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Calling all culinary school students and chefs! Biggest complaint? - Page 3

post #61 of 64

NO ... it's not that complicated. As an example, if YOU were to work in my kitchen, I would still show you how I would want things done. You might be the bestest greatest super-terrificest butcher in the world. I still like things done the way I like things done. I've let homeless guys trim out a coupla zillion pounds of hanger steak to get the basic feel of working with sharp knives. A couple of them are good enough to break down and/or trim out different steaks.

post #62 of 64

Iceman , I think we're all getting away from the point of the actual thread, which is our biggest complaints about culinary school.


Through your posts, I think you've made it clear that YOU personally, being a culinary instructor, do things a certain way & that YOU personally got a lot more out of culinary school than most people.


I PERSONALLY didn't learn flavor profiles, much butchering skills, etc. because each class was a 9 day crash course in the subject. I don't know about you guys, but I need repetition to learn a new skills. If I'm shown how to filet a fish once, given 3 fish to be filleted, & then spending the next year and a half never doing that skill again, I'm going to forget it.


I worked in high volume restaurants all through my Associate's degree, at a young age to boot. I realized very quickly that the restaurant life and the sacrifices that are associated with it was not something I wanted, so I found my niche to be food science & R&D. The reason why there's a shortage of cooks currently is that young people are realizing that, despite their love & passion for food, the sacrifices in personal life & compensation associated with restaurants is not worth it. With the amount of careers out there, and the influx of technology jobs, cooking is losing it's attraction that it's held for many years.


Culinary school should teach you how to be a good prep cook, a good line cook, a good pastry associate, &, in bachelor's degree programs, how to take these skills into a management position. The details of what specifically you produce is unimportant, as regardless of where you end up working the chef is going to teach you how HE/SHE wants things done & how their dishes are produced. If culinary school could teach speed, how to handle large amount of stress & pressure, consistency, organization, & cleanliness at an extremely high level, I think they'd be viewed in a much higher regard.

post #63 of 64

To be perfectly honest, I left the hot kitchen 9 years ago when I walked into the pastry kitchen.  That being said, I have a lot of contact with culinary students AND culinary instructors.


I have relationships with 3 culinary schools, and at least once a year all three send me at least one student for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 2 days.  By sheer coincidence, I've had no "deadbeats" in all these years, they've all showed up on time, ready for work, with no attitudes of entitlement.


One of the first things they learn is how to temper chocolate.  They've all taken the "block" or "lab" at school, and know most of theory and the techniques, it's just that they've never really done it enough.  So they temper my 70%, my milk, and my white couverturtes, usually in batches between 7 and 20 kgs every day.  At the end of 2 weeks most of them have enough repetition to master this basic technique.  To compare to the hot kitchen, making an emulsion sauce--either hot or cold-- requires a certain amount of repetition as well.


Then on to the dough sheeter.  Two schools have such a machine, but more importantly every production bakery in the world has at least one.  Thing is, most students would rather roll their dough out by hand at school instead of lining up behind 15 other students just to roll out dough for two or three lousy pies.  Thus, no skill in using a labour saving machine.  So I give them a 6 kg hunk of dough that's 5"' thick and tell them to line out 72 tarts @ 3mm thick.  Small potatoes for any production bakery.  First thing I show them to do is to butterfly the dough with a knife--just like a pork chop.  Now its 2" thick and just thin  enough to slip under the rollers on the machine.  Then how to use the machine for production stuff, even cookies, scones, anything.  Then I show them how to use it to roll out marzipan, fondant, caramel, etc for confectionery purposes.


Throughout all of my posts in the 10 odd years I've been on this site, It's always been my view that school should be a supplement to the repetition and day-to-day activities in the workplace.  


What the typical N. American culinary school offers is "Front end loading".  That is, to cram the student with theory and knowledge, and then let them loose on the employer to gain the muscle memory and motor skills required to master the technique or skills.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #64 of 64
OK. ... I'm not a "culinary instructor". I'm an elementary school/high school teacher that just happens to be a working chef, who doesn't earn enough to make a living at it. I work in a number of shelters, for free, to be able to offset my faults in life so that I can get into Heaven. I also teach "cooking classes" to make whatever $$$ on the side ... and for the fame glory and women. I went to the CIA on the G.I.Bill until I ran out of $$$. I made the best of my time there learning what I could, not at all including manual labor skills, from the high-priced experts that happily took my $$$. I made them earn it. I can't at all tolerate bad kitchen help with poor work ethics.

I'd sit on this soap-box longer ... but the amwn4j2ejc3d.jpg are on.
Edited by IceMan - 3/18/16 at 9:10pm
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