New to the board...needing advice.

Joined Mar 24, 2011
So i have been in the kitchen my entire life. I grew up in an Italian/Southern family and three of my uncles are chefs. The passion is most certainly in the veins.

I dropped out of college in the middle of my junior year. I decided to attend a culinary school the following july. I made it about five months into the process and wasn't pleased with the school. The chefs were lazy, I didn't learn much, and the people that attended classes at this particular school had zero passion about cooking. Of course there were a few serious cooks but most were just there because they fell into the scam. So...I decided to drop out and work. I've been doing that for two years now. I work in a highly successful restaurant and I know what I'm getting into when I dedicate my life to the business.

Here's the deal.....I can go to wither FCI, ICI, or NECI in July. I am touring the northeast NYC on April 1st. After visiting these schools I would love to make a decision. Lately I have been looking into internships in Europe as well. Much cheaper and I feel like a better experience. I knwo it won't help me get a high paying chef job but I am willing to pay my dues. I just want to gain as much experience as possible in order to start my own business in a matter of 5-7 years.

My family owns land outside of Memphis, Tn. My great grandfather, grandfather, and father were all delta cotton farmers in the south. That land will one day be mine. As of right now I would love to create a produce farm on this land and create a restaurant that is as fresh as possible. Straight from my farm. Straight to your plate.

In order to fufill my dream I need to make a decison pretty quickly.

1. Attend top flights schools and pile up the debt

2. Study abroad for experience for more the less the cost.

3. Keep working hard and help my father jumpstart the produce company while working under a great chef 

ps..My father is retiring and wants to start the produce business whether I choose to help or not this time in my life. Eventually I will be involved but I would love to gain more experience.  

I really am looking forward to the responses. thanks guys
Joined Oct 10, 2005
This is excellent advice for the cooking part.

But you eventually want to open a business, right?

So you will need someone to help finance the thing.  Banks will want to see some kind of credentials and they tell you: Great, so you can cook, but can you run a business?  If so, proove it.

And if you have been in charge of a kitchen, and can demonstrate that you were able to run it profitably, then the banks are all ears.

It's a good goal and you're thinking and planning the right way, but it will need a lot of time.  
Joined Dec 17, 2009

I advise you to avoid those "top flight" schools as you refer to them. They are not worth the exorbitant tuition that they charge. Besides, you do not need to incur debt especially when the economy is collapsing, and the food-service industry paying minimum-wage, you will have a difficult time repaying those loans. Moreover, employers do not care which school you had attended. They consider the work experience.

Consider the following options: ACF Apprenticeship, or attend a community college program. Schoolcraft College has the best program in the nation [Virtual Tour, Course Descriptions], and GRCC has the second best program in my opinion. [Virtual Tour, Program Goals, Culinary Arts Brochure, Culinary Management Brochure, Checklist] GRCC also has a student-chapter of the ACF.

Checking Shaw Guides: Tennessee, and ACF, there are Nashville State Community College, and Walters State Community College.

ACF Memphis Chapter

According to Shaw Guides: Italy, the only vocational school program listed is Apicius.

So You Wanna be a Chef by Anthony Bourdain
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Joined Jul 28, 2001

I came from kind of a similar background.

I would go help your Dad start the produce company and while doing that get your degree in Business Management.


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