Hardest Thing about Culinary School

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Joined Dec 25, 2006
This question is for the culinary grads or who are almost done with school....what is the hardest thing about culinary school?
 
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Joined Jan 18, 2006
Getting there on time every day when the school is 30 miles away and working two jobs that are 30 miles away the opposite direction from your house.
 
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Joined Oct 3, 2006
Finding that $45,000 job that the admissions rep said you could get upon graduation.


On a serious note... I loved all the cooking classes, they challenged me, but were not impossible to complete. The one skill that still eludes me is successfully breaking down whole fish, which I would describe my ability as so/so.
 
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Joined Feb 14, 2005
Dealing with fellow students that are slackers. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed my culinary school experience.

It is just discouraging when you work so hard to get there, then are partnered with some spoiled child that isn't pulling their weight. Unfortunately, dealing with that situation isn't bad preparation, as these same types are encountered later as coworkers.

Overall, my school experience was very good and has helped me quite a bit since.
 
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Joined Mar 9, 2007
Well for me, the main problem came down to... I guess two different things. About 3/4ths thru my program, I started working for a french chef, 1 on 1 in a 1 man kitchen, basically I was learning alot more "real world" cooking, than the stuff they teach you in school. And secondly, I couldn't get the thought out of my head, why am I paying so much for a school, that's mediocre at best, with students that are there as a last resort, or all drug addicts. Anywho - long story short, I guess motivation is/was the hardest part for me, schools, atleast to me, don't teach you industry - relevant info, they teach you the CORRECT way, which don't get me wrong is great, but not always practical.
 
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Joined Mar 9, 2007
I also forgot to mention the fact that, EXPERIENCE will ALWAYS outweigh a degree, but if you have both, thats the best. But if you have 3 years cooking experience, as opposed to someone fresh out of culinary school, some if not most are inclined to pick up the person with experience (guarnteed it's not at a TGI McFunsters or Chilli's)
 
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Joined Feb 21, 2007
Showing respect before it was earned and then even after it was proved it wasn't deserved. The "yes chef, no chef". Also it being assumed that because I didn't know how to cook that I didn't know how to eat.

I came to culinary school later after living abroad for many years, and after getting my B.A. I come from the West Coast where I went to an ultra-libreal 4-year where we called our profs by their first names, and had lots of pot-lucks at their house. We were critisized when we didn't offer our own thoughts and opinions. I lived and worked in France, Italy, and the Carribean for many years and had eaten a wide range of cuisine from street food to private meal from Bocuse.

Then I went to culinary school and was thrown in a world where I was treated like a child. Where I wasn't anything if I couldn't make demi-glace. The whole "title" thing just didn't make sense to me (and still doesn't, but I think that's a different thread) . As far as I was/am concerned respect is about showing up on time, working 120%, doing your best and being passionately interested in your work.

Also, I was one girl out of 130 boys in that year's class.

All and all though I hated it when I was there, I miss it now. I went to a school that had a very high level of real-life production. I miss the pace and volume of work that we did.
 
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Joined Feb 18, 2007
Don't know if I'm allowed to post here. I teach in the medical field and if you have that attitude in whatever you do, you will succeed. Come to work late and only give 50% and that will be how your life will be. Live life 100% and you will have a fun ride. Remember, you only get to go on one trip so make the best of it.

paddy
 
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Joined Sep 5, 2006
I guess I am lucky, at my school, everyone is on a first name basis and at times we work side by side with our instructor to complete something. As far as the gender issue goes, overall it is a male dominated industry. (for many years, in Europe ALL chefs were men). You almost have to prove yourself if you are female.
The toughest part about school for me, is waiting for it to end. So I can get out there and REALLY learn. And not getting overwhelmed by the AMOUNT of information to learn. Language has been a tough one for me- having to practically learn French and Italian......
 
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Joined Feb 13, 2007
Wow! This brings up some memories!
The number one problem was being treated like an elementary student.
It was a little worse than I expected because when I signed up I told myself that I would learn so much stuff it would be worth putting up with a little degradation.
However, I had just sold 2 Restaurants, still had a Catering Co. with active contracts and was driving anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours each way, and frequently was treated like I was completely ignorant, and when I explained I had a little experience it got worse.

I wasn't there to receive praise, or to boost my ego, I wasn't there for free and they treated me like they were my employer.

When you look at the entire picture I paid more than 32,000.00 to be treated poorly, I could have taken a job working for someone else and received some pay.

Good times!
 
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Joined Mar 13, 2007
"Yes chef, No Chef" isn't intended to make you feel ignorant is it ment as a respect to the chef. Every restaurant I've worked at and at school I have always said that out of respect. It's the same as saying Mr. and Mrs. to a teacher or elder who you respect.
 
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Joined Feb 14, 2007
I have to agree. I've never felt it was demeaning to address the person who runs the kitchen as 'Chef'. Well, except for my current boss and that's a whole 'nother story...:cool:
 
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Joined Feb 19, 2007
The hardest thing is when the chef is like get me this or get me that but doesnt tell me what he is doing or making. I do observe and look at whe he has and try to think a head.

I also dont liek the fact that he said he will never give anyone an A in his class. Ive bust my hump for his class and still do

Its all good though. Ive leanred alot as much as he pushes and pushes and pushes but he demands the best.

As other people said before the deadweight people in class stink and they make it harder for everyone else becuase they arent putting the love into it or showing the disire to be there.
 
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Joined Oct 9, 2010
Can I ask you "Breton Beats", what Culinary School you attended? And, do you think it is more worth it to attend a Culinary School abroad or in the US?
 
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Joined Sep 19, 2010
I have 10 more weeks before I'm finished school and the hardest things I found was the attitude of some (not all) of my fellow students.  Either they don't listen to the instructor or don't care about what they're trying to create.

I really enjoy school, but I'm getting anxious about getting a job.  I'm starting the process of pulling together a CV and reviewing Job websites, like hcareers: Hospitality Jobs in Canada and All Chef Jobs in Canada.
 
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Joined Oct 11, 2010
Salutations, all. 

I'm finishing up my baccalaureate degree in Travel, Tourism and Hotel Management and plan to move on to culinary school directly after to round out my education.  I can't answer to how tough it is in culinary school, but I know that my focus will be just to keep my head down, my eyes and ears open and plow through what I have to do to get what I want.  A little tough love (even outright condescension) isn't going to sway me from my goals.  Once I graduate they can watch my big, girly butt walk right out the door and into the world with an open mind and skillful hands.  And then, my friends, I'm a peer...an equal.  And there's nothing they can do about it (insert evil laugh here).
 
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Joined Oct 3, 2006
Wow its interesting to see a comment I made 3 years ago...

Hardest thing in retrospect was/is tournee potatoes (or anything else for that matter).  We have improved in the fish department a little bit since then..
 
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Joined Oct 11, 2010
Salutations, all. 

I'm finishing up my baccalaureate degree in Travel, Tourism and Hotel Management and plan to move on to culinary school directly after to round out my education.  I can't answer to how tough it is in culinary school, but I know that my focus will be just to keep my head down, my eyes and ears open and plow through what I have to do to get what I want.  A little tough love (even outright condescension) isn't going to sway me from my goals.  Once I graduate they can watch my big, girly butt walk right out the door and into the world with an open mind and skillful hands.  And then, my friends, I'm a peer...an equal.  And there's nothing they can do about it (insert evil laugh here).
Is it tacky to quote my own post?  If so, forgive me.  But it's necessary.  Rereading the above I seem to be implying that my 'skill' post graduation from culinary school would be equal to the skill and clout of a practiced and professional chef.  Not at all what I mean.  I have no delusions that culinary school would make me a Chef with a capital 'C' anymore than standing inside a garage would make me a Ferrari.  I just mean that my hard work and perseverance combined with the education I'd hopefully receive gives me the same chance to excel and be brilliant as anyone else. 

I feel better now.
 
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