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Looking for a little guidance

Poll Results: What Culinary College would you choose?

 
  • 0% (0)
    Le Cordon Bleu
  • 0% (0)
    The Art Institute
  • 0% (0)
    Keiser
  • 100% (1)
    Other (list in comments)
1 Total Vote  
post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Let me tell you a little about myself before we get started poking fun and trying to help me. I am currently in my Senior year at Florida State University, studying Psychology/International Affairs. Why, you ask? Let's just say I spent more time than I should have pursuing this degree, and it's too late to turn around and change. 

 

I have been cooking for the last 4-5 years and I love it. I love restaurants.. being in them, seeing happy people eating good food, watching chefs create art.. and so on. I've been thinking about owning a restaurant for a long time, even while I've been working my way through college. I've looked at every possible future I can imagine, and every future I see, I am owning a restaurant. I am not the most gifted chef of the 21st century, but I know my way around a kitchen and study hard/practice to get better.

 

I want to obtain a culinary degree and I've been looking around at schools, but honestly... something like Le Cordon Bleu is in my price range, since CIA is just too expensive. Is a B.A. and a Culinary degree going to help obtain a job as General Manager, or am I wasting my time with Culinary School? The General Manager position would be short lived, but mainly to help me grow accustomed to restaurant from the managers end, and not so much the cooks end. 

 

I won't be entering right away, since I want want to travel Asia while teaching English, after college and get some first hand experience cooking while I'm there. It will be a good 3-4 years before I commit to a school/get a "real" managers job. 

 

I am one of those people who is always looking to the future so that I don't miss anything. I am planning ahead, I guess. 

 

Thanks for any information you can provide. Feel free to ask if you have any follow up questions that I did not address. 

 

Cheers.

post #2 of 5

I wouldnt bother with a degree , maybe an intensive culinary course , but i much rather learn from someone who has worked the industry. 

 

Right now im going after my management degree when i finish ill be 23...

At most ill do a 1 year intensive culinary course while working around in a few places. I dont want to spend cash especially when i have had great opportunities learning from chefs who kept me under their wings. 

 

My advice stage, internship, get a job, work and learn by experience. 

Anything done in the kitchen can be learned as long as you are taught how to do it correctly. I have seen culinary school grads run around a kitchen and after 3 hours of hauling ass, they are probably regretting their choices. 

 

Finish your current degree, and attempt to find a job or 2 working the line even for a short period of time. 

Work at a small independent restaurant with a decent concept , and you will definetly learn a few things.

 

If you really are set on traveling, im sure it will only work in your favor as a cook. 

 

Just remember one thing.... if you really want to work in this industry it isnt easy (with a degree its easier but whatever). 

Just know how bad you want it, and be willing to put in long hours, work hard, probably have less of a social life and get home tired. 

The path is long, especially with so many things to learn, and you will never learn everything. 

If you fall in love with the industry, and enjoy what you do i doubt you will regret it, better yet you probably wont know how to live without it. 

 

P.S. never doubt the knowledge a Community college can give you. The curriclum is the same, and you can get your moneys worth depending on the institute. You may want to research some community colleges in your area with a culinary arts program. 


Edited by KaiqueKuisine - 1/9/14 at 5:34pm

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 #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks very much. I do have a thirst for cooking / restaurants. 

 

I actually went to a community college before attending Florida State University :)

 

I'm assuming you are referring to one like Keiser? Thanks!

post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef1991 View Post
 

. I am currently in my Senior year at Florida State University,

 

. I am not the most gifted chef of the 21st century, but I know my way around a kitchen and study hard/practice to get better.

 

 

My .02, and everyone has their own :) 

 

First off, grats on the national championship, I bet campus was NUTS!!!

 

The 2nd statement is pretty much all I cared about after reading your post, and I don't mean that in a bad way.

If you are willing to work harder, push farther, and never compromise your integrity or standards, then you are on the right path.

 

From your post I can't tell if you've been cooking in restaurants for 4-5 years or just cooking. So, if you HAVE been working in kitchens, disregard and skip ahead lol. If you HAVEN'T actually worked in a kitchen yet, DO IT! The kitchen is not all the glitter and glam and sunshine that it's made out to be. I know and have witnessed several people who KNEW they wanted to be a chef and go to culinary school get broken and beat down their first couple of nights in a kitchen. If they really are hungry for it.. they come back. Get in a kitchen and work your ass off, give it 6 months and you'll know if this is something you want a career doing. It's not easy and just because you love food and cooking doesn't mean you will like working in a restaurant.

 

As far as for culinary school.. go out and talk to as many chefs as possible in your area, and ask their opinions about culinary school. They are going to be the ones doing the hiring, and you should be able to get a feel for how important having a degree is anyway.

 

My personal opinion is, if your drive and determination is as good as it seems, get on google or sites such as this one and teach yourself what you want to learn. There are 89340392745 videos online teaching you how to cook whatever dish you want, or use whatever technique you want. I literally have a 5 subject notebook labeled GOOGLE, every time I come across something at work, or an idea about food that I don't know how to do, I'll write it down and cross it off later after I have researched it.

 

Also, you said you've been working in a kitchen for 4-5 years now? Think about it this way, you are probably going to know.. or have been exposed to everything you will be shown in the first 2.5 years at culinary school. Is it worth all the potential debt you would be exposed to? 

 

Another thing to think about is.. will the amount of pay increase you get (if any) for having a degree be substantial enough to make it worth the debt? If you will only be getting a $1.50 raise, and it costs $40,000 for school, probably not worth it.

 

Sorry for the book haha, just some things to think about. If it weren't for someone sitting me down and walking me through this type of thinking, I would have went $50,000 in debt and went to culinary school, which is completely insane for my area, so I am pretty passionate about this subject.

 

Feel free to ask any other questions you may have

post #5 of 5
I'm assuming you are referring to one like Keiser? Thanks! 

Keiser is actually a bit pricey, and is considered a tech/vocational school. I'm studying Baking and Pastry Management at Valencia (Community) College in Orlando, and my financial aid pays for the whole thing. I was quite resistant to it at first because I had planned to attend Johnson and Wales and a community college was just not that appealing. I'm on my second semester now, and I honestly feel like I'm learning exactly the same thing that students at private schools are. It's a longer program for sure - it will take me three years to finish instead of one - but the fact that I won't have a bunch of student loans and I'll have some in-depth training on the business aspect of being a chef is worth it to me. When I first started at Valencia I felt pretty deprived, but I got over myself and I would absolutely recommend a community college program to others. Good luck, and go 'Noles!! :)

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