CIA Prerequisite

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by michael w, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. michael w

    michael w

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    Hello everyone, I am looking to start culinary school this winter at CAI here in Napa valley and need some help in the form of information. The CIA requires at least six months of kitchen experience in a kitchen and proof, which I totally understand. My problem being that I have for the twenty-one plus years been off serving my country and fighting wars, now that my retirement is just around the corner, I greatly look forward to starting a new career and fulfilling a dream of becoming a chef that I have had my entire life. How does one go about finding a culinary job just for the purposes of fulfilling the CIA's prerequisite, and to what level do I attempt to get into a kitchen, what I mean is, do I go ask Thomas Keller for a job in one of his Yountville restaurants or do I try to find something less in the spotlight? I understand that Thomas Keller used to do something to help inspiring chefs find their way, but can't find any information on it. I do feel fortunate that I live in one of this countries food meccas, and am quite sure that most of the higher end restaurants in Napa and the Bay have a program to assist in such things, I just can't figure out how to access this information. I have all of my tuition taken care of, I live within a short drive of the school, I have both a retirement and a housing allowance so I have a full income while attending the 21 month school, I have have all the application work for the school completed for entry, I just don't have the CIA's six months of kitchen experience they require. Please keep in mind that I do have experience in the kitchen and have a professional kitchen in my home both inside and out to include a wood fired oven, I have been cooking my entire adult life and spent almost every free moment I have in the kitchen, it's much more than a hobby it's an obsession, at least that's what my wife says.  My wife has given me her blessing and full support, so there is nothing holding me back except this pre-req issue.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Michael.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  2. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    First, thank you for your 21 years of service from a fellow veteran, albeit about a tenth of your service.

    Have you considered discussing the requirement with the CIA course adviser with regards to your military service? You may find a possibility for substitution.

    From what little I know, the six month requirement is to weed out those who have never been under pressure or having to take orders, something that you obviously have endured /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif
     
     
  3. michael w

    michael w

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    Thank you and your welcome.

    I have discussed it with the course advisors and they will budge a little but not much and I don't mind working the grunt work in the kitchen between the time I retire and when school starts, in fact I am sure there is a lot of grunt work to come. I just don't know how to go about getting my foot in the door of a reputable restaurant with a BS in aviation science and mechanical engineering and no way to prove my skills in the kitchen.

    Tomorrow I will be out and about hitting up all the local restaurants, dropping my resume and a cover letter explaining my intentions, hoping someone will show some generosity, if nothing else I may just get pointed in the right direction by someone that has once been in my situation.

    Yes, I am vary much accustom to taking and giving orders, being under pressure and also placing others under a great deal of pressure, but in a positive way. 
     
  4. duckfat

    duckfat

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    If your not discharged yet talk to your CO or who ever is in charge of the kitchen if there is one on base. No doubt a letter (wink wink) from the appropriate person saying you spent six months in the kitchen would satisfy the CIA.

    AFAIK the only program Keller had was charging $1200 for a stage but that wouldn't fill your requirements. You could also see if volunteer kitchen work would satisfy the admissions department.

    Best of luck either way.

    Dave
     
  5. michael w

    michael w

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    Thanks Dave for guidance, those days of a command being in charge or running the mess hall are long gone, no KP duty, heck the GI's don't even pick up their own dishes and trays from the table anymore, it's all contracted out. Great idea on the volunteer work, I will check with the school today and see if that will work, we have the VA hospital here in Yountville, I will swing in there today and see if I can line something up, and I would be doing something good for my fellow vets.

    Thanks, I knew you guy would help.
     
  6. Iceman

    Iceman

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    I agree w/ DuckFat. I had no problemmo getting into the mess hall kitchens if I ever wanted to put in some time. Nobody ever stops you from asking. There was never any lack of work to be done.
     
  7. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Hello Michael, Welcome to ChefTalk, and thank you for the 21 years that felt like 35 years. I took a lot of classes at CIA Napa in the past, I realty enjoyed the time I spent there. There are a lot of people at the school with some "pull " in town. I wouldn't worry about the Thomas Keller Restaurants, be happy with a place like Mustard's, or any one of the great restaurants in that area. The Head Kitchen Chef may be of some help, call the school and ask if you can set up a meeting with him/her and then explain your dilemma. If I can be of any help, let me know. The instructors have changed since I have been there, but there is always someone willing to help. If those ideas don't work, walk into a restaurant, ask to speak with the Chef and ask him/her if you can work in their kitchen for free under their guidance for the 6 months that's needed. After the 6 months is over, the Chef may hire you to work in the restaurant while attending school..................Take care....................ChefBillyB
     
  8. michael w

    michael w

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    Thanks DuckFat, I talked to the school and they told me that volunteer work at the VA kitchen was sufficient to fulfill their  prerequisite requirements. I then headed back down the road to the VA hospital and was welcomed with open arms and completed all the paperwork required and today I have orientation at 1030. So as of this moment I seem to have all my bases covered, I am sure that something will comeback to bight me in the dough in relation to my post 911 GI Bill and I will have to push my start date back yet again, but I seem to be making some progress forward.

    Thanks again for your help, Michael 
     
  9. michael w

    michael w

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    ChefBillyB, thanks and you're welcome.

    I was just using Thomas Keller as an example and honestly I think that would under the current situation be a bit out of my pay grade altho I would be willing to work at one of his restaurants if they were to offer me a position. It's funny you should mention Mustard's, thats were I was sitting having lunch when I was writing my first post in this thread. I have asked many places if the would let me work for free for six months but they all claim liability issues, I just don't think they want to be burdened with breaking in a new rookie! I will keep trying thou. 

    Thanks for the help, Michael 
     
  10. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    I believe it is because you are in California, The DoL frowns on unpaid labor as do the Workman's Comp insurers, which is paid as a % of payroll. Even interns are supposed to be paid unless they do no productive work and are there strictly for education.
     
  11. Iceman

    Iceman

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    LOL. Only in California. Pete ... (I'm not cracking wise here, this is serious) How can someone do "no productive work"?  If you are "working", particularly for free, how can it no be "productive"
     
  12. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    IceMan, for the State, "productive work" means the work a PAID employee would normally do, in other words, it is not legal to have someone do something for FREE that someone else normally does for pay.

    As interpreted by some state officials, if someone peels potatoes that will be served, you must pay them at least minimum wage, even if you might be training them! I do not believe that applies to a school situation.

    In other words, in the view of the State, an unpaid intern is depriving a paid worker the opportunity to work, I guess /img/vbsmilies/smilies/crazy.gif
     
  13. Iceman

    Iceman

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    Pete ... I'm OK w/ your explanation ... however, as I guess it got past you ... that where I did claim not to be cracking wise, I didn't mention anything about not being sarcastically rhetorical. I was saying that I can't see anyone doing work that I would take as acceptable, to be productive. If it was not productive, I wouldn't have them doing it. Thanks for your answer. I'm sorry for not being as clear as I could have been. 
     
  14. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    Tain't you that is the conundrum! It is the bloomin' State!

    As I understand it, interns cannot do anything that might result in a benefit to the employer. As such, why in the world would anyone take on an unpaid intern unless they were running a school?

    Your point is "on the mark"! It makes no sense to anyone but a government bureaucrat!
     
  15. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    this is a lot of Bullshit, the Chefs need to remember where they came from. Without people helping me in the beginning, I would have been stuck between a rock and a hard place. This guy gave 21 yrs to our Country and these Chefs are worried about Liability. I'm sure this guy went out on a few high "Productive work"  missions keeping our butts safe back home. This guy is full of passion, when is the last time any Chef on this site had someone with passion ask for a job. If they wanted to do this, they could, it takes a bit of thinking, maybe that's the problem...........ChefBillyB
     
  16. Iceman

    Iceman

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    BillyB ...................... When you were you, "in the beginning" ... who was the President? ... what was the price of gas? ... how many TV channels were there?      It seams that the times have changed.  

    [​IMG]      The Times They are a-Changin'
     
  17. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Maybe the times are changing for you young guys, but us old guys don't think the same as you. This guy has the guts and passion to persue his dream, . I would do all I could to help  him,

        There are ways around every law,and loopholes all over the place.. I would put him to work in my kitchen right away under the guise of education and get away with it.. Sometimes laws are dumb and deserve to be challenged. Keep in mind in Washinton there are 545 lawmakers who try and control the destiny of millions of  other people. Their main jobs are to try and fix whatever rules and laws  that are  messed up .Yet they are the very ones who created the law and rules  in the first place.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
  18. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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     IceMan,some days I just [​IMG]and think the world is going [​IMG]...............I started in this business, knocking on the back door of a Restaurant complex in Hawaii, I told the catering mgr, I would be in charge of the restaurant in 6 months if he gave me a chance. He laughed, brought me upstairs to the GM, told him the same thing, he laughed and said, I'm going to hire you just to see you fall on your ass. I was the only white guy there, 80% of the crew hated me, just for that reason. It was a up hill battle for months, I worked my ass off as a Catering Steward, in a Month I was head Steward, then Restaurant Mgr is 6 months. Both of the Mgrs are now friends, I went on in life to become  a Chef and owning my own Catering business and Food Service Management Company. If it wasn't for people helping me, I would have been down a different road, who knows where.

       My point is, everyone in this business has gotten help a long the way, some one trusted in their ability to cook the food in their Restaurant to help them succeed. I'm just saying, remember where we come from, we all needed a bit of help in the past, to get where we are today. In my business, when I had the FEW people with Passion, it made me and my business better. The Chefs in the Restaurants  near CIA, need not to look at why they can't bring him in, they need to find a way they can. The problem is, it would take some thinking and work, maybe going out of their way a bit to help out a guy, with Passion, trying to support a family while going to school.........I would hire this guy in a heart beat, not because he served our country and kept my family safe. I would hire him for his passion, you can't put a price on that.........

    Now to answer your question..........George Washington was President.......... no gas needed yet............no TV..........[​IMG]
     
  19. chefedb

    chefedb

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    At least we knew who was the President and V.P.   Today ask 20 young people who is VP, they have not a clue. Just watch Jay Leno at night when he ask questions of people  in the street. It's scary.
     
  20. duckfat

    duckfat

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    Cool! I'm glad you found a way to work it out and I hope you let us know how things go in the future.

    Dave