HELP!! .. Really need some advice!!!

4
10
Joined Mar 2, 2002
Hi There.. Well I'm relatively new here,and I really need some advice. I've been wanting to be a chef since i was younger, actually I'm still pretty young (17) I just really need some advice on which Culinary Schools are better,and if its really worth it to go? I've been getting swamped with different options by receiving as much information as I can on as many schools as possible. I was suppose to be starting Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon, but now I'm not quite sure. I'm willing to travel abroad, and pay more if the programs and school are better. Also, is it better to try and get my Bachelors in Culinary Arts or to just get my Associates?
I'm sorry to bother anyone, but I have no idea where to start on my path to work in this industry, any help at all would be grateful!
Thanks So Much!!
 
3,853
12
Joined May 26, 2001
You're not bothering anyone -- this is what this board is all about! Ask away!

But I do suggest that first you look at the thread "Interrogation of a Student" that Chef David Simpson started. The questions there are ones that everyone in this industry should ask ourselves. They are especially good for folks like you who haven't quite started yet.

Also, take a look at this whole board. I'll bet that a lot of the questions you want answered -- but don't even know to ask yet -- are here. I think we even have people here who attended the school you mention.

Welcome, and keep in touch!
 
4
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Joined Mar 2, 2002
Thanks for the advice.. I read that thread about the "Interrogation of a student" and answered those questions to myself. I've also looked over a lot of the other threads that are similar to this one,and It kind of made me more confused since there were so many schools mentioned.
I had one of the chefs/restaurant owners come into my work yesterday,and someone had mentioned to him about me wanting to go to Culinary school,and he told me that it really doesn't matter which school I go to,and that its a mans world. That made me quite angry and made me want to achieve it even more!! I'm a very strong person and its little things like that that make me strive for it and want to work harder.
I was also looking at CIA , The New York Restaurant School, and even this school in France called "Ecole des Arts Culinaires et de l’Hôtellerie de Lyon" but that chef also told me that it'd be a bad idea for a young american girl like myself to go to school abroad,especially in France, even if i wait a couple more years. I would like to know what people think about that,and if that is true. Is it better to not start off abroad with your schooling?
Thanks again!!
 
97
10
Joined Jan 31, 2002
Hello Justme,

I've recently decided to go to culinary school, too. I had many of the same questions. The archives of this board are one of your best resources, in my opinion. Also check out Becoming a Chef by Andrew Dorenburg and Karen Page. (It's really helpful).

Here's some of the conclusions I've come to, and advice I've received.

The top three culinary schools in the U.S. are:

The CIA. In upstate New York, or California, the CIA is regarded by many as being the best culinary school in the world.

Johnson and Whales. Don't forget about thier campuses other than Rhode Island. A wise man once told me that the North Carolina campus may be the best.

New England Culinary Institute. Much smaller than the other two, NECI maintains a 7:1 student/instructor ratio. It also takes a much more hands-on aproach. Learn by doing.

Other highlights include Scottsdale Culinary Institute, Western Culinary Institute, and the New York schools (Peter Krumps, French, ect). Check out
www.culinaryschools.com for a pretty large list of your options.

An advisor at NECI told me that, while it sounds exciting, heading off to France may not be such a great idea. This is true because the American food scene is really up-and-coming, a pretty exciting and potential-filled state of affairs. Some of the best French restaurants in the world are to be found in places like New York, now. Also, if you're not already fluent in French, you may well get eaten alive abroad. On the other hand, going abroad does seem to be an important function of developing as a chef. (Again, see Becoming a Chef). You may want to consider going off to Australia, in part because it is becoming a very exciting food locale, and in part because it can be less expensive, even after travel expenses, becuase of the Austrailian dollar and a system which keeps the price of education low. (I went to Canada for an undergraduate degree for much the same reason, and it really worked out well.)

I hope this is helpful.
P
 

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