What are some good schools and where should I look?
I want to go to culinary school in Europe SOOO BAD!!!
You obviously don't want it sooo-bad..... or else you would have done the research.
Seriously...all kidding aside... where are you from... where can you work... how much $$ do you have... what do you want to learn? How much time do you have? etc. etc.
Don't despair... sometimes the best school is not paid for at all, you just have to jump in and 'take things by the horns"
Hate to tell ya kid but you are a N. American with a N. American mentality.
You need a Europan mentality to make it in Europe.
How about one little subject like...
Speak anything other than english?
Culinary schools do exist, but all professional cooks in Europe don't go to a culinary school.
They do a 3 or a 4 yr apprenticeship
Foodpumps quite right, culinary schools in the US are like....
medical records or computer training--usually geared to hype
you up about the great job market and how many doors they'll open for you--
they get VERY excited about it--not suprising, a standard commission on
15 thousand (or more) tuition dollars IS exciting!'
And culinary schools in europe....that's been covered.
That said, there IS some good education available, depending
on what, and why, you want....
and now that I mention it, why DO you want it....soooo bad?
And pleeeze dont tell us it just sounds sooo cool and glamourous.
Ive been busy with family, work and school, no not scared off buddy! I can speak english, spanish, and french. I have been to Paris, Germany, London, Denmark, and Sweden. Oh and also a few states in the US. I am currently a caregiver but only because it pays and I love to work with people. Yes, I am young and I dont have very much experience in the culinary world. But I have been looking online and reading all about the school. I feel it helps when I hear what other went through to get where they were at. I bake and cook at home. Everything is fresh, I even make my own noodles. I want to be a pastry chef because my grandmother was a great Italian baker. She just passed resently, the week before Thanksgiving. When she passed she gave me all over her baking supplies. Dealing with her loss and finals in school and the stress from my job I have been a little busy. I am currently going to a JC and I hate it. I feel that I am not going anywhere in life and I am willing and more than ready to grab the "Bull by its Horns". But being young I just want to make sure I am going the right direction. I have been taught that "if you dont know something ask, because if you dont ask you wont know". So here I am asking.
Meezenplaz, Please dont judge me by my choice of words and/or lack of experience in the culinary world. I am a very intelligent woman and I have worked very hard for what I have in my life. Thank you. So to answer your question, I want to go to Europe "sooo bad", because traveling is a passion of mine. When I was 15 I traveled to europe to play soccer. When I was there I was excited to learn and discover what was out there. I found the culture interesting. I have a very open mind and I am willing to learn and see the world not through a text book but through my own eyes.
Ahhh, thanks for the clarification.
However, in your latest post you forgot to mention what languages you speak, or if you are taking up any language courses at the moment in preparation for your trip. The language you choose to learn will greatly influence the country you want to learn cooking in, right?
Many have overcome the challenge of learning a new language while on the job, and with a manual trade like cooking this is fairly easy to do. However culinary school encompasses reading and writing in their curriculum on a very regular basis, you are expected to read and write on the first day. Granted some schools will offer courses in Englisch, but you have to ask yourself why this is so. And if so, how will you learn the language of the country you are in?
As I said in my above post, in Europe most professionals of any trade do an apprenticeship. Private schools do exist but are not popular. Usually at the age of 15 students are streamlined into trades or higher education. Those that choose trades enter an apprenticeship. This is a 3 way contract between the apprentice, the employer, and the Gov't who supplies the classroom training and testing aspects--it is treated as high-school.
Thus, when the apprentice completes their apprenticeship they find themselves:
a) currently employed
b) earning a salary far better than minimum wage
c) have no educational debts
d) usually age 18 and ready to start their career.
So my advice on looking for a European culinary school is to pick a language you want to learn first, then pick the appropriate country.
Quit that caretaker's job unless you want to go the health care route.
Search out a place and score a dish washing job, talk to the chef and let him know you would be VERY interested in learning from the bottom up.
If he seems open to the idea (and most likely familiar with this request) get yourself hired.
Show up for work ON TIME, having just awoken from a good nite's sleep (umm, that means without a hangover) and be the best dishwasher on the planet earth.
I am aware that the dish pit is not very sexy, but keep your eyes and ears open and offer to jump in and help prep when the prep guy is helping on the line, cause the line is in the weeds.
That is how most people get started, just ask around and LISTEN to their stories, you may be surprised that a ticket to Europe is not a pre-requisite for a kick ass cheffin' career.
Hey All having been there and done it here is my two cents.
Not as big a deal as people make it. I worked in Switzerland, France, Greece and Italy and did just fine not speaking the language. When I was trying to get to Europe this was the number one thing people used to tell me to discourage me from going.. So this is NOT a reason to not go.
2.) Are you even ready?
There are many different options and I agree with the comment that you need to do some research into how to get over there. But more importantly why over in Europe? There are many great schools here. I personally would not go to culinary school in Europe I would take some basic classes here, work in some restaurants here to gain experience then go to Europe. Some of the best advice an older experience chef gave me prior to heading to Europe was the advice that I need to be ready. In other words you do not need to go to Europe to learn how to peel carrots, make stock etc etc. You go to Europe such as a place like George blanc or El buli to learn technique. You CAN"T do that if you don't have solid footing with the basics.
- Go through a company. This is a good option and a safe bet that will provide you with housing and papers. However if you get over there and hate it your stuck. A good friend of mine did this and had a fairly decent experience in Switzerland.
- Wing it. This is what I did. I bought a one way ticket and had one or two contacts and the rest worked itself out. You can start off in the Greek islands or the ski resorts in Switzerland or Italy to get a foot in the door. Once you start meeting chefs you can find other place to work. I started in France for a week then went to Switzerland for almost a year then went back to France. Met a chef from Italy and went there for a month. Find a contact in the Greek islands and spent the summer working at a top restaurant on the island. All without speaking the language all without papers.
- Cordon Bleu. Based on what you are interested in this would be my recommendation to you. All the classes in Paris are given in English so you would be fine. You would get the benefit of living in Paris and also you could probably spend time in some great restaurants in Paris just by asking.
Lastly, don't let people beat you down. I got so sick of people being negative towards my intention to go train in Europe. Make it your goal and make it happen. Just make sure you are mature enough as a cook before you run off.
Hope that helps you.
NIcko I do agree with a lot of what you say.
Regarding languages, I totally agree that it is not a big barrier if you are working. It become even less of a barrier if you have working experience. The O.P. did not say if they have working experience in the kitchen.
However school is school and you need a working knowledge of the language in order to write tests and read the required material.
If the school conducts it's classes in english, why bother going to Europe? If the school conducts it's classes in the country's language, you need to master that lngauge.
The O.P. did not ask questions about working in Europe, only about culinary schools
FP, Agreed if it is school then you have to speak the language. Cordon Bleu would probably be the best option since they have many international students from Russia, China, etc so the classes are taught by French instructors with English translators. I have attended class there and it is actually not bad with the English translation. Still I think if you are just seeking school why not go to school here there are so many great schools. Then go work over in Europe.
One of the most succinct and best pieces of sage advice I've seen here on CT. I'd just replace "train in Europe" with going to Culinary School or just about any thing else you want to do in life that other people try to talk you out of. It's always wise to listen to others with opposing views but never let any one else alter your plans with a few simple words.
If you want to be a Pastry Chef two places really stand out to me, Paris and Vienna. If this is the route you want to go be prepared for serious work.
If you have no real world concept of what FP is talking about spend a few months working for an American Chef and then a few months working for an Austrian......If you can last that long. ;) Euro standards are vastly different than ours. One way you can get some exposure to this in the US is working for Disney World. When I left the average length of employment for the MK (which was very "Americanized" in it's management )was around 15 years. The average Length of employment in Epcot (which is far more European) was around six months. That should give you some insight to the difference in kitchen culture.
FWIW Disney in years past had an apprenticeship program. It won't be any thing like going to Europe but it might be worth looking into as an option.
Best of Luck,
I want to go to Europe "sooo bad",
First remember those were your words, in the title of your post. I wasnt judging in any way,
(and certainly not questioning your intelligence) just asking, based on that, a previous comment, and the
sparseness of your post content.
But you have provided much more info since then, and have received some great advice from some great
Chefs in here, giving you some excellent thinking fodder.
Mine being....to weigh the facts, and what you want, decide wisely and pursue your dreams. TBH, I wouldnt mind
having gone to France myself.