Best Major (regular college) to become an executive chef?

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by lejit, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. lejit

    lejit

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    Alright I really want to be a chef. However, my parents are making me go to college no matter what. That's not a big deal, but I want to make my time in college benefit me in my culinary career as much as possible.

    So what majors should I take? I have heard that finance or business management would be good to take. Any advice?
     
  2. tonyc

    tonyc

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    Check around the schools in your area, at least 1 of them is bound to have a hospitality department and look into a degree in hotel/restaurant management.
     
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  3. chefbuba

    chefbuba

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    Lejit,

    I hope that you realize that the title "Executive Chef" is not one that is given from any school.

    It is a title that is earned with years of experience in the indusrty.
     
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  4. julietn

    julietn

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    As mentioned above, a degree in hospitality/rest mgmt is a good fit.  A degree in nutrition may also be beneficial.  I am graduating this May with my BS in Nutrition and entering culinary school in the fall.  I plan on working as a personal chef with a focus on healthy cooking and providing services for those with special dietary needs (gluten-free, diabetic, etc).

    Best to you!
     
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  5. Iceman

    Iceman

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    These are all good suggestions so far. I'm just going to add that you go to a Ju-Co or Community College and see what their suggestions are. You can save a lot of money getting a lot of basic things out of the way on the cheap. That's what they're there for. Also check out the counseling department. They should give you the head-start on where you could go. 
     
  6. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    The culinary part is the easiest, by far.

    If you really aspire to be a chef, you need:
    • Business finance
    • Business law
    • Personnel management
    • Inventory control
    • Leadership
    and it is nice to know the basics of:
    • Electricity and electrical appliances
    • Gas plumbing
    • Water plumbing, especially plugged drains
    • HVAC and refrigeration
    • Pest control
    What college major? I'd probably go for Business Management as my first choice, maybe with a concentration in Hospitality Management.
     
  7. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    LOL!  That you will learn on the job.  
     
  8. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    Yeah, I forgot the "smiley"  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/laser.gifOJT fills the blanks!
     
  9. bigfatbaker

    bigfatbaker

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    I am a student at Purdue in their Hospitality Tourism Management program. My concentration is foodservice and I am planning on going to pastry school after I graduate. You sound like you are in the same position that I was, I really wanted to go to culinary school but my parents insisted on "regular" school. I'd recommend trying to find a program focused on hospitality/foodservice. My classes are great because they are mostly based on restaurant situations.

    Good luck!
     
  10. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I would recommend a degree in marketing. All other things being equal it seems that the restaurants that make the most money are the ones that have great marketing. Sadly to say I have seen restaurants with fantastic food be edged out by restaurants with a better line of patter than platter. A lot of times it comes down to not what you know, but how you sell it.
     
  11. lejit

    lejit

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    Marketing or management seems like a good choice, and of course I will working with the local ACF members in anyway possible for kitchen experience. Management seems slightly better because at the end of the day I will always be manging things, in the kitchen and in regards to business, but marketing is purely business.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2011
  12. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Read what Pete says  3 times. The cooking schools are all the same, they teach basics of how and  in some cases why you are doing what you are doing.

    Save $ go to a community college instead of one of those hi fuluten arts schools that are stricctly for profit and take your parents hard earned $$., and as stated above you can't learn to be an executive chef in any school, I was 30 before I was given command of a full volume kitchen. Good Luck

    If you want to make the big bucks, go into law and specialize in restaurants and food service. There are very few attorneys that specialize in this field.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2011
  13. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Pest control in food service is the same as Human Resources.
     
  14. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Chef Billy I like that.
     
  15. susanbean

    susanbean

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    Depending on which college you choose, you have a lot of degree options available to you. Speaking from personal experience, a junior college would be a great place to start because it's less expensive, less stressful, and counselors there can really help you if you're lacking direction. The community college I attended offered three seperate degree and certification programs for aspiring chefs: Catering, Culinary arts, and Food service. Finance and business management are great alternatives to take if you're interested in running your own restaurant Have you considered getting your associates degree and transferring to a university to earn a higher degree? Check the course catalogues at local schools and see if they have culinary programs that interest you.



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    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
  16. chefedb

    chefedb

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    You do not graduate as an Executive Chef. Some of the schools put sugarplums in your head and would like you to believe that so that it justifies the huge sums of money they charge you (As the schools do mentioned in the above posted  link.)  I  and others found when I was teaching in NY  6 out of 31 students stayed in the trade for more then 6 years. In the first tracking  none became ex. chefs , as of 10 years.out  We tract others and mostly same thing.

    COOKING IS NOT THE ONLY CRITERIA. I know guys that are great cooks but can't lead or won't assume full responsibility. Many are happy where they are and don't want to take it further because they would have to work unlimited hours and be away from family to long.

    THINK ABOUT IT   sometimes 7 days a week, 14 to 16 hours some days, work  days and nights.. work all Holidays. \Some days being so tired you almost fall asleep at the wheel driving home, Being so tired that  your only day off is spent resting or sleeping, being on call even on your 1 day off. Sometime I used to think to myself '',"Is it all worth it?""  Only you can decide.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011
  17. leeniek

    leeniek

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    Bill thanks for the laugh.  While your statement is so true I still had a good laugh at it.  (thanks for that especially with the mess I have in HR at my place these days)

    To the OP, please do yourself a favour and get a job in a kitchen before you spend money on your education.  You are not going to walk out of school and into an exec chef job as this business does not work that way.  You need to be a good worker AND a good cook before you can even think of running a kitchen.  You will have to work your way up the ladder and sometimes it will feel like a very long and hard climb.  I have been very fortunate... I have no culinary training save for what I taught myself and I have made it to where I am today by working harder than I ever dreamed I could and that is no exaggeration.... also apparently I am skilled when it comes to making food and that has helped me along the way.  I may go to culinary school just for the papers but I'm happy where I am and my resume or CV speaks for itself. 
     
  18. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Meh... the O.P is loooong gone.

    However.....

    The fact remains that many threads on this site deal with what a "Chef" is, and how this postion is obtained.

    O.K. then....

    So What's an "Executive Chef"?

    I will now lock the force shields into position, put on my brass bound, titianium clad underwear, and go out on a limb and make this bold statement:

    An "Executive Chef" is one who manages multiple kitchens, more than one.

    As in, a large hotel with several restaurants/F&B outlets, or a corporation/franchise where the Exec supervises multiple outlet kitchens.

    Let the attack begin...................................
     
  19. Iceman

    Iceman

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    Why do you expect an attack? I think you are right with your definition. To tell you the truth, I think executive chefs do much more management jobs than cooking. I never really understood why so many beginners want to go to "executive chef" right out of the gate. Why become a "chef" if you don't want to cook first? Too many kids think that culinary school makes you "boss qualified" after graduation. LOL. Day-in day-out, I much prefer being an Indian over a Chief. But that's just me I guess. 

    "Don't call me "Sir", I'm not an officer. I work for a living."
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  20. theunknowncook

    theunknowncook Banned

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    LeJit:

    I suggest that you check the following links for a community college program:

    Shaw Guides

    ACF: Accredited Post-Secondary Schools

    Afterwards, search for a university offering a B.S. degree program in Restaurant Management such as:

    UNLV

    Cal Poly Pomona

    UW-Stout

    There are many universities offering such programs. Do your own research, and select the school which suits your personal finances, location, personality, etc. Good luck.