Very confused high school student!!! :( - Please answer!

Discussion in 'Choosing A Culinary School' started by pastrylove96, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. Le Cordon Bleu Paris

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  2. Ritz Escoffier

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  3. Ferrandi (International program)

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  4. Culinary Institute of America

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  5. Lenotre

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  6. International Culinary Institute

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  1. pastrylove96

    pastrylove96

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    Hi!

    I am currently a high school student in NYC, and I am finally in my senior year of high school. I was very interested in becoming a pastry chef/chocolatier since the beginning of 10th grade so I started researching the best culinary schools in the world (well, mainly France and the U.S. :)), in which I came up with the top 6 listed in the poll. However, I am still very confused in terms of where I should apply to, because I feel like all of the schools are great schools. Although I have the feeling that I should go to France in order to learn everything about french pastry, I still am considering CIA and ICE, because I live near those schools. Also, I do not speak french but I am willing to learn the language if I decide to go to France and I also have a few friends there. 

    These are my mixed feelings about each of the schools after reading all of the reviews about it:

    1.    

    - known internationally 

    - too many people in one class

    - only best students get internships?

    2. Ritz Escoffier

    - I do not know how long the program is, because I feel like their brochure for 2012 are outdated...

    - internship at their own kitchen?

    - teaches in English/translator?

    3. Ferrandi

    - International program is not highly respected

    - class sizes are reasonable

    - gives out internships (to smaller places like boutiques?)

    4. Lenotre

    - class sizes are a bit large

    - recognized only in France? 

    - I'm not sure if they give out internships..

    5.    

    - very long program

    - gives out internship

    6. International Culinary Institute

    - gives opportunity for internship

    - ...

    I don't know why but I just really cannot decide on one school... ***What are your thoughts on these schools in terms of the length of the program, the quality of the program itself, recognition, the chefs, class sizes, location, and internship? In addition, I'm already interning at a restaurant (JG) right now, so I'm very serious about this... I really want your honest review!!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2014
  2. foodpump

    foodpump

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    I really think you should work for at least a year in a kitchen before you go any culinary school. 

    This is probably the single, most important piece of advice I can offer you right now.  Should you take this advice, chances are that in 3 years from now you will be very happy that you did.  If you choose not to take the advice, odds are 80/20 in favour that you wished you did 3 years later.

    Hope this helps
     
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  3. pastrylove96

    pastrylove96

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    I did work in a small kitchen before I had this internship and I really liked it! Even though most of the times the chefs are extremely harsh, I really like what I'm doing right now so it doesn't matter honestly... And I also agree with you about having at least some experience in the kitchen before making decisions, in which I know that culinary school does not reflect the real world. Thanks for your advice! 
     
  4. cheftorres87

    cheftorres87

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    I went to The Art Institutes, I just want to throw this out here.

    The bureau of labor and statistics says you can expect to make 20,000 a year as a line cook, and around 40,000 as an executive chef.

    You can:

    Work for free (stage, internship, apprenticeship) and learn a huge amount from various pastry chefs at different restaurants.

    Learn on the job at one place and learn a lot over time.

    or go to school, learn the bare minimum, graduate, and take an entry level position as pastry chef and learn on the job, only now you'll be in debt.

    Personally school isn't required for any culinary job and I think it's better to learn via the first two methods, there are a lot of professional chefs even at the executive level that still stage and take apprenticeships from other chefs.
     
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  5. panini

    panini

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    @pastrylove96,

      I'm not so sure you should be focused so much on going to France. The basics are the basics. There is not too much variations except for personal creativity and garnish. I think you can achieve the basics at home in the USA. I am not bias, I was fortunately able to train in France and Switzerland in the 70's. Nothing formal but there were some very wonderful chefs treated me a little bit better then the stupid American.

    @foodpump, is pretty adamant about working a bit in the industry. I have to say, if you use your employment as a tool to progress you can always take classes. Still confused /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
  6. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    I don't disagree with getting experience. Kitchen work is sweaty, pressure driven and often intense although prep work can be tedious. You should have a healthy dose before enrolling in school. 

    I notice you left out Johnson and Wales University in Providence RI. It's a great school and Providence is a very nice place to live while going to school. If you haven't heard of it, now you know. 
     
  7. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    @pastrylove96  have you decided? If so what did you choose. As someone who faced what you are now facing I wish I would of thought a little differently when I started out. What I mean is I wanted to be a chef and that meant going to school. I "HAD" to go to school it seemed like the only way.What I wish I would of done was spent more time in the industry working in different places to get a feel for what I wanted to do. Being a pastry chef can mean many things all of which are very different. What I mean is do you want to run a small cafe or bakery? Do you want to be a four star pastry chef at a high end restaurant? Or what about working in high volume banquets or hospital food service. Maybe it is running a small chocolate shop. Whatever it may be you should go and work in that area of the industry. I also recommend working in other areas so you understand them fully. 

    Initially I thought I wanted to be a Charlie Trotter or Grant Achatz chef but the more time I spent in this area I realized that I did not want to spend that time away from family. Spend some time figuring out what kind of role in the kitchen you want. Chef is a broad term. Narrow it down and you will not waste as much time or money.
     
  8. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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  9. pastrylove96

    pastrylove96

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    Hey @Nicko  , 

    I actually took @panini  's advice and I decided that I'm probably not going to Paris! I am really considering ICC in soho, because I don't have to spend any other money in terms of traveling and paying rent and other things in Paris or anywhere else. I also live in manhattan so ICC is probably going to be the one that I am applying to... I hope they have space for next year though, because I heard that culinary schools were popular these days... However, I'll have to go there once more and tour the school before I decide to hand in the application. I actually REALLY want to go to France, but I don't think it's going to make a huge difference, because I was planning on coming back to NYC anyways after 1-2 years. Also, my goal was actually to start out as a apprentice? and work my way up to become a pastry chef at a top restaurant and then become a chocolatier. After I become a chocolatier hopefully I'll be able to open my own cake boutique or a cafe in nyc! Btw, this is just a brief summary of my goals after culinary school, I know that it's not as easy as it looks, but this is my dream so I'll do whatever there is to achieve it!! :)
     
  10. panini

    panini

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    @pastrylove96,

      I see you mentioned cake boutique. Please visit our website. I'm not plugging it, we only work within a 12 sq mile. But we do take interns sometimes.

    I wish you well in all your endeavors.
     
  11. pastrylove96

    pastrylove96

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    @panini  I would love to intern at your boutique! I did visit your website and looked at all of your creations, which in fact was amazing, but I noticed that it was located in Texas... It's just a bit too far away from where I live... Maybe after culinary school I could hand you my actual resume and stuff! :)
     
  12. panini

    panini

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    @pastrylove96.

    I would love to get your resume. Do well in school. Make sure you document all important things. Take pics. Start your personal book from day 1. Whether it be a diary or just notes.

    Trust me, once you enter the industry it is so difficult to go back and do it.

    Best of luck to you and please keep in touch.
     
  13. dreamshards8

    dreamshards8

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    ICC is still a lot of money. Please do more hours of research before you decide to give them your money. I spent five years researching culinary schools, only because I had to save to move but still, you are putting yourself into a lot of debt. You are smart in thinking that it will be more realistic for you to attend a school close to you. It also costs lots of money to move. Visit the school and asks tons of questions, especially from alumni. Also trust your gut feeling when making a decision. There are lots of good schools out there that are a lot cheaper, but still give quality education. When it comes down to it people are going to hire and promote you for two things: your skill level and work ethic, not where you went to school at.