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To school or not to school that is thy question..

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Alright I'm 18 with about 2-3 years of cooking experience. I love cooking. But, how far can I go with it? Everyone at school and my household is telling to me to go to a culinary school and get some degrees. Everyone I work with in the kitchen tells me to build a resume and skip the schooling part. Cooking is becoming a passion and Its my happy place, I would rather be working in the kitchen then relaxing at home or even hang out with friends. So would school  be a waste of time/money or should i follow through with it just to get certs? also what does it mean to "Stage" in a kitchen?

 

                          Thanks for all the answers,

                                               Geibers.

post #2 of 7

I have read some people advise against cooking school, but I tell ya, attending cooking school was some of the best years of my life. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything in the world.

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

Reply
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

People at school tell me College is a place to meet new people and get ideas going. What if I were to do like a community college? Something that wont keep me in debt for the rest of my life?

post #4 of 7

I'd say build your resume first, then head to school after you see how kitchens work from the top. I have the utmost respect for chefs who went to the school of hard knocks over CAI CIA or LeCordon Bleu grads.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Alright sweet tongue.gif sounds like the best of both worlds I'm looking forward to a life of hardwork, dedication, and food biggrin.gif
post #6 of 7

Go to school for connections.  If you live in a place with dead-end restaurants, go to school.  It will be your way into the real world.

post #7 of 7

I debated about this myself.  School, or an apprenticeship.  Eventually, the apprenticeship idea won out.  My younger brother began his culinary career via an apprenticeship and is now an executive chef, so I figured if he could do it so could I (gotta love sibling rivalry, right? :-) jk).  It's not easy, but then again neither is culinary school.  After talking with a few friends who are chefs, as well as a few of the older cooks I work with, and even my little brother, I've decided that IF I go to culinary school it will be after I have at least a few years of full-time experience in a kitchen.  At that point I wouldn't be going to learn to cook, per-se, but more to be shown a new way to look at things as well as to make connections that I might not otherwise make.  So far I've been doing well by learning in the kitchen on the job, though reading books (and forums) and talking to other chefs has certainly helped too.

 

My suggestion would be to find a job at a place that will take you on as an entry level cook (Cook 1 or similar) and be willing to teach you.  Stick with it a couple years and see if you're really wanting to invest large sums of money for a fancy piece of paper, or if you are getting by just as well with a less-"traditional" but equally valuable education.  It's worked for me so far, landing me a job running a pastry line for a while, and now a Cook 2 position as a line cook.  Either way, I wish you good luck and hope you continue to enjoy, and be passionate about, cooking!

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