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Seattle community college

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I've been reading these forums for hours now, and I must say I am very inpressed with the amount of help eveyone is willing to offer.

Thank you!

I have by no means come to any conclusion about my education, but I am getting closer every day. Mainly from the info found in these forums.

I'm thinking about the community college route for starters, just to see if it's what I want to do, without paying $40,000 to do it.
I've searched this forum, but with no luck for any info about Seattle community college.
Does anyone have any exp. there, or can someone say anything about their courses??

here is the url for anyone willing to take a look


Any input would be wonderful

post #2 of 11
That is an excellent program, IMHO. It's also ACF accredited I believe. See if you can take a "Basics" class without a full commitment to the entire program. But leave the option open, you may love it and decide to stay! Whatever school you do decide to attend just love it and learn from it.

Try and get a tour of the facilities and see what they have to offer. Talk to some students there and ask them if they like it there. Ask them if they would go somewhere else or not. Get so far into everyone's head that they'll mistake you for a psychiatrist, lol. This is possibly a career and you don't wanna take this lightly.

Check out the ACF website and www.shawguides.com for more info.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
post #3 of 11
I'm a recent graduate of Seattle Culinary Academy at Seattle Central Community College. If anyone is interested in picking my brain about the program, feel free.

The school has a website as well: http://www.seattleculinary.com

And yes, I loved my time there. :cool:

post #4 of 11
Hi Sleepy_Dragon
I got a few questions?

How was ur experience at the Seattle Culinary Academy ?
Does the school help with offcampus housing? If not what area i should look in to that is nearby to the school?
Does the school help with job placements?
post #5 of 11
Hi IronChef718:

My experience there was truly excellent. The faculty there are both accomplished by their own right and also very interested in helping hard-working students out any way they can. The curriculum is fairly broad atop a base of French culinary canon, you get plenty of opportunity to fabricate stuff as well as prep and work in the school's bistro and restaurant, and a good foundation in the science of cooking as well. The chef-instructors will also help you find ways to focus on anything which especially interests you.

The school also has plenty of community support. It's a state non-profit institution, and this is reflected in the menu prices, so we got to serve a loyal clientele as well. Local foodies know the lunches there are one of the best kept secrets in town.

Also, summer quarter is the garde manger quarter. This quarter can be taken consecutively, or you can take the first summer off to work or whatever, then come back to it the next summer before graduating.

I already had my own apartment so I have no idea about off-campus housing assistance. I know there's a board students post to in the main building seeking roommates. Other assistance is something you'll have to ask about.

For possible neighborhoods, SCCC is located on Capitol Hill. It's a popular area with a lot of nightlife and the rents are higher than average there, so demand is high. A studio would run you between $500 - $700, and the $500 ones which aren't dives are pretty hard to find. You may have better luck trying in the adjacent First Hill or Central District neighborhoods. University District is also an option. Also give a look on craigslist or thestranger.com, they will have local housing listings too.

Bear in mind, I was born and raised in New York so areas people consider a bit worrisome don't phase me in the least. Some people consider the Central District and University District such areas. I don't. As with anything, the more manicured and leafy a neighborhood you're looking for, the more you'll pay. But all of the above are fine places to live, and heavily serviced by bus lines, some which go right to the school itself.

As for job placements, yes the school does help, in an informal but well-networked manner. They aren't just going to hand out a job, but there are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to work or volunteer to work for area chefs. When the school arranges for such an event, seize the opportunity if you can, as much as you can. It's free training, not free labor... ;)

Area restaurants are also constantly posting job opportunities at the culinary office, and if you prove yourself at school, the chef-instructors will take notice and write up recommendations if asked.

Hope that answers your questions. Feel free to ask more.

post #6 of 11
Thanks Sleepy_Dragon
Your information was very helpful. 500-700 is my price range i want to spend for an apartment. That price range is great to a person like me from nyc. Seattle Culinary Academy is 3/4 less than culinary schools in nyc. A few other questions i have is

Does the school enough kitchens and enough equipment in those kitchens to give ou a well-rounded education?
Is their a library?
How much time is actually spent cooking?
post #7 of 11
Ah, in that case, housing prices in Seattle aren't going to be a shocker for you. In fact, if that is your price range, you can also find a nice studio in the heart of downtown Seattle. It's where I live, albeit frugally. If you can find a place near Pike Place Market, you'll be close to not only superb restaurants there and in the Belltown area, but grocery shopping will be stupidly easy, seasonal and abundant from both the year 'round vendors and the local farmers who set up stands.

One thing you'll have to look into is residency. I think people who haven't lived in the state for a certain amount of time before admission get charged out of state tuition rates. Not sure how much time that is, but the website or a call to the office should answer that.

As for having enough kitchens and equipment, in a word, yes. There are four kitchens with plenty of equipment, and you'll never lack for pots, pans and utensils, something some people bemoan when it's their turn in the dish pit... seriously though, equipment is not a worry.

There is a school library as well. It's not dedicated to just culinary, but what they've got for culinary is good, including the required texts for students who can't afford to buy their own. If you want more, definitely check out the newly constructed Seattle Public Library downtown, the culinary/cookbook section is huge. Between the two of those, you'd be set. Computer labs are also available and open until 10pm on weekdays, shorter hours on weekends.

As far as time spent cooking goes, you won't do very much of it for 1st quarter. The 1st quarter is the heaviest in terms of homework assignments and theory/book learning. But afternoons will be devoted to making stock and knife skills. All that you produce in 1st quarter will be used by 2nd quarter, so basically, 1st quarter are prep cooks for 2nd quarter's quantity cookery. You're looking at around 10 hours per week of hands-on time here.

For 2nd - 4th quarter and summer quarter, cooking time (prep, service, cleanup, labs) is around 20 - 24 hours a week. The program runs on a 4 day weekly schedule from 8am - 2:30pm, and service to the public is lunch from 11:15am - 1pm. The schedule was designed to allow people to hold full time jobs while going to school at the same time, and a significant part of the student body will be people who are already working in kitchens.

During your 5th and final quarter, you'd be mostly working on your Chef of the Day project and management classes. There is some kitchen time here, mostly in the form of recipe testing for your COD (personally I spent a lot of time doing testing for mine, both in school and at home), and rotating in as teaching assistants for the pastry students who have to fulfill basic culinary in their curriculum. This quarter is a lot of work too.

If you still want more cooking time, again remember there's plenty of volunteer and paid opportunities too, it doesn't have to stop when class is over. One of the instructors teaches evening classes open to the foodie public, and volunteering as her assistant is always an option every week. Then there are the various community fundraisers and banquets which are held, as well as area chefs in need of emergency help. You'll get news of these from the instructors, or posted at the office.

One last thing, we all get the basics in bread and pastry but if you find you want to pursue the black arts of pastry :p after finishing with culinary, you can do that and skip 1st quarter pastry. This would be a total of 10 quarters of school for both certifications. Add an additional quarter or two for an Associates of Applied Science (or transfer in past college credit for the AAS if you have it available).

Also, the shaw guides and other guides will say that the average student:teacher ratio is 18:1. This is not true for 1st quarter, where it's more like 30:1. But, the attrition rate is high, so by the time you hit 2nd or 3rd quarter, it will be 18:1 give or take a few.

Let me know if I can answer anything else or clarify things further. One thing is for certain though, it's definitely not necessary to spend tons of money for a great education.

post #8 of 11
Thanks Sleepy_Dragon
I really appreciated the indepth information the school. I also didn't kno they let u skip the 1 quarter of baking&pastry arts since it is covered in culinary arts. I read on a website that Seattle is rating one of the best places to live.
How was ur transaction from new york to seattle? What would a new yorker have to expect? I gain a good interest in the school now im lookin for a lil more info on Seattle.
post #9 of 11
Well, keep in mind that though I was born and raised in NYC, I would not want to live there nowadays. I love the pace of life here, and love the sheer quantity and variety of fresh local produce we have access to. Washington is a beautiful state.

I think if you can go to a new place with a mindset to enjoy what makes it uniquely good, rather than constantly compare it to what you used to get back east, you'll do fine. I'll probably get skewered by any NYC transplants lurking about, but personally I don't see the point to complaining about the lack of good pizza and bagels or whatever else easterly when Seattle has other good stuff going for it, ya know? Whenever another transplant finds out I'm from NY too, I always have to brace myself for the usual tedious complaining about everything NY does better than Seattle. Seriously I can't stand it, why not just move back if it's so bad here? Or open up your own super authentic pizza joint or bagel shop. Anyway... hopefully you get my point. :D

The city has its share of problems much as any other urban city does, though I think they are somewhat less than most places. All depends on your perspective. Public transportation is pretty good. Car traffic, most people complain about it, but it's not anywhere near as bad as what I remember of NYC's traffic. The city is definitely a lot smaller and newer than NYC, people as a general rule are more mellow though not necessarily easy to get to know, depending.

Probably it will help if you ask me some more specific questions about what you're looking for or concerned about. We've got lots of great restaurants here as far as career options go. It will not be as big and famous as NYC or SF, but Seattle has plenty going for it.

post #10 of 11
Hey Pat,
I just want to thank you for being around. I just browsed this thread and found it very informational. If I was 30 yrs. younger I'd be headed out!
This is what makes this board so great.
BTW Mention the weather.
I'm working on a deal right now in your area or Oregon to be a part of a vinyard start up with which I could retire there.
post #11 of 11
Ah yes, good idea, I better mention the weather! :D

It's true, Seattle does get a lot of rain, but not as much as some people think. The area where Olympia is actually gets more rain than us, officially they are rainforest territory based on annual rainfall, and they have the trees and pollens to prove it. But we do get our share of it here. Winters tend to be gray and full of rain or drizzle day in and day out, the sun sets at 4:30pm. Some people find the winter months really depressing for those reasons.

But summers are beautiful. Long long days without temperature and humidity extremes, sunsets at 9:30 - 10pm. I wouldn't trade those for anything. Incidentally, our position relative to the equator is also why Washington is wine country, we share the same latitudes as the famous wine producing regions in France, and so share the same ideal growing hours and temperatures. If you're into wine and/or want to plan a career around it, this is a great state.

Me personally, having also spent a few years in Central NY along with NYC, I far prefer the rain than the bitter winters with their windchill and tons of snow and salt covered slush. And the sunny and comparatively mild summers beat the pants off of waiting for the subway in 99F with 100% humidity. I've lived here for over 10 years now and have yet to even consider getting an air conditioner.

Basically, the big challenge weatherwise is Seasonal Affective Disorder during the rainy winter season. Otherwise, it's beautiful mild coastal city weather.

And if you'd really miss the snow that much, do as the others do here and plan a trip to Whistler with your snowboard.

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