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Posts posted by WillTheMarine

  1. ...going to school will seriously speed up the learning process, as you are exposed to many aspects and diverse techniques in a very short period of time, not to mention the learning on how to work quickly, efficiently, and cleanly.  Of course school is just the beginning, and staging is always important.

    Also something to consider which no one seems to ever mention is the pay.  I firmly believe that someone who is a marine can handle the long hours, hard physical work, and stress.  But for many, all of that combined with a relatively low pay rate especially for someone just getting into the business is too much and people run back out of the kitchen.

    I've been waiting for someone to throw some real positives in about school. The more i read throughout the forum the more I think that CIA might really be the place for me. I think it will be a good learning experience on many different levels. And New York is a great place to get exposed to many different types of food.

    As far as the pay. I've had this discussion many different times with many different people. I'm a believer that money isn't the most important thing in the world (That statement is almost anti-american :smile: ) Like a said early, my mother was a teacher for many years and is now a principal. From her I've learned that as long as you're doing something that you truly love. It doesn't matter how much you get paid. In other words, listen to your heart, not your bank account :biggrin:. So i'm really not worried about the money. Just as long as I'm not living on the street.

    Thanks again,


  2. What do you bake?  Do you make up your own recipes, tweak existing ones, or follow books to the letter?  Will you still be satisfied if you don't actually see the people enjoying your work?

    . I'd like to think that I could handle people you didn't enjoy my work, but no telling how I'll take it when it happens.



    I meant that a lot of pastry jobs feature zero interaction with the clientele, you might be making desserts from 6am to 3pm for a restaurant that doesn't open until 5pm. You don't always get a lot of feedback or get to see the happy faces and clean plates. Usually you can find a server or fellow cook with a major sweet tooth to stroke your ego when you need it, but worthwhile feedback can be hard to find.

    :biggrin: Ok, that makes a little more sense. I suppose I could handle that too.

  3. So whether or not you choose to enter an "official" school, the most important thing is you immerse yourself in the world of baking. Try to get a job in the industry, even if it's non-paying or only a day or so a week. Plan bakery tours in your town, and travel to other towns and do the same. Try as many pastries as you can, and maybe take notes (either mentally or by writing down) on what you like or don't like. Go to the library and check out a stack of cookbooks. Just immerse yourself in the world of pastry.

    First off, thanks for the advice. Second, I have bought a couple books that cover the chemistry of baking, I'm currently waiting on them to get shipped to Iraq, but I'm looking forward to reading through them when I have spare time. I'm also hoping to start doing some tours around the bakeries in Hawai'i (that's where I'm at when not in Iraq) when I get back. After my commitment to the Marines is over with I plan on spending some time back home, probably working on my 6 months of experience needed to enroll in CIA. So I plan on sampling and learning as much as possible during that time also. Right now though, I'm kinda stuck in a desert. So I have to do all my learning by reading. Once done, though, I think I'll have enough time to see enough businesses and to learn if this really is for me. Hopefully it all works out.

    Thanks again,


  4. What do you bake?  Do you make up your own recipes, tweak existing ones, or follow books to the letter?  Will you still be satisfied if you don't actually see the people enjoying your work?

    I usually bake that looks interesting or challenging to me :smile: . But really, I lean more towards Cakes, breads, breakfast pastries. Most times I'll find a recipe that I think looks good. Then I'll either tweak it while I'm preparing it, or wait untill the next time I make it and try something different. I'm just the kind of person who has to add their own twist to everything. I'm also working on putting some of the ideas I have into actual recipes. I just don't have the oppurtunity to try them out right now. I'd like to think that I could handle people you didn't enjoy my work, but no telling how I'll take it when it happens.



  5. First I think you might want to zero in on what kind of pastry chefing you might like best, but you could figure that out in school too. I particularly like to work an oven and bake. I like to make dough and batter in giant jillion quart bowls and pan it and bake it. I'm not so much into plating myself. But lots of pastry folks do lots of plating. Maybe you would like to bake artisan bread? Do you want to go solo and open a business or work in a bakery or restaurant?

    I can tell you that plating really doesn't interest me too much. I'd be more towards the oven and baking parts of it. And yes eventually I do want to go solo and open my own bakery. This is a goal of mine.

    As far as the education. I really want to at least come out of this with a bachelors degree. My mother, who is a pricinpal (You could say that education is kinda important to her), is pushing me in the same direction. So that's why I'm leaning more towards a school like CIA.

    Thanks for all the advice,


  6. Ok, so here's the deal with me. I want to be a pastry chef... I know it's a pretty definite statement, but it's something I've accepted. You see, I've been working on figuring out what I want to do for sometime now. I guess everyone kinda goes through that, I'm nothing special. I just think that maybe I've had a little more time to think it over than most people my age.

    It's easier just to tell you where I've been, in order to explain where I want to go. I guess it really started back in high school. I thought I wanted to be an automotive technician. So, like most people I went to a vocational program. I even got a job as a tech. I realized quickly that it wasn't for me. The next time was to go to college. So I went to college at Oklahoma State for three semesters. I changed my major twice in that short period of time and eventually withdrew because I had no drive. I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel I was convinced that I was wasting my time. So then I joined the United States Marine Corps. Of all the professions available to me through the Marines I chose the infantry. Now I have a little over a year left and I'm on my second combat deployment to Iraq. I've had a little time to grow up, and I've been through a lot of grow up quick situations.

    One of the things that I always look forward to is going home a couple times a year and baking. A lot of people tell me I'm kinda weird. Simply because I'm supposed to be this tough Marine. When actually I'm just a fairly normail guy with a passion for baking. And yes, I'd call it a passion. I truly love everything about it. I like the fact that you can put a bunch of random ingredients together and create something that can make people so happy. So I'm pretty sure that I have the motivation to do this as a career.

    I've been reading through a lot of the post on this site. I few things that everyone talks about is the hours. Early mornings, long hours, and how it's just plan physically demanding. I'd let to think that I can handle that. I'm very, very used to little to no sleep, and very early mornings. I can also spend all day on my feet without really thinking twice about it. So I'm pretty sure that i can handle that portion of the career also.

    My problem is, where do I go from here? I've been looking into different schools, and honestly I'm just not sure. I mean CIA looks good, but is it really worth the money. Granted I already have a scholarship and the GI Bill to help pay for my education. So the financial burden isn't really too big of a worry for me. I've also been looking into the FCI. Once again though, I just don't really know.

    I don't know anyone in the industry, everything I learn I learn from books and the internet. I really don't have anywhere to go for advice. So that's why I'm here. I just want advice. Advice on anything really. What the industry is like? What to expect from school, and the industry? If I do choose CIA, what's the best why to go about getting the 6 months of experience that is required? Have I missed anything that I should know? As you can probably tell I'm just looking for any information I can get about anything. Any adive at all would be appreciated.



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