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Culinary Schools


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It's also my understanding that a "degree" is comprised of 120 credits, with many of the credits having not much to do with the major--just for filler content or balance, --or, as one Prof put it: "They're vegetables, not particularily nice to eat, but good for you. Get 'em done in the first and second years".

There might be a degree in Hotel management, but a degree in cooking? What would the "filler" courses be comprised of?

English Lit, to provide context to one's menu pairings

Chemistry 100, provides basis for baking

Creative Writing, hello... menus?

Math, because math is everywhere

Business Courses

Botany, Viticulture, Land Husbandry, to learn how the food we work with is grown

Psychology

Environmental Science, since as cooks and chefs we have more influence over consumers than we realize

etc...

Karen Dar Woon

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As a person working in the industry that did not go to culinary school, I'd say the answer is a definite maybe. The things you learn there may or may not greatly benefit you but having that certificate can definitely open doors. Not having a formal education can be an automatic "no thanks" with some employers. Depending on what doors it opens (or when it opens them), it could be a valuable piece of paper.

The no thanks is what I am seeing. In this economy, employers can be picky. I see little option myself being unemployed as my old job is not coming back. Might as well go to school as a second degree and get the paper. I can't get more than a cursory glance otherwise.

If you are going to go to culinary school, go to the CIA or the FCIA, Ruhlman's posting of the excerpt from Boardain's new book "Medium Raw" Has convinced me of that. After spending a year and a half in the trenches, I can say for certain it DOES make a difference. Yea, I walked into Flip and got a entry prep/dishwasher job and quickly worked it to a station on the line and then all the stations. Time however isn't on our side. You like me, because we are old dogs, do not have the time to spend the next 10 years it takes to get there without that Diploma. The whole time I worked in the kitchen, I watched Arts Institute students come and go, but the CIA grad that showed up is on the fast track and I'm not, or wasn't and neither were the local food schoold kids. (Life caught up to me and I had to go back to earning better money. So the kitchen job is sidelined, even though both Flips in ATL want me to work more. I would have stayed if someone would have made me an offer. I would probably have gotten that offer with the piece of paper.)

Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.
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Hey R,

I was sad the hear you were gone when we ate lunch on Saturday. I understand family needs and such though.

I just feel I have no choice in the matter. I can't sit on unemployment forever, don't think I will ever work in IT again, which age is factor in as well. Might as well chart a new course. I wish I could go to the CIA. Even if I was single, I could not afford that stuff. Chatt Tech is where I am headed; Jason actually mentioned it to me in the interview.

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I agree with Joisey. Look around for a good school to get your certificate then get a good mentor chef and hold on to him for dearlife. Absorb everything he can teach you. I am manager in a hotel that have a few restaurant. More often than not I have seen young kids coming out from college expecting to be the top guy. My advice is work hard, learn hard. Nothing beats experience in our line of work.

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  • 1 month later...

As a recent FCI (pastry arts) grad I have to say for me, it was not only worth it, but essential. Then again, I have a slightly different story. Last year I graduated from college with a BS in molecular/cellular biology with the intention of attending medical school. After working abroad for a bit I came to the realization that I did not want to be a doctor. I love science, and the culinary world so I thought I would combine my two passions-food science. The programs I was interested in required or suggested having practical background (at least 600 hours), so I decided to attend FCI to get those hours (which also allowed me to take a 34 vs. 40 credit masters program). But while I was there (preface: NO experience outside the home kitchen) I discovered how much I love being in the kitchen (especially through my internship), and now am leaning towards not going to grad school, but getting a job instead. I never would have realized this was something I wanted to do had I not attended school. While I'm still interested in getting my masters/PhD, for now I just want to go into the industry with what I feel to be a strong starting point and learn as much as I can in a practical setting.

Then again, I must admit, I didn't have to pay for my education, so I have no debt. Had I, I would have considered other options more seriously (but feel I still would have attended).

Overall, its such an individual/circumstantial question. I always lean towards the more education the better-then again, until recently I thought I would be in school until I was at least 30!

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