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Question on what to look for when choosing a school

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hello All,

     I had a question regarding culinary schools, may have already been asked, but i hope some of you Chefs could help me out. I will eventually like to go to culinary school after I finish my masters degree. The thing is, I dont really have a desire to open up a restaurant or work in one; I mainly want to do the school for my own personal benefit. Watching some cooking shows really intrigued me and I would love to learn how to just see different ingredients and know what to make or have creative ideas like to pro chefs. I would love to be well versed many different aspects and styles: pastry, French, Italian etc. I would love to know how to do all the technical skills like they use in high end restaurants like "The French Laundry" and even just basic skills and techniques to make simple dishes different. Like I said, this would just be for my own personal benefit and for my family, or maybe even have a personal chef business on the side (who knows).  My question is which would be a good school to go to? Currently I am in Austin, Texas and may be here or in Dallas for the next few years, but then will try to move somewhere between Portland Oregon and Seattle. Could you please give me some advice on what to look for when choosing a school. Thank You

post #2 of 3

Culinary school is pretty expensive. Unless you like spending money and time while your masters grows stale for skills you'll make no money with, skip culinary school. 

 

Culinary school will cover a lot of material that is of no particular use to a home cook, even a very skilled home cook. You can get the necessary information and training through books and videos. 

 

An Edge in the Kitchen by Chad Ward is a very good book on knife skills. You'll need to spend time actually using the knife in your in your cooking and practicing what he teaches. Knife skills are the basis of cooking. </<br />
on food and cooking by Harold McGee

The chef's art by Wayne gisslen.

I'll post when my home internet gets back up

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 3

Applying for a job has tricks to it. Where you don't want to work as a food pro. you'll have a confusing presentation with culinary school after your masters. You have to explain the gap since your graduation without a job in the field, and showing culinary school just makes you look conflicted and confused about your life path, at least from the prospective employers position. 

 

You can learn cooking as I pointed out above, from books, and videos. You can take continuing education courses from local community colleges that teach culinary classes. You can take public education courses as well, usually on specific areas of cooking, all while making money from your masters in your truly chosen field. Many restaurants offer the occasional class and tasting specials that are educational. 

 

More books to consider

 

Modernist Cuisine, covers lots of the cutting edge ideas and practices as well as some molecular Gastronomy. Quite expensive set of books. 

 

Wayne Gisslen again, he's written a number of culinary textbooks for schools, and I like them better than the CIA ones generally. 

 

America's Test Kitchen Cooking School. This is a good amateur introductory text with a lot of detailed explanation about why they do it that way and how it produces a particular result. The Cooks Illustrated/Americas Test Kitchen cookbooks are all this way. Good basic starting information. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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