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Chef's Opinion. What's better? a culinary arts certificate or an apprenticeship?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone, I am an experienced construction worker and cannot deal with the physical labour anymore. I have always had a strong passion for cooking and have made some delicious meals. I am currently 21 and am in Toronto along with being very close to broke. I am basically looking for some opinions on what would be the better thing to do. I have the option to go to George brown or Humber college for either a culinary arts program that will be 1-2 semesters long and will grant me a certificate on completion, Although have the opportunity to go for an apprenticeship from either school. In the eyes of a chef, I would like to know which would be the best for you. I just don't want to waste time choosing the wrong one. In my eyes the negatives are simple:  with an apprenticeship I don't believe i will gain the in-school knowledge that i require, Although I don't want to waste 2 years in school if it is unnecessary. Please help any tips or well anything would be much appreciated. if you reply, great and thanks very much, although if you have the time to have a good conversation please send me an E-mail at BrandynCurrie@hotmail.com and we can go through all the details. Thanks again

post #2 of 11
My advice may be different then what everyone else says, but it may be good to get a job in a kitchen to see if that what you really want to do. I'm not trying to get too personal or anything, but your a young person to not be able take the strain of a construction project, keep in mind that the kitchen is also tiring, though not in the same ways as a construction site. I just think having some kitchen expirence and making sure you want to go in the field is a good idea, you don't want to waste your time at school and decide you can't/don't want to do it.

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post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

well to be totally honest I have some experience in a kitchen. I used to be a steward at a place called The KingBridge Center. It is a conference centre with a full kitchen and always had banquets of 200-300 people plus. I would always help prep if i wasent busy i have pretty basic knife skills and do enjoy the pressure of getting everything out on time and with precise and clean presentation. I enjoy that type of pressure as it makes the day go by that much faster. If you have any more suggestions please send the feedback and thanks for the reply Minas
 

post #4 of 11

Ask yourself a question . In construction would you have learned as much in school as you did actually working on the job??  Also don't think kitchen is easy it is not . Stress level is higher then in construction.

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 #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Well I didn't actually learn anything really school wise when it came to construction, and for the pressure of the job, I wasn't concerned. I just cant do the constant physical labor anymore. I do want to learn it all during an apprenticeship, although don't want to be under experienced walking into a kitchen. I just want to know basically if, as a chef or someone training new cooks would you prefer to train a person your way or would it be applicable to take a year in school and learn the fundamentals. With construction, I was in drywall and taping specifically and am good at it, although didn't learn the fundamentals right away i did pick up them all after some time. I would like to know if this would be the same as a kitchen or would it be a better choice to learn the fundamentals because it'll be tricky to pick them up as i go. Thanks for the reply Chefedb
 

post #6 of 11

You learn a lot at an apprenticeship but the going is tough the first few years.  Standing eight hours a day will get you, that's the physical part of it.  As for school, you filet maybe two Halibuts in school.  In the banquet kitchen you might filet 20 during your first week.

post #7 of 11

 I   would prefer  an apprentice who I could train as they go alongh and get the true taste of the kitchen and production.

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...

Reply
post #8 of 11

If I had a choice I always hired the guy with an aprenticeship over the one with only a certificate

In my opinion , the one with an apprenticeship learned already how to work and that is what I needed when I was looking to hire a cook.

Every smoker quits smoking sooner or later!

Only the smart ones are doing it while they are still alive.

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Every smoker quits smoking sooner or later!

Only the smart ones are doing it while they are still alive.

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post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for the replies. It is more than greatly appreciated. I believe i will end up taking an apprenticeship program and do my best. I do not have any issue standing for 8, 10, even like 15 hours a day to be honest. I love the art of cooking and always love trying new things. for a 21 year old i have an incredible work ethic and am always asking questions. I think an apprenticeship would also be better because like i said i do have prep experience and some knife skills. Now another question would be what school would be the better choice in a chef's eyes, or if it even matters. I have the opportunity to go to George Brown College or Humber College and what should I look at first? A place such as a family restaurant or a conference center where the prep is the main concern for the next day? Again with the pressure of finishing a job in my current field is no issue so i think i can cut it in a place such as an east side Mario's or a more upscale restaurant. Again greatly appreciative to all that have responded.
 

post #10 of 11

Wishing you the very Best

Every smoker quits smoking sooner or later!

Only the smart ones are doing it while they are still alive.

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Every smoker quits smoking sooner or later!

Only the smart ones are doing it while they are still alive.

Reply
post #11 of 11

O.K. check out ITA (industry training authority) this is a federal dept. that makes the trade qualifications. 

Your goal is to get the Red Seal qualification which is for cooks. 

Check to see which schools have progarms that mesh with the ONT. red seal program.  Remember each province has different qualifications and tests for a cook's red seal.

 

Most experienced employer have "0" preference for the culinary school you graduated from..............

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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