CIA or JWU

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Joined Mar 7, 2020
I am in highschool rn and I have been accepted by both culinary institute of America and Johnson and Wales University . The course that I have applied for in cia is food business management and bakery pastry and in jwu is baking & pastry arts and food & beverage industry . I want to be a professional pastry chef . I am having a difficult time to decide which University is better in terms of education and job prospects afterwards
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
Here are a couple of things to consider, and I really think you should discuss these points with your parents

1) Most employers don’t really care about the culinary school you graduated from. What they really care about is how much related work experience you have and your interpersonal skills with coworkers

2) To the best of my knowledge, the U.S. has no standard, nationally accepted “benchmark” or qualification for any of the culinary related jobs.

3) and this is the most important consideration: Have you worked in a commercial bakery or kitchen? If yes, than go to school. If no, then work at least three months in a kitchen to see if you like the hours and the adjustments you will make to your social life.
 
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Joined Mar 7, 2020
Here are a couple of things to consider, and I really think you should discuss these points with your parents

1) Most employers don’t really care about the culinary school you graduated from. What they really care about is how much related work experience you have and your interpersonal skills with coworkers

2) To the best of my knowledge, the U.S. has no standard, nationally accepted “benchmark” or qualification for any of the culinary related jobs.

3) and this is the most important consideration: Have you worked in a commercial bakery or kitchen? If yes, than go to school. If no, then work at least three months in a kitchen to see if you like the hours and the adjustments you will make to your social life.
Yes I have worked in a bakery for 6 months and thank you for your response
 
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Joined Aug 21, 2004
Solid advice from foodpump. I would even recommend working full time professionally for a year before attending school. This will give you a good idea of whether the industry is a good fit for you or not, plus it will give you a better foundation upon which to absorb the knowledge and skills learned in school if you decide to pursue a career in the culinary arts. A year might seem like a long time to you at this time, but over a 45 year career it is just a blip.
 
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
What foodpump foodpump is saying is this.......culinary school is a very narrow and very expensive education that will provide limited benefit to you within the food industry and provide little or no benefit to you outside of the food industry.

What does that mean? It means that unless you are hoping for a career at a resort, a hotel or cruise ship, no employer is really going to care if you have a culinary degree or not, just as foodpump said. Employers want to see if you are dependable, will keep your mouth shut and learn, know your way around a commercial kitchen and can work well with others, especially under high stress conditions.

You must understand that cooking commercially and cooking for friends and family are two completely different things. You can be the best home cook in the world and everything you know and have learned in the home kitchen will mean exactly nothing in a commercial kitchen. The most common mistake we see are those who assume they can go from a home kitchen to a commercial kitchen because they're good at putting together a holiday meal or can pull off some extraordinary recipes at home. But, could they do it for 250 people every night, 6 nights a week, 52 weeks a year, especially on holidays?

Here's the important part. This profession has a very high attrition rate. In other words, you rarely encounter someone who has retired from the food industry. In fact, the average lifespan of a career in the food industry is less than 2 years. This is why it is highly recommended that you spend some time working in a commercial kitchen for at least a few months before making that leap of faith.

Now, let's fast forward a bit. You've worked in a kitchen for a few months. You have a sense of what the life is like. You're diggin what you're doing and all that. You're young. Its a great life for a young person. But, what about a social life? A family? Nope. 70 hour weeks are normal. You will work on weekends and holidays when all your friends are off from their jobs. These are your busiest times. You will not have any benefits or meaningful wages until you move up to management, which is generally a 5 to 10 year track. When your children are having their dance recitals, birthdays, graduations and plays, you will be working.

This is a profession that has one of the highest substance abuse rates of any other profession. The divorce rate is equally as high. The failure rate of those who start their own businesses is over 80%.

So, yes......take some time. Be patient. Get a job in a professional kitchen. Learn the ropes. See what the life is like for a while. Foodpump suggested a few months. I suggest a year. Culinary school will always be there and waiting. Its not going anywhere.

Good luck. :)
 
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Joined Mar 7, 2020
What foodpump foodpump is saying is this.......culinary school is a very narrow and very expensive education that will provide limited benefit to you within the food industry and provide little or no benefit to you outside of the food industry.

What does that mean? It means that unless you are hoping for a career at a resort, a hotel or cruise ship, no employer is really going to care if you have a culinary degree or not, just as foodpump said. Employers want to see if you are dependable, will keep your mouth shut and learn, know your way around a commercial kitchen and can work well with others, especially under high stress conditions.

You must understand that cooking commercially and cooking for friends and family are two completely different things. You can be the best home cook in the world and everything you know and have learned in the home kitchen will mean exactly nothing in a commercial kitchen. The most common mistake we see are those who assume they can go from a home kitchen to a commercial kitchen because they're good at putting together a holiday meal or can pull off some extraordinary recipes at home. But, could they do it for 250 people every night, 6 nights a week, 52 weeks a year, especially on holidays?

Here's the important part. This profession has a very high attrition rate. In other words, you rarely encounter someone who has retired from the food industry. In fact, the average lifespan of a career in the food industry is less than 2 years. This is why it is highly recommended that you spend some time working in a commercial kitchen for at least a few months before making that leap of faith.

Now, let's fast forward a bit. You've worked in a kitchen for a few months. You have a sense of what the life is like. You're diggin what you're doing and all that. You're young. Its a great life for a young person. But, what about a social life? A family? Nope. 70 hour weeks are normal. You will work on weekends and holidays when all your friends are off from their jobs. These are your busiest times. You will not have any benefits or meaningful wages until you move up to management, which is generally a 5 to 10 year track. When your children are having their dance recitals, birthdays, graduations and plays, you will be working.

This is a profession that has one of the highest substance abuse rates of any other profession. The divorce rate is equally as high. The failure rate of those who start their own businesses is over 80%.

So, yes......take some time. Be patient. Get a job in a professional kitchen. Learn the ropes. See what the life is like for a while. Foodpump suggested a few months. I suggest a year. Culinary school will always be there and waiting. Its not going anywhere.

Good luck. :)
Hi,
I like that you are brutally honest with what the profession has to bring but I belong to a indian family and having no educational qualification doesn't really work if I ask my mum to work in a kitchen and not go to college she will not allow me too and I know that's generally is not a concern for most people but it is for me she wants me attend college and get a degree soo as much as i'd like to work I don't have any option .
 
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Joined May 25, 2015
She has to understand that working is a prequalification to attending school. Kind of like an internship.

And believe me, no parent wants their kid to work then go to school later. I think it's ridiculous that a 17 year old kid should be made to figure out what they are going to do for the rest of their life, least of all commit over a hundred thousand dollars for something that may not work out. Parents can be stupid. So if they are paying for this and you love them you need to say hold on, I don't want you paying for something that isn't going to work. This is how I'm going to do it.
 
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chefpeon

Kitchen Dork
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Joined Jun 15, 2006
I came in here to say everything that's already been said above. And what I'd like to emphasize
is the wages part. For all the money that would be poured into a culinary education, you will hardly
see any of that come back to you in the form of wages. School doesn't get you higher pay. It might
get you in the door, but that's it.

And most of the time the pay is pretty much poverty level (at least here in the United States). Do you really want to put money into an education that really won't pay off? If your parents insist you go to school, why not choose a field that would be more lucrative in regard to your future? You could pretty much choose any other career path and you'd be much better off in terms of money and security and an education that would pay off in multiple ways.

You probably then ask, well, why are WE doing it? I can only speak for myself, and that's because I have a passion for it. I knew going in when I was young what all the drawbacks would be, but I didn't care because I loved my job that much. I still do, but now I'm 57 and my body hurts to the point where it's a lot harder to do this now. I still make peanuts and I don't have any medical insurance benefits. It's a bummer when you're close retiring but now you have to change careers late in life just to get you to the finish line. It's hard to think about stuff like this when you're a kid. But you should definitely think about it.
 
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Joined Feb 18, 2007
I agree with everything that has been said above. This industry does not pay well, can be physically brutal (get good shoes and change them frequently, work with a cushioning pad beneath your feet whenever possible. It will seem trivial and foolish when you are first starting out but let me tell you that after 18 years on your feet for an average of 8-12 hours a day on cement/tile floors, your feet and knees will give out. Take care of your body. Make it a priority.) and socially it will cut you out of a circle of friends who gets together on weekends, celebrates holidays, goes on regular vacations.... you will be working constantly your first 10 years.

This is my perspective as the owner of a specialty baking company that specializes in cakes and desserts (not danish/croissant/bread/ice cream/chocolate). I've found that JWU grads have solid basic technical knowledge at graduation (I've hired three JWU grads in the last three years). One part time employee chose to go to CIA, and she also has solid technical abilities. Both schools have job placement programs for graduates, and it seems to me that CIA has a more life-long expectation for job placement assistance than JWU but I cannot explain why - just that when the part timer chose to go to CIA, that was one of her deciding factors (as well as, she liked the Hyde Park campus better). Compare the business management curriculums at both schools because even though you aren't likely to be using those skills at your first job, those skills will help you understand what management is looking for, so you can rise through the ranks if you choose to pursue a corporate job after a few years in the trenches.

Either school will be good for you if YOU put forth the effort to get as much as you possibly can out of your education. You only go to school once, and you will be learning throughout your career. Every job, every chef has something to teach you.
 
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