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Vancouver Culinary Schools


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Do they allow drinking during the class?

There's wine at the table during the meal, but not at the stove. Maybe if you snuck something in a water bottle?

But remember not to drink all the wine. There will be some thirsty culinary students who will be staying late after your class to do the dishes and clean up, and they will be hoping you'll leave a glass or two... :smile: They'll also be eating your extras, so cook more than you need!

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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Have I missed the point here..or is this forum about culinary schools..or is about signing up for classes and sharpening knives and drinking wine...all of which I am all for ..but I would be interested in hearing other peoples experiences and info.

:sad: thx

IN FOOD, CHEF LYNN FROM ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS FOODS CAFE AND CATERING

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Have I missed the point here..or is this forum about culinary schools..or is about signing up for classes and sharpening knives and drinking wine...all of which I am all for ..but I would be interested in hearing other peoples experiences and info.

Is everyone happy? You've made Lynn sad!

Lynn, this is indeed about experiences had at Vancouver Culinary schools. A number of people (including myself) are taking a course at Northwest. Discussion of this programme IMO fits the topic of this thread. Our intention is to continue discussion of this programme in particular in its own thread once it gets underway.

As far as the knife sharpening and drinking goes ... this is chatty group, and we only have one forum host. I'll try to do better. :unsure::wink:

A.

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  • 2 months later...

As I'm feeling particularly nosy tonight....... I would like to know how many people who have completed (or even started, for that matter) culinary training in Vancouver, are actually working in the field right now.

If you are working in the food industry, are you doing something you thought you'd be doing or something else altogether. If you are not working in the food industry, did you try it for a while and decide against it or.......

Anyone who doesn't want to spill it publicly can feel free to PM me..... I am entertaining the idea of going back to school (yet again) .... and just want to hear about other folks experiences in Vancouver. TA! :biggrin:

sarah

Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was. --Unknown

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As I'm feeling particularly nosy tonight....... I would like to know how many people who have completed (or even started, for that matter) culinary training in Vancouver, are actually working in the field right now.  

Okay, so I replied to Appreciator via PM, as not to be off topic, but maybe the topic could be expanded to include Malaspina and Camosun.

Having completed very little formal culinary training, I would recommend it to people who are serious about getting deep into the industry. I have mostly taught myself through experience, practice and observation and have worked my way up to 1st cook at a couple of decent establishments which pay on the high side for non-union restaurants. I expect to go higher, but would probably be there already if I was smarter as a youth and gone straight to cooking school. Not necessarily my skill set, but my early experiences would have been at "better" places, with more of an emphasis on teaching, rather than churning out product.

Having been a professional cook for a decade plus, I can say this to anyone wanting to go to culinary school: only go if you really love cooking, because the hours and pay pretty much suck, oh and the last 1/4 of your shift is janitorial work. Oh, and employers seem to want to take advantage of kitchen staff like no other industry would allow. So you gotta really love the cooking. It's a tonne of fun, you work with interesting characters, a hell of a way to make a living!

Any of you professional cooks out there find that getting your Red Seal made much of a difference to your career? Was it worth the work? For a time, I thought that was the end goal, now I realize it's basically a starting point. :laugh:

-- Matt.

edited to add:

this is a great opportunity for some of you Van Isl. cook lurkers to de-lurk!

Edited by Matt R. (log)
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I don't really know. re VCC: I had the impression, or was given the impression, that they were gearing people for more industrial-type kitchens. But mostly I chose Dubrulle because it was a shorter program.

My fiancee's sister took a chocolate course with VCC. Get this. You spent all class making these chocolates and THEY KEEP them. That's right. You don't take them home. In fact even more ridiculous - they SELL them in their store. Someone correct me but don't you need some kind of food safe to make food for public consumption (sidewalk meat stands notwithstanding)?

She was totally unimpressed and will never recommend that school to anyone.

She also took a pastry course with AI and said although the course was pretty good she found them extremely disorganized (the teacher didn't even know she was scheduled to teach this course). They didn't get their 'kits' till the 3rd or so class and then it consisted of what looked like an ikea knife (might be nice, it didnt look like much on first impression). Regardless the course seemed ok just disoraganized since even the teacher did not know where anything was in the kitchen.

And the apron you get says AI and not Dubrelle...she was a little choked hehe.

Edited by fud (log)

"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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^wow, can't believe they weren't allowed to keep the chocolates.

makanmakan asked if anyone was interested in taking the Fine Pastry and Chocolate class on Oct. 14th and 25th at NW. I'm thinking about it. :smile: (It's kind of expensive for me...on top of the course fee, I have to cancel my Tues and Wed night students, so the course will actually "cost" me over $400 to take.)

Edited by Ling (log)
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In pastry at NWCAV we were allowed to take everything we made home, but there was so much stuff that we'd donate a lot of it to a shelter!!! A friend and I realized that our chef threw away a slab of our favourite chocolate and we were pretty upset, even though we'd been eating it for a week straight

I finished the culinary and pastry programs there at the end of July. Took a month off, handed out resumes for one day to about 6 places, 3 of them called me back and a week later I was working. I had no problems finding a job, I didn't even get to apply at all the places I wanted to.

I'm entremetier (veg & starch) and love it, I'm learning so much.

I'm also thinking about getting my red seal, but I think that I might just challenge the test later on down the road once I've worked enough hours. Does anyone know if hours from school count? I haven't really looked into it yet.

I'm doing exactly what I thought I'd be doing when I first started the course, near the end pastry became an option. Then again, it's only been two months since I graduated. Ask me again in a year or two.

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I have had two students from the “old” Dubrulle here and both were elitist little snobs. That is no reflection of the school. Their knowledge of classic techniques was good, but in my opinion, these two were not very well prepared for a commercial kitchen.

Did you attend any of the culinary schools here? What are your impressions of them?

Have you had any graduates from these schools work with you?

Raises hand for elitist snob category. :laugh:

I went to the old Dubrulle in 1990.

I felt it gave me a really good working knowledge and theory of French cuisine and technique.

Would I have been prepared for a restaurant kitchen?

Hell, I'm still not prepared for that.

I've had a couple graduates from various schools help me on different occasions.

One was kind of a nightmare and one worked out really well. But having said that he has quite a bit of restaurant experience too.

Okay, back to Ling's brownies (testing a brownie cake with layers of ganache...instead of slogging through 50 epicurious recipes I thought I'd just ask our very own sugar junkie) and menu planning...egullet is just the best place when you want to procrastinate.

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In pastry at NWCAV we were allowed to take everything we made home, but there was so much stuff that we'd donate a lot of  it  to a shelter!!!  A friend and I realized that our chef threw away a slab of our favourite chocolate and we were pretty upset, even though we'd been eating it for a week straight

Yeah I think they do that at Dubrelle as well. I recall being called at night and told to "come over to eat marvellous desserts" because she had too much. It was a tough job but I managed to "help" in this task :biggrin:

"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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Hi all:

I went to Northern Alberta Institute Of Technology, George Brown (management Courses), and did my practicum at The Windsor Arms Hotel In TO. I went the route of the Apprenticeship program and wrote my red seal and become a journeyman cook.

I worked about 5 years before I wrote my exam.

steve

-------------------

-- Matt. (said):

“There are precious few skilled butchers around these days. Stepping into a new job about a year ago, where minor-league butchery skills were important, I took it upon myself to get a bit of education.”

“Butchery, as a trade, seems to be becoming a niche market. What do you think the grocery chains are doing about this? Do they still employ ticketed butchers?”

--------------------

Nait had a great meat-cutting program in the school and also in the cooking program; it was my fav. Class and the skills I learned there, I am still utilizing today, skills that I would not have learned out in the industry. At the Windsor Arms I had a chance to do some time in their butchery and I am glad that I had that chance because these days you do not get many opportunities to do that level of butchery in a restaurant.

I also learned all seafood, poultry and Wild meats and can do some retail cuts (over all the years) the basics was learned at school which lead me to have the opportunity to always continue learning; Chefs give you one chance!!!! I did not kill my first opportunity, so I usually found myself cleaning some form of meat, if the chef did not do it.

steve

---------------------------

--appreciator (said)

“As I'm feeling particularly nosy tonight....... I would like to know how many people who have completed (or even started, for that matter) culinary training in Vancouver, are actually working in the field right now.”

--------------------------

25 years, I am Canadian and have never gone to Europe!

Note* I have heard that more then 50% of cooking grads after five years are not coking anymore.

steve

----------------------------------

“Any of you professional cooks out there find that getting your Red Seal made much of a difference to your career? Was it worth the work? For a time, I thought that was the end goal, now I realize it's basically a starting point.

-- Matt.”

-------------------------------------

It was more a personal thing; I have found that very few employers cared if you had it, I found it mostly Gov or a union environment even ask for it.

steve

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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Nait had a great meat-cutting program in the school and also in the cooking program; it was my fav. Class and the skills I learned there, I am still utilizing today, skills that I would not have learned out in the industry. At the Windsor Arms I had a chance to do some time in their butchery and I am glad that I had that chance because these days you do not get many opportunities to do that level of butchery in a restaurant.

It was more a personal thing; I have found that very few employers cared if you had it, I found it mostly Gov or a union environment even ask for it.

After applying to challenge the exam (with a 15 page application) and being accepted, I enrolled in a crash course at Camosun College, with the culinary instructors there. It was a couple of nights a week, for two months, I think? Pretty cheap, but no government subsidy, so we paid the whole thing. It was totally worth it! Gilbert Noussitou helped us with the 3rd year apprentice exam, and a practice Red Seal exam, and tonnes of theory help. This is basically the extent of my culinary schooling. Look Ma, no hands! :blink:

These specialized, relatively uncommon skills are the biggest reason I wish I had actually gone to cooking school. The day they covered meat cooking you can figure out for yourself over a couple of shifts at a busy restaurant, because you will do it 1000 times in ten hours. But how often do you get to break down a goat carcass? Today I cleaned five lovely red rockfish, for the first time. The last two looked way better than the first two. Thankfully, my chef does give more than one chance.

But in BC, does having a trade qualification tell your employer that you are serious about making this your career, showing commitment? My last job, a large, non-unionized hotel, required it for a 2nd cook position. My current employer does not.

For me, it was largely personal, too. I wanted to show people that I was serious, and could prove my knowledge. I take pride in what I do. Of course, I was also hoping it would land me a better job, with better pay, which it did. :laugh:

-- Matt.

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I looked into both the Apprenticeship program and the classic culinary school route. (Dubrulle when it was still Dubrulle) The advice I received from a few prominent chefs in the city was to stick it out through the apprentice program as that would show that I was serious about cooking. If I gained a position in a french restaurant, which is what I was contemplating, I was told that I would have more experience and be better prepared for anything that I wanted to do in the food industry. (In other words, I would be peeling potatoes and onions for most of my time at a particular restaurant, which I was told as a form of encouragement) Of course, at the time I was looking into this, the government offices for the Red Seal program were all closing and the program was getting shut down (is it back up and running) I had roughly 3 weeks to make a decision. I was still struggling with severe migraines and wasn't sure if I could handle it. I know from experience, that it is not a good idea to debone a chicken when you have no vision in your right visual field. Fortunately, I managed to save my fingers, the chicken wasn't so lucky :blink:

From the chefs I spoke with, they appreciated the hard work of the apprentice chefs that they had in their kitchens and would much rather hire someone with their red seal than a recent culinary grad. It seems that it's the experience and the willingness to start at the bottom and get dirty like everyone else is what they appreciate.

Oh, and as Matt said, as I was told, once you had your Red Seal designation the pay increased considerably!

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Oh, and as Matt said, as I was told, once you had your Red Seal designation the pay increased considerably!

I did not find it made much differnce in the rate of pay. It realy is the skill set that you have and sticking to one place or just being at the right place at the right time.

steve

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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Just to answer Appreciator's question. I went to PICA in 96 or was it 97 ? I am still cooking.

In reading Matt R's responce on the Red Seal thing. I know that if you have a Red Seal in some hotels (unionized) you will be better paid no matter what your position and in some hotels it doesn't really matter if you have the seal or not.

My experience with Red Seal chef's here in the Prairies has been both good and bad. My good experience is with my current sous chef who is an excellant cook and likes to teach to anyone who is willing to listen. My bad expeience is with a new cook we have in the kitchen who has his Red Seal and is not properly educated with the fundamentals of cooking. My sous chef is self taught and learned through the school of hard knocks. Our new cook took an Professional Cooking program through SIAST (much like VCC).

I myself do not have a Red Seal, I hope to challenge the exam in the spring or summer of next year.

I have to agree with Matt's last responce getting a Seal shouldn't mean that you sit back but it's your opputrtunity to expand your cooking ability.

Dan Walker

Chef/Owner

Weczeria Restaurant

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I looked into both the Apprenticeship program and the classic culinary school route.  (Dubrulle when it was still Dubrulle) The advice I received from a few prominent chefs in the city was to stick it out through the apprentice program as that would show that I was serious about cooking.  If I gained a position in a french restaurant, which is what I was contemplating, I was told that I would have more experience and be better prepared for anything that I wanted to do in the food industry.  (In other words, I would be peeling potatoes and onions for most of my time at a particular restaurant, which I was told as a form of encouragement)  Of course, at the time I was looking into this, the government offices for the Red Seal program were all closing and  the program was getting shut down (is it back up and running) I had roughly 3 weeks to make a decision.  I was still struggling with severe migraines and wasn't sure if I could handle it.  I know from experience, that it is not a good idea to debone a chicken when you have no vision in your right visual field.  Fortunately, I managed to save my fingers, the chicken wasn't so lucky :blink:

From the chefs I spoke with, they appreciated the hard work of the apprentice chefs that they had in their kitchens and would much rather hire someone with their red seal than a recent culinary grad.  It seems that it's the experience and the willingness to start at the bottom and get dirty like everyone else is what they appreciate. 

Oh, and as Matt said, as I was told, once you had your Red Seal designation the pay increased considerably!

It's true that I would not have been able to get the higher paying jobs that I had if I did not have my ticket, but I could still be working for $10/hr even with my ticket today, if things hadn't gone the way they did. The two are not mutually inclusive. Red Seal (in cooking) does not automatically equal a pay raise at work, like it does in many *compulsory* trades, like welding or boilermaking. Of course, most of the compulsory trades involve pretty strong unions.:hmmm:

I'm not sure what you mean by "the Apprenticeship program and the classic culinary school route". Had you decided to go to cooking school, you would still have to take an apprenticeship. Maybe you could have received credit for time spent at school, maybe not. Nobody just enrolls in a course and walks out in a year with their papers. That's just not the way it works. A recent culinary grad would not have as much education and skill as someone with their Red Seal (in theory).

The Red Seal program in Canada has never shut down, and in fact has been going for 45 years. The administration in of this program (it is interprovincial) in BC has moved a little in last few years, and is now run by the ITA. There are 45 Red Seal trades in Canada, from Agricultural Equipment Technician to Welder. Cook is in there someplace, too.

www.red-seal.ca

www.itabc.ca

-- Matt.

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I did not find it made much differnce in the rate of pay.  It realy is the skill set that you have and sticking to one place or just being at the right place at the right time.

steve

True that!

Unfortunately for most restaurants, after a while they cannot give you any more raises. You hit a ceiling of what they can afford, and unfortunately it's usually about $15/hr. I was in the hospital for a few days with my wife when our son was born. Bored Daddy, wandering around the hospital with my fresh, new ticket, and baby, in hand, filled out an application in HR one day for a cook position. Well, the phone would not stop ringing off the hook. The pay was astronomical! I took it as an easy cash job and kept my full time regular job (getting my ass kicked 300 days a year @ Milestone's for peanuts... what's wrong with this picture?), which was good. A few days after my hire, the liberals announced that everyone was getting fired, to be replaced by workers getting way less than half what I was. Right place, wrong time?

As this was going down, a new hotel was being built downtown, and I wanted in. Having my papers really gave my the self-confidence to go for it, and I got it. Now one restaurant later, I am still with the same chef. In the two years since, I have learned more about cooking than the previous 10 combined. Doors were definitely opened for me.

Now, to get back on topic, are there any schools in Vancouver that are helping cooks/chefs earn their C.C.C. deignation?

-- Matt.

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The Professional Cooking Program here is a year long with you going into the Apprenticeship program doing 1 more year then your final exam is the Red Seal.

PICA's program was 6 months and then I was set free.

The cooks that I worked with in Vancouver who were in the apprenticeship program are head an shoulders above the cooks that I have worked with here in Saskatoon. I have found that in Saskatoon having your Seal means a great deal but your education does not reflect the knowledge that you should bring (have) to your job.

When I worked in Vancouver I worked at one hotel and one restaurant where the apprentice's were excellant and the program was something that the chefs (Ray Henry and Don Letendre) wanted you as a cook to do and I also worked at another hotel and restaurant where the chef's didn't care weather you were doing it or not.

To me the difference's in education between the two cities is the culture of cuisine and food and how much those two things are respected by the community.

My vote for someone new to cooking is to go to school VCC or PICA or whatever then get cooking for a bit. Find a chef who is willing to take you under his wing,(preferably one in a hotel) make you an apprentice, do the apprentichship program, get your seal and then expand your horizons

Dan Walker

Chef/Owner

Weczeria Restaurant

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This is all extremely interesting!

I do hope that someone will chime in, who did go to cooking school but is no longer (or perhaps never did) working in the industry. I think it might be an interesting perspective that we haven't seen here yet.

S'pose I could go and pose this question in the General Forum but I am still really interested in those who attended culinary school in Western Canada and what they've done with that education.

I am also a bit curious as to the recommendation to work in a hotel kitchen after school. Is there a particular reason for this? I'm guessing that it has something to do with the exposure to many more tasks and situations that would be experienced in such a large environment as compared to the relatively small number of tasks one would encounter at your local Mum & Pop, Italian joint or what have you.

Thanks Matt for pointing out the info and links re: the Red Seal program.... I was going to ask about that.

Sometimes though it seems when you leave a thread alone for a bit... your questions get answered in due time. (not always though :hmmm: )

Oh and CJS... what does PVI stand for? Obviously I don't remember it :biggrin:

sarah

Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was. --Unknown

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I attended in '83/'84 and then '85/'86 when I wrote for my red seal.

The program then was broken into 3-5 month long sections. 1- short order 2- institutional and 3- a la carte/banquet. I managed to skip the first section,just wrote the exam. I had been working for some time already. The a la carte practicum was at Redford House, a student run restaurant, by the old Lougheed Hotel. Funny how going for beers in your whites draws attention. All in all I think it was a fairly good program. Do remember quite a few kids enrolled who probably shouldn't have been there though. I am floored though by the expense of the programs now a days!! I don't think I paid more than a few hundred at PVI. Anyone else go there?

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Appreiator, you answered your own question. I've worked in both hotels and restaurants and I found the best system for someone who is learning the trade to be in a hotel. Chateau Whistler has a great program for it's cooks where you spend six months in particular areas of the hotel from garde manger, the bakery, and Wildflower. It gives an exposure to every thing you need to have a solid foundation of knowledge. You will have the ability to tackle any kitchen situation.

I too would be interested in knowing where and what my fellow classmates are doing these days. I am working with a fellow graduate but she went in 2001, 5 years after I did.

Edited by Junior (log)

Dan Walker

Chef/Owner

Weczeria Restaurant

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^wow, can't believe they weren't allowed to keep the chocolates.

makanmakan asked if anyone was interested in taking the Fine Pastry and Chocolate class on Oct. 14th and 25th at NW. I'm thinking about it.  :smile: (It's kind of expensive for me...on top of the course fee, I have to cancel my Tues and Wed night students, so the course will actually "cost" me over $400 to take.)

i actually just signed up fot that class yesterday! soooo, anyone else here going? i'll be in the oct 25-26 class.

Quentina

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