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Culinary Schools

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Chef Adria,

Thank you so much for participating in this discussion. As a culinary student/professional, I admire your work immeasurably.

What are your feelings on culinary schools? Do you support them? Do they support you? How much importance and validity do you feel they hold? How much do you feel students will gain from culinary school?

and finally...What is your advice to culinary students as to what we should do upon graduation?

Thank you again for taking the time to participate in this discussion.

Trevor Williams

culinary arts student at Kendall College, Chicago

Edited by KendallCollege (log)

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Culinary schools are of paramount importance nowadays. Entering a kitchen with a good training is essential.

Perhaps the problem which culinary schools face today, which has taken a turn for the worse in the last five years and we have had something to do with it, has to do with the content of what needs to be covered. The curriculum. There are so many new things in the last ten years that curriculum need a review. I would structure it around these subjects: historic cuisine, classic cuisine, Nouvelle cuisine and contemporary cooking.

My advice is this: be patient. The big issue of today’s kitchens is that everybody wants to be a chef. Seven or eight years of training is something absolutely necessary to develop maturity, without exceptions. When I became chef at 22, I would have loved to have five or six years of training. My case was almost an accident.

Now with us we have Eduardo Xatruc, who has been with us since 1999. In four years, he will be the best we’ve ever had. From a training perspective, I mean. He’s having an impressive career, he’s been in every single station and he’s patient. He was lucky enough to start when he was extremely young, at 18. Now he’s a kid at 23. We can only imagine what he’ll be doing with five more years.

The problem begins when at 21, with two or three stages, you want to throw yourself ahead. This is not solid and you pay for that. It’s like going to the top too fast. It’s not good. At the end, you pay for it. If you climb too fast, you’re not going to have structure, and without structure everything is going to fall apart.

I know that it’s easy to say and harder to understand it, but at elBulli, I was patient from 1984 to 1997. And I was a chef already. If what later happened at elBulli would have happened to me in just four or five years, I couldn’t have taken it. Fortunately, there was an incredible team and we’ve progressed step by step.

A problem that many people face is that their careers are not in their hands. They are in the hands of media.

Ferran Adrià


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