Online culinary/catering "diploma?"

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by momchef, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. momchef


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    At home cook
    I have been cooking since I was 8 years old.  I have an advanced degree.  About 10 years ago, I really regretted going to grad school instead of culinary school, but as I had a small child and lived far away from a culinary school (and an hour away from the nearest community college program), it just was not possible for me.  Instead I did whatever I could to educate myself at home--  I have read DOZENS of books on the science of cooking, spices,various types of cuisine, etc.  I have cooked my way through the cookbooks of top chefs and an older edition of the CIA "Professional Chef" textbook.  I try new recipes several times a week, focusing on technique.

    At this point in my life, culinary school is still not in the cards for me.    I have arranged to work part time for free at the best restaurant in my semi rural area--  it should turn into a paying position soon-- so I can get experience.  

    My goal is to open my own catering business sometime in the next year or two.  I have access to a professional kitchen, which is attached to a banquet hall that is often used for weddings, etc.  I know the owners of the hall/kitchen and they are interested in working with me.

    My questions are about online/correspondence schools that confer "diplomas" or "certificates" in gourmet cooking and catering. Has anyone here gone through such a program?  Was it helpful to you?  Why or why not??

    My general sense is that these programs probably can't teach me anything I don't already know.  What I probably need most is to learn, in person, from a professional chef.  But if there is something else they can teach me to help me to master this craft, then I am totally open to pursuing one of those programs.

    Thanks for any input.
  2. petemccracken


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    Professional Chef
    IMHO, you would benefit FAR more from some business courses at your local community college than you will from ANY culinary school or diploma.

    Running a culinary business is NOT about cooking, it IS about marketing, financing, accounting, personnel management, complying with laws, fixing what's broke, and knowing who to call when you need help.

    In ten years as a personal chef, I've been asked maybe 4 or 5 times concerning my culinary education, and I've never been asked by a catering client!
  3. chefedb


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    Retired Chef
    You can use that diploma or certificate to cover holes in your garage walls. They are worthless. Go to the public library and get some books on catering business and catering cooking.They are free.. See if you can secure a pt job or do some gigs for an established caterer. On the job training is the best teacher.. Good Luck