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Culinar school as gap year programme (hobby)?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I have a year free from about June 2014-July 2015. I'm going to university pursuing a degree after that (economics perhaps) but I wanted to fill my year with some practical (but structured) experience, just to get a change of pace from the heavy academic studies.

 

I love cooking, but have no "formal" experience with cooking/baking, except for what I've taught myself at home. A hobby chef in other words.

 

So I was wondering, could culinary school be something for me, as a person who absolutely loves cooking, but having no intention to actually enter the industry.

 

When it comes to budget I can afford to spend about 16-17 grand (slightly more if I absolutely have to, but preferably not)

 

Answers would be greatly appreciated

post #2 of 11

If you have the money and is something you want to do I guess. I personally wouldn't spend that kind of money on something I am not going to do as a career but no judgement here. I would take that time and travel, if I had money upfront. However, if it's something you think you might want to do you can also just go for certificates or a culinary school's "diploma" program. Some only last about six months and you learn much of what you would in a one year degree program but you don't take any general requirements of English, business, etc. Be aware these programs usually have the main focus of getting students ready for the industry. Some schools also just offer individual classes. Who knows, you might love it so much you will ditch your Plan A and cook for a living (this is probably not what you want to hear :p).

post #3 of 11

I agree , i wouldnt spend that much cash if i didnt intend to pursue the culinary industry. 

 

Why not just look into courses from ICC , that are courses that last short periods or a few weeks , and wont cost you more then 2 grand at most. They have courses for less then 500 but are for hobbists. 

 

You could always travel and learn about cuisine through experience , anything that isnt going to make you give up so much money for something you wont use or dont plan on pursuing. Sure you will learn a lot of things , but you wont be using it at work....

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

Dr.Seuss

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

Dr.Seuss

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post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm currently doing volunteer work in India and going to travel well into the next year so that's why I want to do something structured. Living in Norway with well-off parents and also leftover money from working during high school - yay!

 

Anyways, what about community colleges in the US. Do they teach you anything of value?

 

Also, regarding culinary school, approximately how skilled do you become? Is it just about banquets, knife sharpening and cutting potatoes quickly, or do you also learn skills that would be useful in day to day life?

 

Finally, regarding your last point. It is indeed possible that I would enjoy cooking so much that I'd just go on doing it. However, I have a friend who's sous-chef at a somwhat reputable restaurant here in Oslo, and he's telling me to stay away from the profession every time I talk to him :P I don't know if I'm cut out for 12 hour shifts.

 

Edit: To Kaique

 

The reasoning for not just "learning as I go" is that I'm already kinda doing that and I would love to be in a structured enviroment - such as in a school. Secondly, I feel like I've hit a roof of sorts currently. I can hit up almost any recipe on the web, make the dish and have it taste good, but the "x-factor" just isn't there. The finesse, the presentation, all the small tips and tricks that a good mentor could teach you. All the dishes I prepare have the characteristic "Grandma's special dish" feel over it - tastes well, but that's it.

 

Regarding ICC courses: If I'm not mistaken they seem to be short term courses. I'd prefer something that's at least 6 months or so, to really get to a more.. impressive (?) level

post #5 of 11

ICC has a 6 month culinary program , but get ready to pay way over 20 grand. 

I would just stage and get some knowledge actually working in the culinary field. 

 

Unless i actually planned to specialize , work , and get a degree in the field i would not waste a boat load of cash for something i wouldnt pursue. 

You said you may fall into the culinary industry , well i think you should decide on that because it can be  dog eat dog world , and if you are uncertain you will waste a lot of money , to enter the industry and end up regreting it. 

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

Dr.Seuss

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

Dr.Seuss

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post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorm View PostHowever, I have a friend who's sous-chef at a somwhat reputable restaurant here in Oslo, and he's telling me to stay away from the profession every time I talk to him :P I don't know if I'm cut out for 12 hour shifts.
 

Well maybe he should switch professions then. I know it is easy to get burnt out in the industry, I work 10 hour days because I want to save money for school but not because anyone is forcing me to. Personally I love the restaurant industry but can definitely tell you it is isn't for everyone.

I have not yet been to culinary school so anything I tell you is from alumni or my extensive research. It sounds like a diploma program would be great for you. America has many many options for culinary programs so just search around online. Maybe you should think about what region you would like to live in for six months. In general though you will learn quite a bit because most programs are completely hands on and have you cooking the entire program. You are going to learn a lot about knife skills and butchery, flavor components of a dish, presentation, etc. How much you learn is going to be how much you put into it.

 

There are good programs that do not cost as much as say The Art Institutes or Le Cordon Bleu. Check out Johnson & Welles website. There culinary programs are highly reputable and I've heard good things from Alumni. They are reasonably priced.

post #7 of 11

Hey Gorm,

 

My opinion is - DO IT.

 

You are in the very fortunate position of being able to afford to do this during your gap year, and you clearly really enjoy cooking and the structure of school. 

 

I get what your friend is saying, however, if you don’t give it a whirl how will you ever know whether that life is for you? If nothing else, you'll learn skills for life and seriously impress people at Uni.

 

Good luck. I wish I were in a similar position, I'd do it in a heartbeat!

 

Goldi

 

Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness

AUGUSTE ESCOFFIER

Ravioli
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Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness

AUGUSTE ESCOFFIER

Ravioli
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post #8 of 11

HY GOLDILOCKS

post #9 of 11

YOU ARE ONLINE?

post #10 of 11

http://www.tantemarie.co.uk/

 

Just outside London, England. Will teach you all the basics, classes are very small often a teacher per 5 students. Learn to cook on commercial and home equipment. Beautiful grounds and school building, herbs gardens, bay trees, Pub just down the street, if you can afford to do it just for personal edification this is the place to go.

 

They actually have a gap year program.

 

Really good place.

 

I went there.

post #11 of 11
Community colleges in the US would be a good option, or OCI in Portland is in your price range. ($17k I believe.)
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