Community College Culinary Education

Discussion in 'Choosing A Culinary School' started by pastrysmc, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. pastrysmc


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    Culinary Student
    Hi all,
    I've been reading this forum for quite some time now and decided to finally introduce myself. :)

    I have a question for you all, and I'd love to get some opinions or experiences from professional chefs. A few months ago I applied and was accepted to JWU in Miami for pastry school. I was very excited for the opportunity, but now my situation has changed and I'm most likely looking at getting my AS in pastry at a community college.

    I've heard many times before that you get out of school what you put into it, and I'm prepared to make the best of any situation. I just happen to have some high ambitions though - I'm thinking I'd like to get some experience working in hotels, restaurants, and other big kitchens, and possibly one day starting a high-end bakery myself (a lot can change, I'm just talking possible future goals).

    Is it realistic to think that I can get far in this industry without a big-name culinary school? If anyone's been through that themselves, I'd love to hear about how it worked out.

    I've thought about majoring in hospitality instead, but baking and pastry is where my heart is. I don't have a problem with working hard and taking a rather non-traditional route to get where I want to go, I just want to know that it's doable. Thanks for any replies. :)
  2. brandon odell

    brandon odell

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    I'm fortunate enough to be in a region with a very, very good community college culinary program. I have also had the opportunity to work with, for and manage chefs from both community colleges and some of the "top" schools in the country. I currently employ one CC from CIA Hyde Park, one from Scottsdale CI, one from my local community college and one from another area 2-year program. The chefs I've worked with coming out of the community college in my area consistently run circles around the big school chefs in my experience, my own employee included. This community college requires three years of apprenticeship to get your chef certification. Some of the expensive schools only require one or two. They have a pastry program that routinely sends team members with the USA team to an international pastry competition. It's all about the particular school.

    I can't say if your local program is a quality program or not. I can say I have worked with two JWU chefs that were pretty weak chefs overall. Sure, they could cook. They could even carve ice. What they couldn't do was run a profitable kitchen.