I'm a 20-year-old female, unemployed and not in school (graduated hs), living in Canada (with citizenship). I've been struggling with what kind of career I want to go in for years now, and I'm on the verge of giving in to my passion for baking. I've applied to nursing, child & youth working, disability service worker, and teaching. I dropped out of my C&Y program, and withdrew my acceptance to DSW, got rejected for nursing, and am currently applying to become a teacher. Currently I am studying for the SAT in hopes to get an acceptance to an education program in the states, but as always, I'm questioning if I really want to go into this.
Everyone my age, and all my friends are in college/university, going into their 3rd years, but here I am, sitting at home and still struggling with my decisions, not even in my first year.
I also love drawing (I specialize in digital illustrations), but art is a hit or miss job in my opinion. You got to have the creativity and skills, and be able to draw what people like, and keep up with the times. Working with companies can be frustrating, and being a freelance artist is unstable and risky. As far as I can tell with my own skills and style, I won't be able to go far in the art industry, so, my only other option is baking.
I've had a passion for baking since I was a child, and I adore the beauty of it, the taste, and the compliments I receive for my pastries. I love going through cook books when I rather die than touch a school textbook. I've gone from baking box mixes, to the basics, all the way into french pastry. All my extra money is put into more baking tools or eating at other bakeries. As far as I've tried, bakerys in canada won't even let you volunteer unless you have some sort of a certificate or diploma. I was lucky enough to volunteer at a small bakery for the summer a few years ago, but it was a bread bakery rather than a pastry bakery. Either you needed close connections or a diploma (just for volunteering, not even paid).
I've been through a lot of these forums, seen the schools people recommended and didn't recommend, and here is how I've narrowed it down to:
- The Culinary Arts Academy in Switzerland
- Le Cordon Bleu in London or Paris
- The French Culinary Institute (ICC) in NYC
- Ecole Ferrandi in Paris
- The Holland College in P.E.I (Canada)
Schools I've rejected or am Unsure About:
- George Brown College: I've heard some good things on it, but as far as I'm concerned, it seems to be a program more orientated towards opening your own business.
- LCB in Quebec: Heard its one of the more expensive branches, and doesn't have good instructors. Heard many people say its worth more to go the LCB in Europe as it's taught differently.
- ENSP: Heard its disorganized with large class sizes, and cost more money than its worth
- Gastronomicon: Heard many terrible things about this one
- I need feedback on Ecole de Boulangerie et de Patisserie (EBP) and Ecole Francaise de Boulangerie & Patisserie d'Aurillac (EFBPA)?
Money is not the biggest problem for me. I'm willing to invest (aka get a loan) to go to a good school that will give me a good start, but at the same time, I don't want to waste my money on a "bad" school. Teacher to student ratios are important to me, and I'd prefer small class sizes, and schools that offer co-op experience in real kitchens. I don't speak French, but I'm willing to learn. I'd be applying to the 2016 or 2017 acceptances, not 2015. I understand people think education is not necessary, and many times a waste of time and money. I've learned as much as I could through self-learning using various resources, but I need a proper education.
I'm not interested in opening my own bakery (I suck at business), and I'd rather work in high-end catering or private restaurants (of course I understand I'll be starting out on the bottom), but I don't want to be stuck with dishwashing for years. I know I'm young, and I have years ahead of me, but I'd rather be able to get an education in baking now, and be able to spend my 20's working hard and building up my skills and get where I want to possibly be in my 30's. The cooking industry is about your experience and years, that I know. Besides, I can always apply to a minor 1-2 year program later if I need to. I don't want to be dawdling at minimum-pay jobs forever (I work at Michaels and study right now).
I'd really appreciate if people can give me feedback on these schools.