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The ongoing theme here is that a degree in any part of the culinary curriculum is only as good as the next employer deems as much.

Some places value a degree and some do not. 

There are places that would rather hire someone with no formal education. That way they can mold them their way.

Other places expect that applicant should have a least SOME knowledge of a kitchen/ bakery and they work

There are some things that simply can not be taught in a classroom.

In the USA there are no professional standards that cooks and Chefs have to meet in order to get a job.

To that end, a degree is not looked at as necessary, however; many places do value them.

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What any culinary school should have taught you is to be professional. By that I mean show up on time, dress appropriately, develop good work habits like being clean and neat in both your person and your work habits. Pay attention and show care in what you are doing. Show respect for your self, your colleagues and the food you are working with. Recognize that there is a correct way to do things regarding proper sanitation, preparation, temperature control and storage practices. Understand some of the processes involved in cooking and how they affect the finished product. Be familiar with how various equipment works and what it is for.

No matter which kitchen you work in, you show yourself to be the better employee if you can demonstrate these things. Different kitchens may serve various types of food and cuisines in different ways and have different production needs based on size and style but what I outlined are basic to all kitchens. So it isn't so much which diploma you get but how much you practice good kitchen habits. You develop those habits by getting experience.

So go forward with your diploma and be professional wherever you work. You'll be fine.

Oh and Nicko is absolutely correct that you should learn how to make a kitchen profitable. The fanciest food doesn't matter if you go out of business.
You are so right on this chefwriter.

Unfortunately many culinary schools do not start out by examining the person, more than starting right in with culinary technique.

Way back in the cave man days when I went to culinary school, there was an introduction to the restaurant and hospitality world class.

It was held in a large lecture hall and it was a mandatory class.Every freshmen took the class.

During the weeks that ensued the instructor basically sat on his desk and related terrible stories, and not so funny jokes about life in the restaurant world.

Things like divorce rates, drug and alcohol abuse, sex at work,stealing and its' effects on the place, etc.......

The class was meant to weed out those that thought working in a restaurant would be easy. And it worked. By week 12 more than 3/4 of the class had dropped out. That was in 1975.

Seriously the time spent in a culinary school does not in any way prepare you for life as a line cook in a busy restaurant. Only experience does.

Sure the classroom does expose you to the equipment, food, and technique, but really only repetition gets you the experience.

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I've consistantly learned that having a degree is not necessary. I've also heard that it is extremely expensive to get a degree in culinary but not really worth what you pay for as far as experience.

I believe, which could be wrong because its an opinion, that working under a respected chef, someone who is professional and a good teacher, is much more valuable than going to school ( I don't truly know because I don't have a degree however) because they have the ability to train you and show you good habits, proper sanitation, storage methods, cooking techniques, recipe improvisation, creating etc.

Things that I feel wouldn't be taught in school are things like listening and attempting to learn from the chef, rather than putting in your own two sense when you start at new kitchen environment, or something like having your chef coat and pants perfectly clean and pressed every day, with two towels on your apron at all times, one wet, and one dry, with a dry towel in your hand to grab anything that could be hot. habits like these have been created by highly respected chefs and wouldn't be taught with pen and paper, they would be taught on the job gaining experience.

I have a background of military culinary, so I have extreme standards for how I look, however I've got little knowledge of fine dining recipies and techniques, which is why i'm in fine dining.

The business side can also be taught, by a person simply already running a successful business.

My personal opinion. School isn't necessary in culinary world, its all about hard work, dedication, willingness to learn, showing respect, demanding respect, and being there on time, and looking amazing when you get there, every single time, and when you fail or make a mistake, learn from it and write it down, so you can strive to not make the same mistakes again. Thats What I follow, and I was taught that, I didn't come up with it.

While I appreciate your words, I cannot help but reflect on my perception of what really goes on.

If you decide to get education through experience you'll find it very difficult to find that one individual who has all that you're looking for in a mentor.

To that end, what you end up learning is THEIR way.

You'll stay a few years with this mentor, and learn what you think is invaluable information.

Now....time for a change, and you go to a new place only to find that which you learned from your mentor is outdated, odd, or completely wrong.

Since each Chef has their own technique and ways, how can one completely discern that what they are learning and absorbing is truly correct?

Reading books about technique will only get you so far. Recipes are merely guidelines as well and can't teach technique the way hands on can.

The decision to go to culinary school is subjective.

....and by the would also be incorrect in your assumption that personal hygiene, and good grooming are not taught in school
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