I'm new to the forums, as I've been recently been thinking about attending the French Culinary Institute (or International Culinary Center) for their "International Art of Bread Baking" course in order to start off a career within the culinary industry. Reasons for choosing the FCI (ICC) and their bread baking "career program" are mostly influenced by their reputation within the industry as one of the top culinary schools in the country and that their bread baking course is a 1/4 of their "Classic Culinary Arts" or "Classic Pastry Arts" programs (around $11,000 - $12,000 vs. $35,000 - $48,000).
Now that's squared away I was wondering if anyone had any experiences with the FCI (ICC) with their "career programs" and how well their career department works with the alumni after they have graduated. I'm well aware that you only get so much out of these programs and you get more from it the more you put in and that jobs in the industry aren't filled with glamour, high paying wages and usually require long hours on your feet, but I'd rather do something that I'm interested in than just doing a job. Anyway, any incite would be most appreciated as well as things that you may feel the need to fill me on. I'm ignorant of how the industry actually works, having never worked in a professional kitchen (advice on how to get my foot in the door without any professional experience or schooling would also be appreciated) so feel free to tell me anything and everything of your experiences that might help me along.
And anyone who has or is working in NYC, what kind of food certification do you look for when you hire new people (food safety and the like)? Would it help if I had some kind of food safety certification to get work in a kitchen (dishwashing, prep, etc.) without any real experience?
Thank you for your time and I'm looking forward to any answers or advice you can give me.
Oh, I also feel I'm slightly better off than most "newbies" in culinary school after cooking majority of my family's meals for the past 2 1/2 years. I feel like I have reasonably good knife skills, understanding the basics of baking, cooking, braising, stewing, etc. and for the most part, aside from the occasional misstep or experiment gone wrong, I do pretty well in the kitchen. Anyway, again thanks for taking your time.