Pros - ACF certification, good campus size, good courses, good location, challenging
Cons - work load is hefty, expensive food options, tools not included, bad recipes
J Sargeant Reyolds is a community college in downtown Richmond, VA. It offers many different courses that most community colleges do. The course I am taking Is the ACF certified culinary course. The School is big for a community college it has 6 floors. One problem is that the kitchen is on the 6th floor, yes, the 6th floor so all the hot water has to come up 6th floors up. My name is Wes Tutson and I’m going to tell you about my experience so far at J Sarge.
Money wise I don’t really have a lot to offer only because I am in a apprenticeship and my class cost is covered by my company and I work for them in return. From what I have gathered is that it’s around the range of $15,000 to $20, 000, for an associate’s degree in culinary arts. Financial aid is available and there financing department is fair from things I hear from other students money gets taken care of and they are willing to work with you and your bank they seem to be pretty fair in that aspect.
The courses that you learn are really well placed and you can tell that the curriculum has honestly been thought out with a good amount of time. The way its laid out is that you have to do pre-requisites to get your class competency up to par: Introduction to culinary, serv safe, College prep, Algebra basics, soups and stocks, Fruit and veg, Microsoft suite course, Leadership class, Meat seafood and poultry, Garde Manger, Cost control, Menu planning, Baking and pastry, a internship course, and externship course, then a and then to prove you know it all capstone to display “competencies” that you have learned over the course.
I think it’s amazing at how many people drop out they either can’t get onboard with the computer system we use here or they can’t handle the complexity of the work load. I feel people aren’t really dedicated like it takes to be a true working chef. This course is not easy so don’t for a minute think that you will glide by. They make it difficult for a reason, they have to weed out the people who aren’t serious about this industry.
The teachers are where the big problems begin I love my chef teachers, the ones that only teach about 2-3 classes. The one chef who teaches the entire program is the most complicated chefs that I have ever met. He is one of the “my way or the highway” types, I mean no disrespect so I shall keep this brief, he teaches his curriculum the way he wants to teach it and if you don’t agree with him then you are his enemy. For example there was a cost control class where everyone in the class was confused on a formula and no one could figure it out. All the students wanted to figure it out, so the head of the program sat in and made him do the problem on the board to show everyone. He gets up to the board totally freezes, chokes really hard because he had no idea how to do the problem or figure it out. He made the class take a break and he googled how to figure out the problem with help of students that excelled in the class. All I am saying is that when you are a professor working for a school system taking thousands of dollars from students, you should be very proficient in the classes that you are teaching. Accept it when you don’t know how to do something put your pride aside and at least learn. HE will fight tooth and nail to hold the fact that he is always right even though he is wrong in times where it really matters. If you choose this program you should be ready to deal with a man basically training you in his way and not in the way that is proper.
They do not give any delusions to how much money you will make or to what your positions will be. Everyone knows that you’ll be making about 10 dollars because there are many people currently working in the industry that attends the school. They tell us the school is designed for it to work that way, some work some don’t and you can always tell if they work in a kitchen or not. They tell us if we work hard, like really hard, that we all can be chefs. The curriculum teaches us to be competent chefs in a real world job, how to manage a property, how to cost food, labor, beverage and analyze the big picture of the operation.
This Course is honestly what you make it, nothing will be handed to you and you will have to work for it, but I honestly believe that it is going places. It has all its accreditation, it has descent professors, their curriculum is solid and they test you out properly. No one who wasn't really dedicated for this would make it through. I believe in the culinary industry and feel like this is a good school and worth the cost. If you stay in the program you can do anything in this industry.