or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Culinary Students › General Culinary School Discussions › Go or not to go that is the question.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Go or not to go that is the question.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Now I know there are a lot of chefs out there that say you don't need to go to culinary school. Save your money and learn on the job. There is truth to that statement a lot of great chefs never went to culinary school, such as, Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsey. Can I get some opinions on this topic?

post #2 of 12
Culinary school is good to learn classical techniques and basics but IMHO a lot of what is taught gets thrown out once on the line.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

I have definately heard that before. 

post #4 of 12
Like i said though...it is great for learning classical cookery. Another down side is major debt. Le cordon bleu tuition is round about $40000. Also to consider is that once you graduate you aren't gonna be some top chef. That is a common misconception. Chances are you will land a job starting no more then $10/hr and have to work your way up anyways. But dont let me burst your bubble. Shoot for your dreams. Just some honest opinions.
post #5 of 12

I dont know how things are in the US. but here Denmark Culinary school is free to attent the way our education works here in Denmark is simple but very good, you start out with a gentle start 20-40 weeks of school, where you learn basic theory about cooking etc. once those 20-40 weeks are done you are on your own, you need to land a job in a restaurant to continue your education, then comes 3 school periods so you work like 3 years out of 3 years and 9 months. so that gives you almost 4 years of experience + papers. that's how we do it in Denmark.

but if i was an american citizen i would choose school over work very carefully, seems like it cost alot of money to learn basic theory, and once done you are still "green"
 

post #6 of 12
Here in the U.S. culinary courses usually go about 15 months. The first 12 are in school learn theory and basics then 3 month intership of your choosing. Graduate with papers but still gotta prove yourself from bottom up.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by guamcook View Post

Here in the U.S. culinary courses usually go about 15 months. The first 12 are in school learn theory and basics then 3 month intership of your choosing. Graduate with papers but still gotta prove yourself from bottom up.

Word, i am in the U.S. so i get it. I wanna go to the CIA. Go big or go home. Only school im willing to go into debt for. But what it comes down to is acheiveing my dream.

post #8 of 12

School is good for learning techniques, and for giving you more time to perfect them in a lower stress environment.  But I wouldn't say that everything gets thrown out once you're in the real world.  I've definitely used stuff that I learned in school out in a real kitchen.

post #9 of 12
Never said "everything". But "a lot". Big difference.
post #10 of 12

Common, and very sensible, advice on this matter is to not go unless you've already got some restaurant experience.  At least that way you know what you are getting into and that you can actually do it and will actually like it.  Too many go into debt going to culinary school and then either aren't capable of the work or end up hating it, thinking its more like it seems on Top Chef than it really is.

 

Personally, I don't see the need for the expensive 2 year programs.  There are plenty of community colleges and technical schools that will offer the same instruction for a lot less money.  40 or 50k to get a job at 8 to 10 an hour doesn't make sense to me.

 

And to be frank, in my personal experience I don't see much difference between the guys who went to school and those who didn't.  Just looking at the last 4 cooks I've worked with who went to culinary school:  

 

1) LCB grad with 6 months post school experience:  slow and steady, but still requires specific instruction for basic things, such as roasting chicken and making stock, and has very poor knife skills

 

2) Pittsburgh CI grad, with a few years experience:  knew enough, but slow and lazy and messy.  Could at least cut things straight.

 

3) another PCI grad, solid cook, but arrogant as hell and very hard to work with.  Quit on the job then asked to come back a month later.  (When he first started he asked the saute cook with 12 years experience where he went to school, and the saute guy said he didn't.  PCI grad then said "Well, theres nothing I can learn from you.")

 

4) community college grad, with no experience.  Very quickly became one of the best line cooks I've ever seen.  Had him running wheel within 6 months.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wvman2374 View Post

Common, and very sensible, advice on this matter is to not go unless you've already got some restaurant experience.  At least that way you know what you are getting into and that you can actually do it and will actually like it.  Too many go into debt going to culinary school and then either aren't capable of the work or end up hating it, thinking its more like it seems on Top Chef than it really is.

 

Personally, I don't see the need for the expensive 2 year programs.  There are plenty of community colleges and technical schools that will offer the same instruction for a lot less money.  40 or 50k to get a job at 8 to 10 an hour doesn't make sense to me.

 

And to be frank, in my personal experience I don't see much difference between the guys who went to school and those who didn't.  Just looking at the last 4 cooks I've worked with who went to culinary school:  

 

1) LCB grad with 6 months post school experience:  slow and steady, but still requires specific instruction for basic things, such as roasting chicken and making stock, and has very poor knife skills

 

2) Pittsburgh CI grad, with a few years experience:  knew enough, but slow and lazy and messy.  Could at least cut things straight.

 

3) another PCI grad, solid cook, but arrogant as hell and very hard to work with.  Quit on the job then asked to come back a month later.  (When he first started he asked the saute cook with 12 years experience where he went to school, and the saute guy said he didn't.  PCI grad then said "Well, theres nothing I can learn from you.")

 

4) community college grad, with no experience.  Very quickly became one of the best line cooks I've ever seen.  Had him running wheel within 6 months.

Well, friend i completely agree with you. I do have experience though and unlike most people who want to go to school for culinary I'm not looking to get rich, I want to go cuz I love food, love to cook and my dream is to become a CMC. Its a lot of work and I love the life. I hate the fact im away from the kitchen atm. I am constantly reading about it too haha. Recently order Escoffier and cant wait to sit down and study that.

post #12 of 12
I guess I'm biased against school (for the u.s.) cuz I've worked with just guys that didn't go to school and the ones that did seem to think they know everything about cooking but are very very slow and would eventually not make it on the line. I agree however school is still a good idea after you've got a handle on working as a cook already for a bit. not only will it help your pay where your working, but its an added credential. don't go to a big price tagged school. just go somewhere. le cordon bleu teaches the same thing the community college teaches.. and in the cooking world and school, it doesnt matter where you went.. usually doesn't matter IF you went.. but if you get a degree its an added credential.. just be prepared to pay it back..

I was reading abt how things are like in Denmark and might I say... I would die to move there now haha!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Culinary Students › General Culinary School Discussions › Go or not to go that is the question.