or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Pastries & Baking › Question for pro pastry chefs
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Question for pro pastry chefs

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I am a mom of 2. The younger of my boys will start school next year, so I will be free to persue my own education. My question is, is an associate's in baking and pastry worth $50,000? It would be from The Art Institute which I understand is reputable. My only other option would be a certificate from LCB for $20,000. So, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 12

An education is always worth it..the question is are you going to be able to find a job where you are located after you graduate?  I have been a pastry chef for the adams mark, marriott  and radisson and never went to school thing is that all of them (the locations I worked at have gone to premade items - seems it is cheaper than having a full time pastry chef on staff..I dont know much about the art institute and if they will help you find something after graduation. I can say that even though i have taken on my education by reading as much as I can going to school would have taught me some things that I never learned such as sugar work.. good luck either way you go..

post #3 of 12

Recently I visited a thread (where I don't remember but it might have been at SFGATE.com) where the poster inquired as to the value of a culinary education when it comes to finding a job in the food/restaurant field.  In general terms, nope, not unless you have solid line experience and can multitask as opposed to making a single dish.  Get yourself a real job in a restaurant or some sort of food establishment (dennys or a high-end bakery) and go from there.  Otherwise you'll end up with $50k indebtedness, knowledge, and without line skills.

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 #4 of 12

You get out of it what you put into it.  I went to a jr. college that was accredited with the American Culinary Federation.  I paid $13/unit for 40 units.  I had great instructors.  And, I didn't have student loans to pay off after.  I've had interns from the CIA in NY, and they shelled out $100,000 for it.  Not worth it in my opinion.

Once you get a job, you can expect to start at $8-10/hour to start.  If you don't have to worry about supporting yourself, then it's not a big deal.  But, it's not an easy job, and you won't get rich off of it.

post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by rlyv View Post

You get out of it what you put into it.  I went to a jr. college that was accredited with the American Culinary Federation.  I paid $13/unit for 40 units.  I had great instructors.  And, I didn't have student loans to pay off after.  I've had interns from the CIA in NY, and they shelled out $100,000 for it.  Not worth it in my opinion.

Once you get a job, you can expect to start at $8-10/hour to start.  If you don't have to worry about supporting yourself, then it's not a big deal.  But, it's not an easy job, and you won't get rich off of it.

 

Also what I remember reading from the newspaper article was that one is quite well off by taking culinary classes from the local community college which doesn't entail a huge student loan indebtedness.  Anmd as I've read at this forum for the twele years I've been a member, you get out of it what you put into it.

 

A home breadbaker for ten years, I'd be watering at the mouth if I lived near Johnson and Wales in Rhode Island as their bread baking staff is (or at least was) excellent - if I could only afford the tuition!!!!!!!!!!!!

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 #6 of 12

The tuition is very high; and while I think an education is great, and certainly faster than trial and error/teaching yourself, it's not *necessary*.  It will leave you in debt, and food service does not pay well enough to pay back that kind of student loan.

 

Offer to work in a bakery; do whatever they ask you to do (wash dishes, sweep, mop floors) and as you observe, and absorb, you'll be able to move through the ranks and by the time your kids are out of elementary school, you'll be able to hold your own.  Work your way through Sherry Yard's books and Rose Levey Beranbaum (both write well for home cooks and their techniques are well explained)See if the schools offer recreational programs which are often cheaper than the "professional" programs.  Three of my employees have come from a professional pastry program, and only one of them has had the ambition and drive to move forward.  Their education was a good foundation but they don't know the science of why for things.   The pate a choux recipe they learned in school was a technique I'd never seen before and none of the three were able to tell why this method was useful and how/why it differed from the traditional method. 

 

Your education is what you make of it; if you decide to pursue a program, take full advantage - don't stop asking questions. If you understand the why, you'll be in great shape.

post #7 of 12

I must say that I agree with most everything said here. I didn't go to the Art Institute, CIA, Le Cordon Blah, or any of those schools. I went to a technical school to learn the baking trade. I have a certificate in both pastry arts and culinary arts. Great thing about it? It all cost me less than $3000 including books (that was in the 90's). I went on to become a great baker, got great jobs (and from those jobs I learned even MORE, so actually you're getting PAID to learn) and worked up to lead pastry chef in most of the jobs I got. The reason why, like everyone said, is that you get out of it what you put into it. I gave it my ALL in school and graduated with honors. Later in my career, when it was up to me to hire people, I found most of the CIA, AI, and LCB, grads to unimpress me. After that, I put two rules into place: 1. Audition every candidate, and 2. Your better hire is the one with experience as opposed to a person fresh out of pastry school. Kinda sad but true. 

 

My real point is, that you don't have to, nor should you, put down that kind of money ($30,000 to $50,000), for a culinary education that you can get almost literally for free. You can work up from the bottom, and if you're really good and pay attention, you won't be at the bottom for long. You can also go to a trade school which gives you as good an education as all those pricey schools out there. And if you give your classes your all, then you will be very successful in the work world.

post #8 of 12

Dear vegan res

 

I strongly suggest--no, I insist your son puts some time in a pastry kitchen before enrolling in any school.  Doesn't matter what, cleaning out mixing bowls, opening boxes, just get his foot in the door first.  This will cost you and your son nothing.

 

If and when the work agrees with your son, he is reading cookbooks in his spare time, making a mess of your kitchen at home, making stuff for relatives, etc and is still working, then it is time to enroll in a culinary school.

 

Hopefully this helps,

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

This is for myself. My boys are 7 and 3. I meant that next year my 3 year old will start pre k and I will have the opportunity to persue my own dreams.

post #10 of 12

Same advice still applies.

.

Also, remember this:  If you have "0"  working experience going into culinary school, you will have "0" working experience coming out of culinary school.  This fact does not go unnoticed by employers.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #11 of 12

Almost all culinary schools have an extern or intern requirement, that is, you have to work somewhere for a semester or two, and you get a grade based on your Chef's recommendation.

 

That said, experience is a key to any profession, and the more you have, usually, the better you will be. And I totally agree with "trying before buying." Get a job or volunteer at a bakery and see if that is really what you want to do. Until then, take Foodpump's advice and read and practice on your family all that you can.

post #12 of 12

BUT, ...but,...with trial and error over the years one learns the intimacies and soul of the dough.  And no amount of tuition can pay for the doughy feedback that your fingers will acquire from working on the pastry table.  Getting one's hands into it, there's no other way to learn.


Edited by kokopuffs - 8/28/12 at 5:06pm

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
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Pastries & Baking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Pastries & Baking › Question for pro pastry chefs