Is Culinary school right for me?

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by josh1110, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. josh1110

    josh1110

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    I'm currently in grade 12 and am trying to decide what to do after highschool.
    At first I thought maybe becoming a police officer or going into a trade, so I tried a plumbing apprenticship at my school which was one full semester and I passed it but didn't really have a feel for the trades. In grade 10, I toke a cafateria class and food and safety class and I rather enjoyed it.

    The problem I'm having is, I don't cook regularly. I don't because I don't live in a rich family and I'm scared to mess up and ruin something possibly. I do really enjoy cooking however though.

    I was thinking of possibly after I'm done high school I should go work at this restaurant my sister works at called 'Cactus club' where I would do food preperation then hopefully try and learn something in the kitchen so after a year I could go to Culinary school.

    or would it be better to go to Culinary school and learn how to cook there? I really do want to be a chief.
     
  2. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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  3. josh1110

    josh1110

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    Thanks, but sadly I already read it before I posted this.

    I know I will be getting paid low, I enjoy to cook though. I find it a passion, I can't wait to work at a resturant and cook my heart out.

    Please give me suggestions on what you think I should do though. Either:

    1) Go to culinary school after high school and learn how to cook there

    2) Work for a year at a restaurant to gain knowledge then go travel somewhere in Europe where I could get a job there and learn their ways of cooking, then go to school.

    3) After high school go work at a restaurant, gain more knowledge, work my way up at that place then go to school or work till I'm 19 at a few different restaurants then go to school.

    Thank you all so much in advance for helping me out! much apperciated!!!1!

    !
     
  4. foodpump

    foodpump

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    You're on the right track.

    If you can wrangle it, start in any reastaurant you can--just for the experience, if you like it, work more.

    If you figure this is what you want to do, start looking at culinary schools.  Look carefully and don't fall into the tiger trap that many other culinary students fall into:

    ---Servicing a 60 grand loan after graduation while working 2 or 3 p/t jobs paying little more than minimum wage.....

    If you can build up some cash before starting culinary school and work during school, so much the better.

    The majority of the Chefs who hire are experienced enough to not let the name of the school make an impression on them. What impresses them is the first day or so of watching the new guy do his job. 

    Remember: Any experience you have before school will count for you when looking for a job.  School will provide knowledege but NOT experience, and everyone wants the guy with experience.  Many culinary graduates fail to acknowledge this.

    In the meantime cook at home, cook for relatives, read as much as you can.    
     
  5. gnnairda

    gnnairda

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    also try look at your parent's benefit's

    My father is in a union so he is able to claim half of the tuition and since my mother works for the government I am eligible for a scholarship.
     
  6. josh1110

    josh1110

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    Thanks for the wonderful reply guys, mainly foodpump ;D

    Anyways @gNnaridA: My family is kind of poor..My sister worked hard to get into law school by getting a job and working many overtime shifts so I'm going to have to do the same. My dad is a general contracter and my mom is a social worker which doesn't help my career in cooking at all really.
     
  7. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Work first then school. Why spend all that $ to find out you do not like it. When I hired I didn't care what school you came from as they all teach the basics. My main concern was your attitude, temperament, neatness and punctuality. You don't need school for any of these.Good Luck to you
     
  8. foodpump

    foodpump

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    gNiardA,

    A word to the wise and maybe to help you on your career path:

    "Hospitality unions" and other Trade unions are as different as night and day.  Because of this difference, management of prospective employers don't really "like" the unions, and it is the management, NOT the Unions who hire.

    No offense to your Dad, and since he is actually getting benifits, I'm guessing his Union is not in the Hospitality industry.....

    Am I making sense here?
     
  9. josh1110

    josh1110

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    I understand!  Thank you so much!
     
  10. gobblygook

    gobblygook

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    Here's my suggestion, but since I've neither gone to culinary school, nor worked as a real "chef", my suggestion should be taken for what it is -- the musings of guy 20 years older than you.

    I would suggest working in the field first, and if there's a choice, I'd suggest starting as a prep cook.  You can gain an incredible amount of experience and learn good knife skills.  Even 6 months of experience will give you an incredible leg up on the other students in your school.  In your off-time, read culinary books (not cookbooks, but books about cooking, the why, not just the how. 

    The most important thing to remember when you enter the doors of the school is that you may have learned the "wrong way" on some things.  Be open to change and remember that "that's not how they did it at Joe's bar" isn't an acceptable response.  You will be graded on doing it the way the instructor says, not on the "best" way.  Learn different ways and decide what works best for you.  But when you're being graded, do it the instructor's way.
     
  11. gnnairda

    gnnairda

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    yeah I didn't really specify, my dad is a Welder  . Just saying that if there is any kind of benefits he can take advantage of  then take it instead of paying 100% of the cost for schooling.

    I don't know what its like in BC but here in Alberta if you graduate from a trade ( culinary included) the government can reimburse you 1k.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2010
  12. taylorlovesfood

    taylorlovesfood

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    There are many accredited culinary schools in America, meaning that financial aid is available. Depending on your parents' financial situation, (and it sounds like you could qualify) you can receive pell grants that you don't have to pay off.

    I would, however, recommend working in a restaurant before making the choice to go to culinary school. Generally, culinary schools are a bit more expensive than your average 4 year degree college. You need to make sure that you really love cooking before committing to culinary school.

    I had a full ride to my 4 year college I went to before attending Platt College in financial aid and scholarship and wound up using most of the financial aid available to me before school and having to take out many student loans.

    I went from wanting to be a clinical therapist to wanting to be a chef and I absolutely love it. It's a lot of fun

    -Taylor
     
  13. theunknowncook

    theunknowncook Banned

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    Josh1110:

    I would suggest that you consider doing an ACF Apprenticeship. You would work for 3 years, be paid, learn, and earn a 2-year degree in Culinary Arts from a technical or community college. You would be much better prepared than the average culinary school graduate, because you would not have become indebted to a bank, have work-experience, and a 2-year vocational degree! Afterwards, you could do the finishing apprenticeship at the Greenbrier, and you would be far ahead of your peers!

    However, if an apprenticeship isn't suitable for you, check Shaw Guides for a community college program feasible for you and your family. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010
  14. jtobin625

    jtobin625

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    I would recommend that you just work in a restaurant to start. There's nothing wrong with that. After the Michelin Stars were announced in Chicago, I researched a few of the chefs I didn't know and compiled who did and did not attend culinary school that made the list. 

    http://culinaryschooladviser.com/?p=207

    The food industry is a profession that you can find success in by not going to culinary school, by going to a community college, or by going to an expensive school. Work in the industry first. Also, look over my site. I used to work in those type of expensive schools and write about it now.