story food display together, I guess you deserve the degree of a CMC.

My anger in this thread, is about "assumptions" evryone has different takes on whats important for there career, I have all kinds of diploma's certificates and degree's, but you know what? right now my career sucks!!!! and these degree's are just hanging on a wall.

anyway, this is not a good day.
Holydiver and Suzanne
Don't worry about what I think, honestly, it's not worth it right now. Just do your best, look at the donut, not the hole
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #11 of 30
How much of a difference does everyone make between an undergraduate degree at a regular university or liberal arts college, and a culinary degree? In a general sense, not just in ability to work in a kitchen.
post #12 of 30
An undergraduate degree shows me that the holder has attained a certain level of expression - verbal or written.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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post #13 of 30
Thread Starter 
Oh My! :eek: I'm wondering if I should have posted my opinion. :(

CC,

I hope its not me that you are mad at. I was looking at my situation, which is all experience but no degree (I couldn't concentrate on studying when I was too tired from working 14 hours to pay for college :( My mom was in school also and I was trying to go nights so someone would be home with my sister). Sometimes working 2 jobs! I found that in some instances that it didn't matter how much experience I had in the field, the minute some fresh scrubbed kid with a degree came in there went any possiblities of a promotion. :mad:

From what you are describing, Im going much the same way you are. Work first then get the degree. I didn't mean to offend, my opinion is based on what I have seen in the job market (in any industry actually) where it seems that big biz has taken over. And all the big restaurants want is someone with a CMC etc. to further enhance THEIR image! Ive got nothing against people with degrees......I'm sure they get as frustrated with the system as we do. (I remember listening at one of the recruiting corps I worked at. One recruiter said "Man, this guy is dumb as a stump biz wise, but look at all the credentials. If he makes a s***load my vacation is set!"

I only get irritated when the idea of boasting that "Hey, WE got a CCP or CMC, or whatever" to bring in sales. If that biz is not run right by the admin. and it goes down the tubes in a year! Where does that leave the grad? What does that do to their rep? Mgmt doesn't care! It's starting to become all for the bucks being made. Ive had other times where I was told I was OVERQUALIFIED! :eek: Can you believe that?

Anyway. It was 3 or 4 in the morning when I posted I think. It was just a "general" opinion and not meant to poke at anyone. It was basically about how I wished things were.....trying to get away from what really is?

Sorry, if I offended anyone. It wasn't intentional. :( :( :(

Jodi

PS

Koko

I don't have a degree AND I have great oral and written skills. Where does that put me?? :confused: I have worked for some lawyers and CEOs who NEED ME to write documents or proofread documents for them because their writing skills are so poor. So degrees cannot really be used as benchmarks......
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #14 of 30
In some ways, your correct, J. Yesteryear the degree assured a certain level of verbal skills. Nowadays, many professional schools exist because of lax admissions standards. They need to stay afloat.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #15 of 30

Uh oh, now I'm going to get mad! (getting off-topic)

Not at anybody here. But at the decline of the American education system. I know I will sound like an old fuddy-duddy, but "when I was a girl" if you couldn't read/write/do math at grade level by the end of the year, you had to repeat that grade, as many times as it took to learn the stuff. Nowadays with "social promotion," fears of lawsuits, and eviscerated programs, kids move through the system and end up unable to read, spell, do math, or put a simple sentence together. :mad: :mad: :bounce: :bounce: It's been going on for TOO LONG, in ALL parts of the system -- private as well as public, K - 12, even up through college and beyond, everywhere. No wonder good teachers quit!

Can't blame any specific group -- we've all let it happen. I guess I'm mad at myself, too, for not doing anything.

(Deep breath) Okay, rant over.

PS -- the only people I am willing to except from knowing how to spell are chefs. ;) But when they put together their printed menus, they'd better have them proof-read by a LOT of people. :D
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #16 of 30
Is it the educational system to blame? Methinks that the alliteracy is due to lack of parental concern and peer pressure.

I also taught at the community college level and was asked by one of the deans if there wasn't something special we could do to help a basketball player pass - even though I caught him cheating 3 times. I really blew up in front of the students and was let go 6 months later. As a result, I threatened to go to the top administration located in another city if I were ever requested to do that again. I have my standards, integrity and dignity. Yeah, proud of my 3+ degrees for which I really worked hard to obtain.

Some schools do anything to keep themselves afloat.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #17 of 30
Koko -- I include EVERYONE in the "system" -- parents, non-parents, teachers, administrators, TV personalities, sports heroes, the kids themselves, etc. etc. Educating future generations is vital to everyone, and whether we realize it or not, we all play a role.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #18 of 30
Yup, we've all lowered standards. Not me, however. I won't bend to outside pressure. So what that I flunked most basketball players. I too was a jock although not alliterate.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #19 of 30
Thread Starter 

The TRUTH behind us ALL! Degreed or NOT!

You know something......

The only thing you really need to get ANYWHERE is DRIVE. You have to want it, need it and go after it with everything you've got! You can get the degree but if you have no DRIVE you will only get so far. You can have lots of experience but if you don't have the DRIVE to move up you will stay where you are.

Someone can say to you "We can't hire you as Chef because you don't have a degree". That's just one opinion. You can get hired somewhere else if you want that position bad enough. Its the same thing on the other side of the spectrum.

If you don't know a particular procedure learn it and move up! If you look at most of the successful people, take Bill Gates for example, he dropped out of college. Now he's the worlds richest man. A company owner in NYC just recently went back and got his HIGH SCHOOL diploma.

DRIVE is what it is really all about. Not the degree or experience. You can't go very far with either one if you don't have the DRIVE to do so. They don't teach THAT in school!

Oh boy! It's another opinion of mine so don't beat me up too much.

Jodi
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #20 of 30
Jodi

When I meet a capable and smart persons like you I BEG THEM on my knees to go get some degree just not to miss opportunities.

Come on guys. Learning is a process that help you mature. It teaches you discipline, focusing on your targets it teaches you usefull things!!!

If you are talented as well, you are blessed people!
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
Reply
post #21 of 30
Thread Starter 
Just read your posts, Koko and Suzanne,

I agree with both of you. Im teaching my kids about life and learning now to give them a starting point. Learning starts in the home. It seems most people are too busy to care and each wants someone else to blame or solve the problem for them.

I plan to be active in my children's lives and if I see they are not getting anywhere, having problems, or getting bored or stagnant...I will find some way to motivate them. Even if it means placing them in a different kind of school where they CAN learn.

My parents always played a role in my education. Whether it was enrolling me in an after school program that they knew I would like and broaden my horizons. If no one cares the kids don't care. That was basically the census in high school. None of the kids thought anyone cared so they said "why should we?"
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #22 of 30
I'm a little nervous about putting forth my thoughts. But here goes...
I am not defending anybody, and I do think that people should be rewarded for experience. However, (to use a poor example) look at lawyers, they need to pass the bar to practice law in whatever state. Certifications are basically
universal.
I am still an undergraduate. So how could I know anything about a career, right? But there is something I do know about school. Having a degree is not just a credential that is going to help me on a resume. I believe my time in school is being extremely well spent. I think that when a person is educated in a broad and liberal sense, that person will have an advantage over other people who have not. And not just with a degree on their resume. Why? That person will have the ability to think in a much larger capacity than someone else. I also think that someone who has been formally educated will have more options open to them in the future.
Then, after school is where people learn their trade. You learn the skills for your job on the job. I have yet to meet someone who has said that they learned how to do their job in school and not at work.

I find it hard to overestimate the value of true education. I think it gives someone an advantage in life in almost all aspects, especially financial. I don't know much about the culinary field, but I do know almost all people in the field don't do it to make a lot of money. However, everyone needs to make a living and no one can deny the fact that the income gap between educated and non-educated people is quite large.

These are my thoughts. I'm only 21, but I don't think I am ever going to look back on my life and say "I regret going to college"

Feel free to attack, I'm willing to defend.
post #23 of 30
Thread Starter 
No attack here Crane :D Your opinion is sound to me.

There is a big advantage to having a degree in this day and age. And no one is gonna knock you for knowing what you want and using the means to get it.

~A~

As I said somewhere at the beginning of this post. I do plan on getting a degree to coincide with my experience. I worked first and learned what I would need to advance job wise. I tried jumping in once without thinking, (I don't think an English degree would help me in this field don't you?) and am glad I waited.

I am taking courses and getting certifications to enhance my skills and that degree I plan to get in Restaurant Mgmt will mean a lot to me. Id actually like to run my own biz someday. Im also scheduling an accounting class on my goals list.


To everyone in general

Do you believe it is a good idea to jump into spending thousands for school when you are not sure exactly what you want to do and how a certain degree will help advance that future career?


Jodi
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #24 of 30
I wish you good luck ShawtyCat. I applaude you for pursuing your goals. I think that the pursuit of goals is just as important as attaining them, and that failure comes from not even trying.

It seems from a lot of posts that the main peeve people have is simple. If you don't choose to play by the system then a large door is closed to you .
"Is just having a three letter acronym in front of my name going to make me perform at a higher level? No, but if you don't have it, I can't help you"

I agree that this should not be how we gague a person. It's cheap. People are worth more than their title.
post #25 of 30

Re: The One Degree that Matters!...Excuse me while I dive for Cover.

Maybe try getting a job at Paul Bocuse, or Alain Ducasse yes? no? Which route are YOU taking young Jedi?

There are tons of nuances and intangibles which can shape the career of a fledgling chef, the most important of these being humility and patience. A good amount of both is required for success, and a lack of either is normally an indication of impending disaster.

Of the hundreds of CMC's here, how many work in restaurants?

Kuan
post #26 of 30
Thread Starter 
This young Jedi would love to get her little paws inside Thomas Keller's kitchen. Ive read some of the interviews he has given and agree with his philosophy. Plus I heard he's a hands on chef and actually gets down in the trenches with everyone else.

Ive got lots of patience and really do believe that I have lots, lots, lots more to learn. Being able to cook, learn more about cooking and evolve your technique is the greatest thing in the world. Next to the kiddies of course.

I didn't think they were hundreds of CMCs though. I thought it was only 100 or so? I probably said it all wrong but I was refering to a resto that TK was the "esteemed chef" of where they used his name to get people in and then ran the place into the ground. Sounded horrible. I was imagining myself in that kinda place where Ive finally made it to one of the higher levels of cooking where I can showcase my stuff and people are coming for my food. Then BANG, the resto is gone and everyone is saying.....she must not have been much of a chef if they closed in a year! Id be p'od!

Was just poking at the bureaucrats. Guess because in my country its happening too. I have to have a long string of degrees behind my name in order to sit behind a desk and do data entry! And I had been doing that for 10 years!
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #27 of 30
Why either or? If a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing any way you can. Everyone's temperament, abilities, ambitions, resources differs from others'. Some might prefer the structure of a school with its more or less systematic comprehensive approach to cooking. Others might be more comfortable learning in the hands on situation of a real kitchen

If the latter or if you have the oportunity to get into a great kitchen, if you can't afford school, if you are dislexic, temperamentally averse to it, etc.? Skip it and go straight into the kitchen.

You like the sense of security of a degree behind your name, like the sense of having had a comprehensive grounding in your field, can afford it (or get enough loans, scholarships, etc.)? Then go to school.

Or better yet: go into the kitchen for a couple years. Learn whether that's where you really want to be. Learn how a real world kitchen works. Learn what it is you need to know to achieve the level of your ambitions. Even save a few pennies, maybe. THEN: decide whether to simply continue on your path as it is because YOU have been fortunate enough to land in a good place and are learning what you need to know to ground you for your career path. Or make an informed decision based on your personal knowledge and needs that school is the place for you. Or some may even decide that the professional cooking is not for them.


There's more than one way to dice an onion. :)
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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post #28 of 30
Wow, quite the thread. I could heat my home using this.

My thought on the matter is that
knowledge = education + experience.

The education is what you get from either school or apprenticeships or just paying attention to what's going on around you. A degree is simply one way of quantifying that education. However, all it means is that the student was good at passing tests, not that they can actually do it.

The experience is putting that education into practice. You can have all the education in the world, but if you haven't actually done it then you don't know squat. That's probably why culinary schools all seem to incorporate a "hands on" sessions, apprenticeship, externship, internship, whatever. However, experience is variable. Does the person have 10 years experience, or just one years experience repeated 10 times. Hard to judge without trusted references, hence the need for someone going the experience route to work with respected chefs whose opinions are trusted by others.

I note that it's only in the USA that you can get a "bachelors degree" in culinary arts. It also seems to be only US institutions who "require" a bachelors degree for jobs. Protectionism? Probably. The US schools are the most expensive in the world, (see http://www.dnrc.co.uk/culinary_training.htm for details that I've found. Corrections welcome.), so I guess they have to market their graduates to the hilt, and that includes convincing the people who hire that a degree is actually worth something. While it's definitely true in the engineering and medical fields (both of which, you'll note, have "practical experience" requirements before you can be certified in those fields) I'm still trying to figure out if ths is really the case in the culinary world.

In France you start with a two year basic college course (C.A.P.)then go learn on-the-job in a structured apprenticeship program. Then you might go back to school to do more advanced work, eventually formalising all the business and management you've learned on-the-job so that you can operate your own kitchen. As I've found the generic French mid-range restaurant generally have much better food than the generic American mid-range restaurant, it's a system that seems to work. It's very hard to move up "quickly" though, hence the influx of european trained chefs out of Europe.

I see it as a question of attitude towards food. The worst food I've had, regardless of location, is from places that think that food is just to feed the body. In the best restaurants I've been to the attitude is that food feeds the soul.

Just my two pence worth.
post #29 of 30
Thread Starter 
I had originally thought I had done a bad thing by posting this thread. :blush: I wanted everyone to actually think about the Education vs. Experience question so that the culinary students visiting the forum could benefit from the discussion.

From all the educated, informative posts that have been given here, I think Ive accomplished that. :) Previous posts just touched the issue but nothing delved deep enough to actually get to the heart of the matter. So it left you feeling as though you missed something. I hope a few people can get the answers they want from reading ALL of the posts here.

Thank you to all the wonderfull people at ChefTalk.

Jodi
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #30 of 30
oops
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
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Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
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