Online culinary classes, how can that be a good idea?

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by heroine26, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. heroine26

    heroine26

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    The closest cheapest culinary classes near me are online only. How can they teach you how to cook over the internet? Isn't it better to do it hands-on? Is this a stupid idea or should I go into debt taking classes just so I can do it in person?
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I Just Like Food
    As a home cook like you, I learned what I know from books and PBS.

    This is not to say whether or not the online course is a good value just that it's doable.
     
  3. leeniek

    leeniek

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    I'm self taught and I was able to transition to the professional kitchen.. not everyone can do that so you need to decide what you want to do was far as cooking goes and go from there.  Nothing beats hands on experience though so you might want to invest in a few good cookbooks and then let your creativity build.
     
  4. leeniek

    leeniek

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    And before you go into debt, if you really do want to work in a kitchen your best bet would be to get a job in one.  You'll learn pretty quickly whether or not it's for you and if it isn't... think of all of the money you've saved.
     
  5. heroine26

    heroine26

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    Thanks for the replies, everyone! From what I've been researching, I've learned that MOST personal chefs don't have formal culinary training! This just blows my mind. I guess it isn't so bad to learn on your own or through cookbooks or tv shows. Since I'm having a hell of a time landing a full time job, I think teaching myself will be the most sensible option for now. Thanks again everyone!
     
  6. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    The "difficult" part as to a career as a personal chef is definitely NOT the cooking, shopping, cleaning, it is the MARKETING along with the bookkeeping and understanding the rules and regulations of your specific area.
     
     
  7. chefedb

    chefedb

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    HEROINE26.  

     READ< READ< READ  ask questions on forums like this. In total the guys on this site can give you hundreds of years worth of experience and answers. Best of all  IT"S FREE no tuition fees   .
     
  8. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Getting back to your original question, I agree: How can you be taught on-line? There's nobody right there to correct you if you're doing someing incorrectly, or inefficiently. I would skip that route all-together. You can learn as much watching cooking shows on TV, and not have to pay a fee for it.

    The best any training can do is shorten the learning curve. Many of us here, perhaps most of us, are self-taught. It is, after all, comparatively recently that culinary schools were actually recognized as professional.

    So that's the question you have to answer: Is the shorter learning curve worth the high cost of culinary school?

    Something else to consider: Culinary school is not the only formal training available. There are all sorts of educational paths, ranging from cooking classes run out of people's homes, to short courses offered by chefs in their restaurants. You might want to explore those routes as well. You might find that they are both valuable and affordible.

    And, above all, pay attention to Pete's words above. Being able to do the work is the least important part of private cheffing. Actually getting the work is the hard part. Kind of like freelance writing in that regard. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif
     
  9. heroine26

    heroine26

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    Yeah I would imagine the cooking itself is the easiest part, since we already do it. I don't understand how marketing/advertising is so hard though...don't you only need a small handful of clients? How hard could it be to find 2 or 3 people? If you live in an average sized city, I would think putting an ad in the newspaper or Craigslist would give you more clients than you could handle. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't want to hire a personal chef, even for just a few days a week. Even if 5 people can only afford you for 1 day a week, you're set! I wouldn't need a rich person either, I am sure your average every day Joe who works a typical job could afford to pay someone $50 a week to make a few meals.

    I did check out all the classes in my state and it seems like they're all more than 30 miles from me, and that is kind of a problem because I have an old vehicle and it isn't reliable anymore, I don't want to be driving out of town if I can help it. But I have about 30 cookbooks, I get a few cooking channels, I also ordered a book called How To Start a Personal Chef Business that should be coming any day now, I think I have plenty to start with, at least!
     
  10. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    Hm, I hope that is NOT your marketing goal, I surely will NOT work for $250/week!

    In fact, $50/week would barely cover the grocery costs, let alone anything else
     
  11. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Heroine, just a few things to stir into the stew pot.

    First off, if your car is unreliable, how do you intend getting back and forth to clients? The worst thing you could do is not show up for a gig.

    Second, everybody's idea of a decent income is different. But your numbers, even if feasible, don't add up. Let's say you did, indeed, get five clients, each of which was willing to pay you $50. That's $250/week. Annualized, you're only talking 12 grand a year gross, from which you have to deduct all the costs of doing business (i.e., insurance, transportation, amortization of capital goods, possibly food cost, advertising, licenses, taxes, etc.). Doesn't leave a whole lot in your pocket. And that presumes you will attract that many clients, which isn't as easy as you seem to believe.   

    You also have the problem of convincing that $50/week potential client that you bring something to the table that he/she can't get just by ordering take-out. With neither formal training nor experience, how do you intend climbing that hurdle?

    BTW, I also question this conclusion: I've learned that MOST personal chefs don't have formal culinary training!  If by "formal" you mean "classroom," that may or may not be true. But those who don't have classroom training, for the most part, make up for it with a history of in-the-industry experience. That is, they've worked in restaurants, for caterers, or at other food-service establishments, and learned on-the-job. Just guessing, but it wouldn't surprise me to find that the number of successful private chefs who went directly from the home kitchen to cooking for others can be counted on one hand. And maybe have a few fingers left over.

    Understand, please, that I'm not trying to discourage you. What I am doing, however, is trying to help open your eyes to the realities. You seem to be letting the dream cloud your vision in that regard.