A career in culinary

Joined Oct 1, 2010
My name is Marcos, and I'm a recent high school graduate. I'm currently attending a local state college just taking general ed classes, and have been considering whether I want to waste 2-3 years of time getting my A.A. in that time. I'm considering culinary school as an option. Don't get me wrong I'm not just trying to take the easy way out of schooling, I do love culinary and have been surrounded by it my whole life.

I discovered my talent in culinary arts in high school through the culinary academy that I was a part of for all 4 years of high school; we had an in depth program recognized by Prostart, SkillsUSA, and provided gourmet food at affordable prices for teachers,school staff, and catered to school events. I acquired a basic knowledge of culinary, baking, knife skills, sanitation(I'm Safestaff and Servsafe cert.) and expoditing.

My family also has a small restaurant background, and my mother has been a private cook for many rich families.

I've worked in the restaurant business now for about a year and a half as a host at The Yard House, I've been recently promoted to the expo line. I'm used to the high capacity/high turnout rate of a restaurant of this magnitude and I'm loving it. I have no problem with working in FOH or in HOH, as i'm acquiring a base knowledge of all aspects of the restaurant industry(somewhere down the road all that experience will be usefull). I'm currently trying to find a position as a prep/line cook anywhere that will take me just for the basic experience.

Culinary is something I love, and its something I see myself doing as a career. Yes, I do know of the real side of "The Life" and I see it still as a posiblity. Especially that I live in South Florida a hotspot for restaurants and their quality.

I've been wondering what would be the best path to get to my goal. Culinary school is one option; if I go soon I can be a graduate by the time I'm 21 or 22( I'm 18 turning 19 in December). I am aware that I will not be a head chef, or exec chef upon graduation, and that I have to work my way to it, but what job do you not have to work to the top right? Having a culinary degree would help fine tune my skills and set me apart from others. I will be working in the industry while in school; so I will be having hands on experience while going to school.

Some of the schools i've been looking into are: Le Cordon Bleu Orlando/Miami, Johnson & Wales Miami, or Art institute of Fort Lauderdale.

Another option of mine was to work in the industry full time for the 2-3 years it will take me to get my A.A. and go to culinary school after. The A.A. is an option for me just in case the culinary world isnt for me, and I can just transfer to another school to pursue another degree. But I could always get the A.A. after culinary school and the time would be just like if I went to a traditional 4-year college with not much of my life "wasted"

All together I don't plan on being in the kitchen my whole life by branching out into the business side of the culinary world as well.

I have a question for you culinarians. What do you think is my best option to get where I'm going? How do my two options sound? Any comments to add on? Does anybody have experience with the schools I listed?


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Joined Dec 17, 2009
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Joined Apr 3, 2010
Although I hate to say it an AA or AAs or BA or BS. Does not make you a good chef. The majority of the schools are way over priced and are operated for a PROFIT. You however having worked in the business probably know as much or if not more then a first year student. You have seen reality they have not. I would suggest going to a bigger and classier restaurant or hotel and absorb all you can from their. When no more to be learned, leave and on to another. As you have already learned ,Yard House is a high volume operation, you must now refine yourself .Good Luck to you
Joined Oct 1, 2010
Chiming in on my situation here. Safe to say its getting better! I've worked as an Expeditor/Food runner for about 5months now; gaining an significant amount of knowledge about food and how a kitchen runs. Being able to stage, point-pull, and run food in a high volume restaurant(seats 500,bar holds another 90) successfully on the busy thursday/friday/saturday nights has landed me above most people who are trying to get into their kitchen and a spot as a pizza cook. I've spoke to both the Regional GM and the Executive KM of The Yard House (Palm Beach Gardens, FL) and have told them my intentions with the company and my plans as a culinarian. Both of them seem to be supportive with me and with a company like this that is very promising with hiring with-in to higher positions I seem to have a good basis for my career.

I have been Pizza cook for a week now, just being in the kitchen feels right and fun. Work isnt even work for me anymore! Luckily I step my feet into this kitchen as the "Season" around here seems to be coming to end an within the next month. Therefor giving me a good 6months to spread my wings and see how much I can learn by moving to different stations before the next busy season rolls on through.

As for my A.A. A.S. or B.S. I have no idea what to do about that( its for my mom and dad, they want me to pursue scholastic education as well)

For the ACF apprenticeship I'll definatly be looking into that.

Anybody else to chime in, give me some advice, am I on the right path to success?
Joined Dec 16, 2008
Since you're in South Florida, I would look into AI's certificate program only. I visited their campus recently and yes, they operate for profit. Personally, I feel their degree costs too much. It's debt you don't necessarily need and you can earn your AA at a community college to eventually get a BA if it's something you feel you need.

Their cert is reasonable when it comes to tuition. It should provide you with a decent foundation but the rest you can learn on your own. If you need the name of a reputable admissions advisor to simply ask questions, let me know. I used to work with one of them. Feel free to PM me.
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