Featured Is culinary school the right path?

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by michelle82, Jan 23, 2019.

  1. michelle82

    michelle82

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    kob
    Hello, I am 17 years old, meaning I am a senior in high school. To get my culinary education, I was planning on going to a community college to learn baking/pastry arts for 2 years and maybe going to Johnson and Wales to get my last 2 years for a bachelors degree. However, my mom doesn't really approve of this career choice because she thinks its such a tough job and low pay. I agree with her but as of right now, all I can think about is my passion for baking. But is my passion all I should focus on? Should I keep baking as a hobby and pursue a "better" career?
     
  2. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    Retired Owner/Operator
    Hi and welcome to CT. :)

    The brutal reality is a passion for cooking is never enough. Also, cooking at home for friends and family is not even close to what its like to cook commercially. They are so different, they may as well be on different planets.

    A degree in the culinary arts is a very narrow and very specific degree that has absolutely no value whatsoever outside of the food industry. Even in the food industry, there are many employers who really don't care if you have a CA degree. I was one of them. Should you decide one day that you no longer want a career in the food industry, that very expensive degree is not going to benefit you in any way. There is a very real and a very large likelihood that you will not retire from the food industry. In fact, depending on what country you live, statistically speaking, the average career in the food industry lasts between 18 and 36 months. So, putting your eggs all in one basket, so to speak, is never a good idea.

    What I suggest is this. Get a job in a restaurant or a bakery. Get sense for what this life is like. Work there for a few months. When you're done, go to college and earn a degree in something so you will have a fallback position in the event you decide one day this life is not for you. After college, if you are still motivated to have a career in the food industry, go to culinary school. Trust me, it will still be there after you graduate. :)

    Good luck. :)
     
    nicko likes this.
  3. jimyra

    jimyra

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    At seventeen I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. I truly believe that a BA in culinary arts is the way to go for someone wanting to follow the kitchen and hospitality field. A two year degree limits your upward mobility. There are exceptions but a BA also gives you a liberal art degree and in most cases a minor in business or restaurant and hospitality management. This degree can be used in many fields and will open many doors. If you want to earn more money and have more responsibility seek a four year degree. If you want to be a pastry prep or baker for less than twenty dollars and hour just go to work and in a few years if you are good enough you will find a job. Many chefs and owners don't care about a degree because they are looking for a worker that comes to work on time, sober, and can come in under labor cost. There are many collages that offer that BA. Good luck and try not to stress to much.
     
  4. michelle82

    michelle82

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    kob
    I'm so stressed right now because I didn't think about it like that and I only applied for culinary schools and that one community college. I'm not familiar with this whole college thing but do you think its possible for me to transfer from that community college to another major at another school?
     
  5. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    Probably. But, the best place to get that information is at your college guidance office.
     
  6. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Do not go to community college and then go to Johnson and Wales. The reason I say this is everything you need to know you can learn at community college. The addition of a J&W degree would be extremely costly and not worth it in my opinion. Many of the big schools have priced themselves out of practicality. Believe me you do not want to graduate culinary school with an Associates in culinary arts and be 80,000 in debt. Like SGS said above work in the business awhile before you go to school. Everyone should have a taste of the incredible hours you have to put in. Working weekends,nights not being able to hang out with friends and family as much. At first it is fine but after 7-8 years of working 60 - 80 hours a week it gets old.