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What To Expect From Culinary School?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hello ladies and gents, pretty new here, been reading for awhile though. I was just wondering if I could get some guidance and advice.

Right now im 17 years old working as a line cook in a pretty dumb place. I don't have a mentor chef and its just not a good learning experience for me in my opinion ( been here over a year ).


In the fall I will be attending a very good local community college culinary program. My question to you guys ( this may have been asked 100000 times sorry ) Will culinary school give me a good basic understanding of food and cooking. I feel that I don't know much and don't learn much from my current job, but I want to eventually make it to a sous somewhere nice in around 5 years.



Also what advice do you recommend for me to find another restaurant that will give me a great learning experience. I want to get another cooking job, but I don't want to get hired at another place and be taught how to dice up vegetables and waste my time.


Thank you !!

post #2 of 5

Bradyflay, as someone who graduated from a culinary school not too long ago I must tell you, culinary programs are meant to accommodate everyone from the professional cook to someone who can't boil water. However, if you want to be a sous chef one day I can honestly say that having a degree does give you a "one up" on others and also a place to assist you in finding jobs. Often there's a person at the school who can match you with different places to work and with certain chefs/jobs that you'll get along with, too, especially at a culinary school. But, YES, you'll get a basic understanding of cooking techniques, industry expectations and protocol.


This also depends on the program itself though. I went to a college that classically trained us on how to make soups and stocks, to baking bread, to supervision management, etc. etc. 


Perhaps it's your job environment? Not to put down some places but in fine-dining you often meet a more serious caliber of chef. In my kitchen we all have degrees and are all passionate about what we do. (Not that having a degree means someone is more passionate and 2 years after culinary school details on what you learned become blurry and you rely on what you've learned on a day-to-day anyway but people that are willing to commit to greatness are willing to jump through as many hoops, like a school, to get there). Many have worked for celebrities, won awards, work with local schools, etc.


I think you should try to find where the top/most popular restaurants or chefs are in your area and try to work for them! There's a good chance that their success is being driven by a passion to produce good food and make people happy!


Good luck!

post #3 of 5

I would most likely switch jobs and gain some actual culinary experience before going to school ( this is if you dont know the basics ) . by what you are saying his place may be wasting your time.


In the first 3 months of working the line being mentored by a great chef i have learned alot more then most culinary school grads. 

There is one cook in the kitchen who has been in this industry for 30 years with no education , who falls short. 


Sure go to culinary school , but serioulsy work the feild a bit as well. 

Networking and culinary exp, is important in this industry. 


Just dont shoot yourself in the foot overthinking your opportunitys 

Edited by KaiqueKuisine - 7/2/13 at 5:20pm

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.



Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.


post #4 of 5

LOL. Some of these "Culinary School" thread answers really crack me the heck up.  After the day I've had I'm just gonna speak out.  


Anyone that wants to tell anyone else that they've learned more in 3-months on the line mentored by a "great chef" than I did from the CIA needs to open up some windows and get some fresh air.  Good experience is a really really nice thing.  That however, doesn't make a good education worthless.  


Kid, you're gonna go to a community college.  I love community colleges.  Don't worry about anything going in, just be ready for what they can give you and greedily take as much as you can get.  Pay attention to what is being taught.  When you're progressing you can figure out what's best for you and you can filter out what is not so important.  Reading is fundamental ... Listening is a skill. 

post #5 of 5



Just to add my two cents worth. There are two aspects to a well rounded education. Knowledge and experience. Both are important. 

Does your school have an apprenticeship program? If so, great. If not, they may be able to help you find a decent kitchen to work in.

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