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The everlasting debate: Culinary Arts Certificate or Degree?

  • Certificate or Diploma

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • Associate's degree

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Bachelor's degree

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • Master's degree

    Votes: 1 33.3%

Intro to ChefTalk

1193 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  proficient
Hello everyone.

I'm much new to this forum but I've done a lot of reading throughout the site every now and then for the past couple of months. Currently I am a culinary arts student entering my fourth semester of culinary college. Food has been my passion for quite some time now and I'm extremely excited at my future in food. I'm very active in my school and everyone seems to want to help me and see me do well. Many times I have been asked to help out and do catering when the school has a banquet event. I've gotten many looks from each of my instructors that I can have a special career as a chef. Becoming a chef has always been something I wanted to do since maybe around 16 years old. My high school had recently implemented a Culinary Arts and Hospitality program but it got packed really quickly, and I never had gotten the chance to get involved with the academics. Being that I was serious about taking on the career of working in a restaurant I graduated high school and began the search for a culinary arts program. The big key here is that in this area that I live in there aren't many schools offering a two year culinary arts education. By the time I graduated high school and entered college at 18 I knew I didn't want to have a certificate in the field in which I'm giving my life to. I spent the last three years maturing and preparing myself to have time to focus on this profession. During the last three years (2013, 2014, 2015) I had been waiting to find a school that can start off my way to a higher education. I attended a local community college offering a certificate, but I didn't get involved with the program there as I previously stated it wasn't in my interested. I felt that 28 weeks wasn't worth the time and money they were asking for. Attending community college was the key to my situation now attending my culinary college. I was able to take the general education classes associated with my degree program. Late 2016 I officially started my education in culinary college. After a two year break from the college life, I felt that I was prepared to now begin the studies and practices in food that I had been hoping for. The two year layoff from school was indeed necessary as it gave me the time to mature and grow as an upcoming adult in today's world.

I've had many different situations and circumstances in my life that has for sure motivated me to be a well rounded chef. Perhaps sometime in the future I will be able to open up a few restaurants and enjoy my time as a successful chef in the field.

My work history isn't all that great but much of it is dealing with food. I spent many hours working in different super markets and temporary jobs dealing with food production and cooking. A few places that I've spent countless amount of hours working at were deli and seafood departments at places like Pathmark, Shop Rite, ACME supermarkets. I landed my first job ever at one of the local McDonald's and that was an experience of it's own seeing the disgust this American company produces. I felt over the years I learned quite a bit working at these places the most though. The deli and seafood departments were a big factor in my first semester at school while taking a food safety class, and also fabrication makes a lot of sense to me mostly from cutting Salmon into portions, removing scales, skin and deboning. Most people didn't even realize why I took it so serious in these departments. While in the deli I had the experience slicing different items and learned how to identify the different products and I also prepared a lot of there ready to eat items. I began to learn a lot about the food and product costs from the managers, as well as dealing with suppliers. Working at McDonald's was all about pace, and being able to keep up with the demands of the high volume fast food pace. It's prepared me in different ways even though it's a pretty terrible restaurant in many different ways.

I'm sure if this intro is too long for some of you to take interest but I'm totally cool with adapting to the forum and the traditional ways here.

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1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Hello superiora1. Welcome to ChefTalk!
From your introduction I can tell you are very aware and mindful in your choice of occupation.
Passion goes a long way as a motivational tool. It will take you far.
Understanding that all experience you get from working in various restaurants and food service is important~ my takeaway is that I have learned something from every job I have had. Some of the lessons were positive, some lessons were cautionary tales. All those lessons made me a better cook and possibly a better human.

Good luck in your education! The world always needs another great cook!
Thank you! I am believe the passion is without question there for me in this field. I likely will need experience which will do great.
Why after 40+ years of working in kitchens do I still show up to work every day?
Because I'm beginning to see some improvement!
I can only imagine the experience of working 40 years in a setting like this. I hope one day I can say I've gained 40 years experience. Wow it's an amazing accolade.
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