What's it like in a Culinary School??

Joined Nov 30, 2002
I'm just going into a culinary school, and I was wondering what it was like? :confused: I figure it'll be difficult, but I want to know what you do, what you need. :bounce: Thank you in advance for any posts!
Oh, and where is a good place to get a job if you are just starting out??
Joined Feb 22, 2002
depends what school you go to. i am attending johnson and wales and you can read my posts about it in this forum, usually titled "jwu RI week #"
things you probably need no matter where you go: iron, board, good stain remover, detergent, an alarm clock ;), a good attitude but not cocky, band aids, lotion to keep your hands (and sore feet!) nice and smooth...
that is just a short list of things I can think of now. as for the job question, I am not sure of that myself. where are you going to school? it might be a good idea to ask around, ask students, or the student center if you can work on campus or have them recommend someplace else.
Joined Nov 30, 2002
I'm going to the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona. Thanks for the tips, they'll probably come in very handy
Whoops! Change in plans, I'm probably not going to be going there, sorry :eek: I just realized that their tuition is probably way to much for me. So, I'm going to be sticiking with something a little bit closer to home. Like the Hillsborough Community College(yark) in Florida. I really wanted to go to SCI though. I'm a little upset about it.... :cry:
Joined Jan 4, 2003
Student Loans !!!
Go to the better school ! I started out at hillsborough community college and started all over again at the CIA . night and day my friend...
yeah it's WAY more $$ , but worth it ..
besides everyone has loans
I say look into the schools and not so much the price , if there's a will there's a way .
Joined Nov 30, 2002
Sorry it took me so long to respond, I've been a bit busy :chef:
I think your idea is very good, I'm going for the student loans and finacial aide. I'm still hopefully going to go to SCI. Thanks for your response,
Joined Dec 4, 2002
Culinary schools can be great, just like any school or college, it depends on what you want to get out of it. Frankly, you're better off taking a job at a restaurant for a while and then going. I went to cooking school after about 5 years on the job and found myself getting a lot out of it. Cutting through the cr*p and all. Then again, I'm still paying for it, so it really depends. I say go for it, but remember it usually takes many years (like 10) before you can make some serious dough.
Joined Jul 23, 2002
Get a job at a good hotel, or great restaurant.
Stay away from chains.
good hotels have many outlets like, breakfast, lunch, dinner, fine dinning,
catering/banquets, maybe a bakery/patisserie, a butcher.
great restaurants have the same things in a single place.
hotels can be more flexible with your hours as your school schedule evolves each
go to the best school you can, but remember, it's not the school - it's the student.
I've met flakes from CIA and from community colleges.
I've worked with great cooks from those schools as well.
good luck.
Joined Nov 29, 2001
It's tough, competitive and requires lots of memorization. It's a damned sight harder than MBA school because what works one day won't work another. MBA's don't have to worry about humidity levels and how much moisture flour absorbs on a rainy day.

It's physically exhausting - whether or not you have to work during your education, but especially so if you must work.

It's highly ego-motivated - as any profession in the arts will be. Culinary school is where those egos build momentum.

It's also incredibly rewarding. There is nothing like honing your craft to the point of second-nature confidence. It separates the women from the girls and will show you whether you have the mettle to perform in the professional culinary universe.

Joined May 28, 2002
I went to SCI many years ago (1994-95) and absolutely loved it. On top of attending school full time, I landed a job as a pastry cook at the Ritz Carlton in Phoenix and did both .I can tell you that I learned darn near as much at the hotel as I did in school. It was completely exhausting, but exhilirating as well...an experience I wouldn't trade for the world. I'll be paying off the student loan for a long time, but it doesn't matter. Have fun with it!
Joined Nov 30, 2002
Sounds wonderful! Our school here in Florida has a scholorship for entering your own recipies, so I'm going for that and a bunch of others. That job you had Pattycake, it sounds like it was wonderful, thats the sort of thing that I want to end up doing, being a pastry chef for a hotel. I've been feeding my neighbors in the Apartment building here my experiments with pies and cakes, and they've liked them so far, its very encouraging. Believe me, I'll have plenty of fun with it.

"I'm not a vegitarian because I love animals, I'm a vegitarian because I hate plants." ~Anon
Nice quote eh?
Joined Jan 24, 2003
School is what you make out of it. Yes, it certainly helped me getting started in the restaurant business. 3 years later I am entertaining offers to run or open restaurants. As for school, I would do it, there are a lot of talented people I work with that didn't go that route. Frequently they need to ask a question or more importantly a translation or defing a boundary.

As for school, be prepared for the basics, an introduction. Very important is the sanitation certification class. From there expect an introduction to knife skills and types of cuts, from which you will learn how to cook the basic cuts of vegetables, roasting, sauteeing, steaming, etc. Introductory baking will instruct you on the types of doughs from which to work. Yes, lots of cakes and pies. Advanced courses will introduce you to more in depth baking instruction, breads, cakes, decorating, pastries and designs etc. Savory side will be taking you through vegetables, meats and seafood, for example you will probably learn how to break down a beef tenderloin into serving portions and cuts. You will probably learn to how to roast beef, saute beef, braise beef etc. move on to pork roast, saute, braise, move on to poultry.

just remember school is what you make out of it.
Joined Apr 13, 2007
but is it true that you like have to spend almost your whole lifetime working hard to pay for your loans after you graduate?


Joined Oct 2, 2006
Depends on the person how long it takes to pay off the loans.

Depends how much the loans are for, how much $$$ you are making outta school, how much your bills and expenses add up to.

I say, if you can pay it off fast, do it. Many people I am sure don't pay it off nearly as fast as they could.

If you don't want to spend a small fortune (I don't lame you) you could always look into this site http://www.acfchefs.org/Content/Educ...ps/default.htm
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