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Sweet beginnings

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Hello, Mr. Macguire,

My daughter is interested in becoming a pastry chef, but from what we've been told, it's one of the most difficult fields to get started in, and even more difficult to stay in.

Do you have any suggestions to get her started? Should she go immediately into a good culinary school, or would she benefit more from gaining some experience somewhere?


Michele :biggrin:

I'm just here for the food.
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These days, I guess that school is pretty important, but there would be nothing to stop your daughter from working somewhere first, even if it's only part time, and if need be, as an an unpaid, unofficial intern.

Too many people make it all the way through school before they realise that what they studied, which was great fun to learn, is less fun when you're starting from the bottom doing all of the boring things. Schools also need students, and most schools' raison d'etre is not to train students for the best restaurants of New York or L.A. , but people of the mid range of the food service industry.

The difficult thing is to find the right place to do it. If she has a good idea of which are of pastry interests her, and does find an appropriate place, then at least she won't be paying money to find out that she doesn't like the trade, and just the right place ( it is true that there aren't many around ) i is almost the equivalent of school, often of better quality, and practised in real world conditions . By the right place, I don't necessarily mean the Ritziest or the one with the most awards. It should, however, be a place where they really want to do a good job, and where the boss shares his/her knowledge and isn't afraid to pitch-in in a big way.

After a bit of experience in a place or two ( or three), she'l have a good pair of hands and some practical " savvy", and this will make it much easier to choose the appropriate school, ans also to get in.

Working somewhere isn't a dead end as long as its's the right place, and reading up on things-- I tried to read everything when I was young-- keep things interesting, and there is nothing better than some smart ( i.e. well-informed) questions to assure a high level of answers from supervisers. Also, school doesn't have to be shelved completely in the meantime, for there are weekend or week long courses available which can be very useful and a nice change.

That's the meandering answer. The short answer is yes, school is a good idea, but some work or at the very least, a thorough "look see" beforehand would be of great benefit.

Thanks for the question


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