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The Art Institute and The Restaurant School

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello,

     I'm applying to culinary school for a Bach. Degree culinary arts.  I'm applying to The Art Institute of Philadelphia and The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill.  I've heard good and bad things about both schools and I know that it's not about the school you got to it's about what you get out of your education.  I was just wondering is there anything that I should know about either schools?  And if you attended the school or currently attend either one please let me know what it's like and if you liked it!

post #2 of 7

I was accepted into an AI school, and enjoyed the interactions with the staff / teachers, but when I stated asking local chefs and restaurant owners what they thought... we'll just say that they weren't very impressed with the program. 

 

I want to ask you a couple questions, simply because I'm curious..

Why are you doing the 4 yr vs the 2yr degree? 

Are you trying to gear more towards kitchen work or FOH work?

If kitchen is your answer, have you spend times in the weeds in a kitchen before getting slammed with tickets, getting burned because you are trying to work a bit too quickly, but all while trying to maintain a cool head about the situation?

 

If you answered NO to the last question, the first thing you should do before every attending one single class, is get in a kitchen and get your ass kicked for a couple months, just to see if being on the line is what you really want. This was the advice given to me, and I'm just passing it along, if your passion is there and you love it, then you'll want more and more and more (and that's a good thing.) But if you just enjoy the idea of being a cook, it will be miserable, (and that's good too because you wont waste all your money and go in debt over something you dont want to do.)

 

Just my $.02 and feel free to answer in a pm if you dont want all your reasonings / answers on the open forum.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

I wanted to get a 4yr degree b/c i want to own my own restaurant, that is my end goal and let's be honest a 4yr degree sounds pretty nice to an employer.  As far as FOH or BOH I've done both, I'm always pushed to FOH by my boss b/c I'm good at handleing stress and I have extremely good people skills, but I'd rather be BOH mainly b/c I never get a chance to be back there also dealing with customers can become draining on my nerves (as you probably know haha).  Ive been working in restaurants for four months now and counting which is where I decided on going to culinary school, I enjoyed the rush of the kitchen, the meeting of new people, the late nights (I'm not a morning person at all).  I also love eating and trying new foods.  I've definately had my ass kicked by my bosses but I still come back for more and in the end I learn more after being yelled at. 

 

What school did you end up going to?

post #4 of 7
They don't run those commercials non stop for nothing. Make sure you can pay back your tuition as student loans are not forgiveable and they bank on that

You can't lay on the beach and drink rum all day unless you start in the morning

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You can't lay on the beach and drink rum all day unless you start in the morning

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post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah Bering View Post

I wanted to get a 4yr degree b/c i want to own my own restaurant, that is my end goal and let's be honest a 4yr degree sounds pretty nice to an employer.

If you are basing the need for a four year degree on your goal of owning a restaurant, then, IMHO, skip the culinary schools and get a degree in Restaurant/Hospitality management. Running a restaurant involves FAR more than knowing how to cook!

 

As far as a four year degree sounding pretty nice to an employer, that is not always the case, especially in the BOH and FOH in the culinary world. Most of those employers are looking for production, not management. Production involves getting it done, management involves seeing to it that someone gets it done.

 

Reexamine your short and long term goals. Do you want to produce or manage?

 

If produce, do you have any experience in the BOH? If not, get some, even as a dishwasher or kitchen helper. After six months, if you still want to produce, think about some form of culinary training.

 

If at the end of six month, you decide you would rather manage, then think about business management, hospitality management and leave the producing to others.

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 #6 of 7

Sarah !  I go with Pete,  only I go one further  . Go to business school and take a law course or two, as this is what you will need to own and operate a restaurant or anything else for that matter.  You can learn the cooking aspect on the job, but you can't learn the business side or legal side from the BOH.  I know very few Chefs that have a BS, I had to get one for teaching in New York, otherwise I would not have one either.  Asside from that I never had a boss even give a darn if I had a BS , they only wanted to know if I could cook, run a place, and make them money. I wish you good luck.  EJB

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah Bering View Post

 

What school did you end up going to?

I actually ended up not going. The only culinary school remotely close is the Art Institute that I mentioned, and after talking to several chefs around the area, that particular campus wasn't good enough for me to justify spending the money on, so.. I got really lucky. I found a local chef that picked me up and gave me a job doing prep / pantry work, and still trying to teach me about x, y, and z as I went along. I recently was moved up to line cook, and obviously still learning, but that was the right move for me, it may not be the right move for everyone. For my personal situation, I was able to find a great job and make money while learning, instead of being 30grand in debt.

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