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Looking for a school that wont jip me. Saint louis, MO

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone, new to the forums and I have finally taken a step into a direction of a possible career. I enjoy cooking in my kitchen, I enjoy fast paced atmospheres and critical thinking and I think becoming a chef is just what I am looking for.

 

Their are a few schools out where I live and i do searches and get mixed reviews on them.

the schools in question are Le Cordon Bleu, Le'cole Culinaire a few of the Community colleges( require a bunch of stuff before you can even get into the program) and Culinary Institute of Saint Louis. They all seem to offer pretty much the same things just different prices.

 

More on what im specifically looking for is the fundamentals of cooking, prepping, cutting, chopping. Im not really looking to spend 2 years doing this so something with a about 10-12 months span. A place where i can get into a restaurant and start working my way up( thats how it always is right?)

 

In any case what are some experiences you guys/gals may have had with these hands on schools, good, bad, ok

 

Any info would be of great help as i dont want to be in debt for no reason.

 

Thanks again for the info.

post #2 of 10

I highly recommend to anyone that they get a years worth of experience working in kitchens before making a decision on whether or not to attend culinary school. Most people will spend 40- 50 years of their lives working, so taken in that context...what is one year before making a decision that has financial consequences.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post
 

I highly recommend to anyone that they get a years worth of experience working in kitchens before making a decision on whether or not to attend culinary school. Most people will spend 40- 50 years of their lives working, so taken in that context...what is one year before making a decision that has financial consequences.

Noted, thank you friend. What exactly would be a place to start. Basically what im being fed by alot of places with no exp good luck period and with no degree/training you just get laughed at now a days. Would a suggestion like going and working at like a chain restaurant like chilis, outback, TGI Fridays be places to start?

post #4 of 10
Are you applying for line cook jobs? Or prep/dish? Thats the real entry level. Degree and no experience is worse in a lot of people's eyes than experience and no degree.
As an aside, I had a conversation with a guy I went to culinary school with the other day, and he asked me, "Who that we went to school with is still is still in the business?" I though about it, and told him, "Everyone that was already in it when they started school."
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLambertII View Post
 

Basically what im being fed by alot of places with no exp good luck period and with no degree/training you just get laughed at now a days.

I don't feel that this is the case especially in a chef driven restaurant. When hiring, I look for attitude more than I do experience. I can teach skills, attitude is harder to transmit. If you go to a culinary program that is 12 months long, you would have some knowledge but not really much in the way of actually working experience anyway. Working skills are learned much faster in a restaurant environment than in a classroom one.

 

Chains would definitely give you a foot in the door as far as kitchen skills thus making you more marketable, but my guess is that you will have better luck going for an entry level position in a scratch kitchen. I could be wrong, but I think chains want people that are more ready to hit the ground running, so to speak, with some experience in their background. Their focus is less on training than it is on producing; but then I am strictly guessing because experience in chain work is not my background.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #6 of 10
I would second that because, the more of a scratch kitchen you're in, the more transferable skills you'll learn. Chains tend to use a lot of the same pre-prepared products; consistancy is very important for them, over a very wide field, after all. So you would learn.production skills, but might not actually learn to cook anything. Last place I worked was a totally scratch kitchen and I saw a couple.of very fine cooks come.out.of there with a couple of years there and no other experience. Of course it also depends on you, and the chef, but, the more you can learn at any one place, the better.
But remember, without experience, you will most likely be hired for prep or pantry positions. Hot line, you at least want someone who knows how to move in a kitchen; give yourself 6 months or so first.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grande View Post

Are you applying for line cook jobs? Or prep/dish? Thats the real entry level. Degree and no experience is worse in a lot of people's eyes than experience and no degree.
As an aside, I had a conversation with a guy I went to culinary school with the other day, and he asked me, "Who that we went to school with is still is still in the business?" I though about it, and told him, "Everyone that was already in it when they started school."

Ive been applying for prep cook, most place. Ive gone require 2+ years exp. Which is a drag, i thought that was the lowest position on the ladder? In any case.the advice was nice thank you.
post #8 of 10
Keep trying, because, sooner or later you'll find someone who will let you get your foot in the door. We all started somewhere!
post #9 of 10

Hi JLambertII,

 

I highly recommend you check your local community college and see if they offer culinary classes. Community college is going to be the most affordable route to learn an education and I can't recommend community college enough.

 

I'm in the culinary arts program through my community college and I love it. I have learned so much from all of my instructors and their teaching has been invaluable. My community college placed 100% of their culinary students last year with full-time jobs, so that's very telling about how awesome this program is.

post #10 of 10

Necroposting.

 

In my experience, the corporate chains have much more extensive training than many other places where I live.  They really develop people for their positions.  It is not extensive culinary education, but they do much better training than any of the other restaurants in this city.  Once you work at a few of them, you learn quite a bit.  The trouble is many want some kitchen experience, even if not much, so you may end up starting off doing FOH or dishes before getting to cook, but it'll get you there.  I've worked in a lot of different places, nothing fine dining though, and the independent joints typically put jack into people.  You come in guns blazing or GTFO.  But then again my city is going down the tubes, there are a ton of experienced cooks always gunning for the jobs, and the little guy really cannot afford it.  Places usually do not have to train or move people up to stay staffed for the season.  The chains do it because they do not want a lot of these people, for good reasons, and because they usually promote from within.  However, once you hit the Fingerlakes region of NY and even just the general country, it is totally different.  I grew up in a total podunk town and came up from a dishwasher to a breakfast cook, and moved on from there to many places before I moved to my city.  Every area or city is different though.  There are tons of CL ads for dishwashers in my city that literally want career dishwashers.  A dishwasher resume and 3 references for washing dishes.  Many cook ads will say exactly the experience they want.  You hardly ever see a prep cook job posting.  I don't know how those jobs are getting filled.  I've had lots of line cook jobs where I come in and prep for three hours with the night crew and then we do dinner service.  Most servers I know got started in a corporate place.  Good luck getting into bartending around here. 

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