what should I except going into school for pastry and baking arts

Joined Feb 15, 2010
I am 19
a senior in high school
I will be going to sullivan
what should I look out for
I usually am the quite one in class
how will the chef teaching us act (usually)
please some advice would be nice
and since I am going out of state im a bit scared
Joined Feb 17, 2010
Hello again Ashley,

First, don't be scared.  I was a little scared too because I figured that there would be a lot of people with more experience than me.  Turns out my lab partner and I are the stars of the class.  She has some experience, but what makes us star pupils is simple. 
(1) We pay attention during the lecture.  We know what we need to do and why we need to do it.
(2) We ask questions when we have them.  There are no stupid questions. 
(3) We read our recipes all the way through before we start.  While I'd like to say we get our mise en place completely ready, that rarely happens.
(4) We want to learn.  There are a bunch of people in our class, the younger ones, who are there to get the degree, but don't really want to learn. 
(5) We like to experiment.  We don't always follow the recipes.  How are you going to create the next great bread if you don't try something new.  This weekend we substituted cream cheese for half the butter in our sticky buns.  They came out incredibly rich and had a unique flavor that worked well with our fillings.
(6) We work hard.  Again, this past weekend.  We were supposed to make Challah, croissant dough, and either sticky buns, focaccia, or baguettes.  We did the challah, the croissant dough, the sticky buns and the baguettes.  We got out of class late, but wound up with an armload of wonderful bread and sticky buns to take home.

As for your situation, here are my thoughts.  First, you mention that you're the quiet one in class.  Quiet is fine, loud is fine, just be yourself, and don't be afraid to ask questions.  As long as you want to learn and you try hard, you'll do fine.  How will the chef act?  That's a tough one.  This semester, I have two chefs, one for Culinary Arts, the other for Baking.  My Culinary Arts chef is very professional.  Uniforms must be clean and presses.  Neckerchiefs must be tied correctly.  Everything must be perfect.  My Baking chef is the opposite.  He's kind of crazy, in a good way.  He doesn't care if the homework isn't done on time.  He'd much rather you learn at your own pace, than rush through an assignment and not absorb the material.  He's very laid back, but at the same time he is a great teacher.  He'll tell you what you're doing wrong, why it's wrong, and what you should do.  Every teacher is different, just as every teacher in high school is different.  You'll figure out what each one expects out of you, and if you're smart, you'll do even more than they expect.  Your teachers aren't out to get you.  They want you to succeed.  It looks good for them if you do well.  As for going out of state, that could be the scariest part.  Being away from home for the first time is tough.  Not only will you miss your family, but everything they do for you, you'll have to do yourself.  You'll also get a huge dose of freedom.  Sometimes that's good, but sometimes it's very bad.  Remember, you're paying a whole lot of money to learn.  Work hard in your classes, but have fun with them as well. 

I'm sure you'll do fine.

Also, I've updated my blog with my latest Culinary Arts class and will add this weeks Baking class very soon.  I've even got some semi blurry pictures this time.

Joined Jan 22, 2010
Ha I just now realized your the same person I replied to earlier. Sullivan is what you make out of it. There's a lot of joker's that don't care that really just get in the way. Who you start basic with, probably about half of them won't stick around. And ya basic skills is mandatory, so be prepared to be grilling hamburgers, frying fries, sauteing fish, making mother sauces, ect. I aced the class so if you ever have any questions let me know. Who you get for basic and baking will determine a lot too. I think teaching basic lately is Chef Cunha (Awesome guy, one of the reasons I chose Sullivan), Chef Bell (nice, but a little laid back), Chef DeMare sometimes (great chef, great person, but she expects a lot out of you, and can also be your best friend), Chef Smith (great guy, even better mentor), and I think Chef Mudd teaches it sometimes (haven't had him yet, so I don't know). As far as baking, there are a lot less chefs on that side of the street, You will most likely have Chef (Scott) Turner for at least 2 of your baking labs, I would try to get him for baking 1, if you end up in Chef Woolums class for baking 1 it could be challenging because his methods are a bit different to say the least, he's the newest chef there, so you know how that goes. Chef Quinter is awesome, but again, he expects a lot. The other Cehf Turner, (Scott Turners wife) is super nice and from what I hear not that hard, and Chef Straw is cool, but he can be demanding. And to agree with the previous post, STUDY, ask questions, its what they're there for. All the chef's know me because regardless if I'm in their class or not, I'll ask them anything. They have an immense amount of knowledge and experience, and to not take advantage of it would be a waste.
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