CIA work experience requirement. . .

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I have been accepted into the CIA's Executive Pastry Chef program (Napa Valley) pending my completing six months of outside food service work. I live in Coronado, California (San Diego area) and am not having any luck finding food service employment in my area. I have been honest in my approach in letting the perspective employer(s) know that I will in fact only be available for the six-to-eight month period so to fulfill my school requirement. I have practiced architecture for a number of years (self-employed) so my job-seeking skills might be out of tune. Any suggestion(s) as to where I might be able to secure a position would truly be appreciated.

Bill H
 
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
Bill,

Welcome to CT, Your skills in architecture is a plus.Just think of the pastry work you could design.

Here's a good starting point

http://www.hcareers.com/

Again, welcome.

Bill, also check out our three excellent pastry forums,you will no dought find some helpful reading.
CC
 
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CC:

Thanks for the welcoming reply. You are absolutely right -- architecture and culinary are alike, kinda cousins if you will. For years I have been doing theme cakes (wed, anniv., brithday, etc.) which I have used the same approach as I would a building design, real enjoyable. Something I did not mention in my original message is that I have been given "permission" from my wife and two young children to undergo the culinary education, but they want it done a.s.a.p., not years from now. So essentially I've got to get the work experience rather quickly so to keep peace on the homefront!

Bill
 
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Bill H,

I understand your problem. On breaks from school I always had trouble finding a bit of work because people knew I wouldn't be around at the end of the summer. Living in northern New England this was particularly troublesome because the really busy season doesn't actually start until the leaves change, which usually co-inciedes with the start of the school year.

Here's what I had to do: lie. That straight forward thing doesn't work. People, you see, are fundementally stupid. For pitty's sake, if its June and you need to hire some one, hire a college student. Sure they'll be gone before you're ready for them to leave, but anyone else you hire probably will be too. Turnover is an unstoppable juggernaut, and, in the interim, you get an employee who very likely at least has access to a dependable ride.

I'm not deceptive or macheavellian by nature, but I think you should feel free to stretch the truth. In my experience, if you get a job in an average place washing dishes and aren't a bafoon, you'll be doing prep in a couple of weeks, and pantry within a month or two, and whoever hired you will be so happy you're there then they won't care that you're off to school in two weeks. The exec on the other hand will probably be washing dishes because the crack baby he hired at the same time as you and counted on to be there through snowfall was caught slugging vanilla extract in the locker room in hopes of catching a pre-service buzz.

Anyway, that's my two cents. This is a pretty noble board, though, and I'm sure there's better advice to be had.

cheers,
P
 

nicko

Founder of Cheftalk.com
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I can see your point Moxie, but I always found plenty of opportunities to work even if it was for or a short stint and I was always straight forward. When I was working in Europe I stayed only a couple months in France or a month in Italy, a summer in Greece. I never had to tell a lie, the people new I was there for the experience and they were happy to help me out. Keep in mind I was not getting paid in France but I planned for the experience and had a great time.

Bill, you may have to take a low paying job, but I am sure you can find something. Are you looking strictly for a restaurant experience or would you be open to a pastry or bakery shop? You may be able to get a short time apprenticeship at a local pastry shop. I would recommend checking out the CIA and call them and ask if there are any alumni in the area and then go and pay them a visit. Alumni are almost always happy to help out a future culinarian.

As far as your architecture background I believe that Careme was first an architect and then went into cooking. You have a good groundwork for your future career.
 
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Actually Careme began cooking at a very young age. He studied architechural drawings with working for A pastry chef named Bailly. He used the drawing to design his Montee Peices (like a centerpiece today). He once Said "The fine arts are five in number. Painting, music, poetry, sculpture, and archithechure...the principle branch of the latter being pastry"
You have chosen a good career o change to. Maybe I will see you on Food Network soon. At the $50,000 pastry competition. Good luck in all you adventures.
 
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Thank you guys for the fantastic and enthusiastic input. A couple things come to mind when reviewing the replies:

The idea of going to the C.I.A. Alumm. assoc. is probably a good approach, if they are like me as a practicing architect, they would seemingly embrace the chance to help future chefs.

As for pay, all I would look at receiving is the minimum of the minimum -- I would not be leaving architecture if that was a concern, though I have nothing against off-setting the cost of our children's after-school program so to break even.

As I do in planning, programming and drawing buidings, I do sketches and drawings of my proposed culinary projects. Sometimes I wonder if it would be worth my while to publish a book/pamplet of some of my cake designs -- some are quite iconaclastic in approach. Oh well, just an idea.

Well enough of this, again thank you a lot for the information and you good words.


Bill H
 

kuan

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It would be very refreshing to see ideas unencumbered by years and years of experience! :)

kuan
 

nicko

Founder of Cheftalk.com
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I agree Kuan, I think it would prove to very interesting.
 
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I actually went to greystone and was in this very program. I however live in Vermont. I too had a hard time. ARe they any private secondary schools in your area or private collages? I did my internship in a private high school. You might want to consider something like that. I feel for you because I had the same problem. good luck.
 
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