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Attending Johnson and Wales University - any suggestions?post #1 of 73/13/14 at 6:28amThread Starter
Gear mentioned in this thread:post #2 of 73/13/14 at 1:43pm
Have you checked out the feature we have on ChefTalk calledA Day In The Life Of An American Culinary Student BlogBy Cristina7 • Posted • 5208 views
It is an online journal of a student who attended Johnson and Wales University. Kept a lot through pretty much the whole experience (career changer). It is pretty old but still useful I think.Thanks,
ChefTalk.com Founderpost #3 of 73/15/14 at 2:48amThread Starterpost #4 of 73/15/14 at 7:05pm
Are you going to the Rhode Island campus? J&W is a lot like CIA so here are a few suggestions.
- Push yourself to do all the extra work you can with chefs. The chefs at the school get asked to do a ton of caterings dinner etc etc so ask the chefs if you can help out.
- The schools offer a lot of extra cooking opportunities so take them they are a great way to build on the education. For example I used to get up on Saturday morning to help bake rolls and bread for the restaurants which were open that day.
- Start thinking about your externship early. I don't recommend a year stick with the standard time so you can get back to school and finish up. Some kids took a year off to go work in Europe and I don't think it is wise. Do that after school.
- Don't do your externship at one of the big restaurants with one of the big chefs. Go to a place where they will let you actually cook. Some of my classmates signed up with Marcel Desaulniers and they spent most of their time cutting vegetables and cleaning lettuce. I went to my home town had free room and board and worked at the Four Seasons. I did butchering, ice carving, charcuterie, worked the hot line, breakfast, pastry and banquets.
- Don't be afraid to turn down an externship if you are not going to learn anything and be treated like trash. Ask them specific questions about what they can offer an extern.
Hope that helps.Thanks,
ChefTalk.com Founderpost #5 of 73/18/14 at 8:06am
I am a graduate of the 4 year Baking and Pastry program at the Providence J&W campus and it was the best career move you can make. The Providence campus is the center of the school and that goes to the quality of the Chef's and equipment, not saying that the others are slighted but it was a big difference from when I went. Going to J&W gives you a chance to experiment with techniques and ingredients that some Chef's who have been in the field all their lives have never used. It does not mean that when you graduate you are a Chef, but it gives you many more tools to jump ahead on that road.
My first Chef broke it down for us to the minute of what our education will cost us, this showed us right away that you get out what you put into the program. If one of your Chef's needs an assistant for a project, volunteer. If there is an event coming up, look at it as a learning opportunity. Every visiting Chef that comes in for a demo, volunteer to work with them. I was lucky and got to spend extra time with one of my Chef's working on wedding cakes with her, not only did this give me some amazing experience but it also led to some great contacts. I took my classes in the morning so that I could take advantage of as many of these possibilities as I could, some nights I did not get in until 11, had homework to do and make it to class ready for the next morning.
In a nutshell, every minute that you spend there should be productive. Not just on campus but off, having a three day weekend also gave me the opportunity to work in a French Pastry Shop. Was I exhausted, sure but did I come out of it having spent more than two years working in Europe and in a string of Star and High-end Resorts in the States. Would I have been able to do this without J&W, doubtful. It is the place that will give you the tools and the jump-start to becoming a Chef.
Good Luck!post #6 of 73/18/14 at 8:34ampost #7 of 73/24/14 at 3:39pm
I am just finishing up my internship and will be receiving my Associate's in Culinary Arts in May. My best advice is this:
Work in a restaurant, whether it be before or during school. I worked full time while being a full time student. I may not have been able to apply myself as much I would've liked to in school, but I still maintained a 3.5 GPA and was able to apply what I learned in school into the real world.
Don't come out of school with a huge head. Culinary school is great and exposes you to a lot of different aspects of the world, but school(JWU in particular) doesn't exactly "prepare" you for the speed and multi-tasking that the business requires.There were classes where 5-6 students had 3 recipes to prepare as a group: a protein, veg, and some sort of potatoes. That will NEVER happen in most restaurants.
Basically, take what you can from school while also understanding that a lot of what is done in school, isn't practical in the real world. Have fun!
- Attending Johnson and Wales University - any suggestions?
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