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School Blames Celebrity Chefs


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Could it possibly be true that badly behaved chefs (Gordon Ramsay is cited) are influencing students to choose another course of study? Other factors are mentioned as well but I thought it interesting that the celebrity angle was considered significant.

Celebrity chefs to blame?

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"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

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Other factors are mentioned as well but I thought it interesting that the celebrity angle was considered significant.

Considered significant by the QMUC Food Industry Foundation's manager, anyway:

David Miskin, the foundation's manager, blamed the lack of demand on the dubious image of the food business and the terrifying reputation of celebrity chefs.

He said: "Science is unpopular and food science is unpopular because of its association with McDonald's. The number of people wanting to get into the industry is falling. Celebrity chefs scare people. Students expect to be sworn at."

I wonder, did many prospective students who did not sign up tell him those things? I strongly doubt it, so it may well just be his opinions on the matter. Not enough science there, popular or unpopular, to warrant the "Scary TV chefs drive students out the kitchen" headline -- in my opinion, of course.

I'd also like to hear Mr. Miskin expound upon how food science is associated with McDonald's, because the only associations I make with McDonalds are "slurry burgers" and "chopped, sliced, and formed chicken whatsits."

Mike Harney

"If you're afraid of your food, you're probably not digesting it right because your stomach is all crunched up in fear. So you'll end up not being well."

- Julia Child

"There's no reason to say I'm narrow-minded. Just do it my way and you will have no problem at all."

- KSC Pad Leader Guenter Wendt

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I think it was inevitable that the number of people attending culinary programs would go down. At least in the U.S., culinary school seems to have taken on an increased cache, at least up from the "vocational program" that it used to be considered in my high school to one that gets considerable respect from rich and poor alike. It is no longer as unacceptable for college-oriented students to choose the culinary path as it once was. Like any career that gets an increasing amount of spotlight, the food industry has likely seen an increase in people attending programs because it is no longer limited to those who really want to cook and increasingly is attended by people who think "cooking sounds like a cool career". I think articles like this are an indication that the popularity of culinary school may be on the wane (at least for now).

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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This guy is seriously deluded. Celebrity anythings usually get more people interested in the profession, not less. I suspect Mikeycook's theory is closer to the actual truth. My sister's fiance taught at a Culinary Academy and often spoke of the 2nd career people who, due to a layoff or dotcom stock options, entered culinary school thinking it would be a cool thing to do. The reality of all the hard work and long hours was often quite a blow. He told me he doubted if even a fraction of them would actually end up as chefs. We've had such a booming mainstream interest in food over the last decade that it was bound to peak eventually.

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Well ::cough:: this is one particular culinary program. God forbid it might have something to do with administration or a lack of inspiring educators.

In Paso Robles, California we have a culinary academy for high school students which is the only program of its kind west of the Mississippi, and enrollment is up. Not only is enrollment up, but the wine community has adopted it as a fundraising beneficiary. It's "for the kids" in a whole new way. I wouldn't take the doomsday prediction from one college as the death knell for young interest in the culinary arts.

To quote the article:

But TV cook and food writer Lady Claire Macdonald said colleges should carry the blame for the dull way they taught catering.

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Mary Baker

Solid Communications

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Maybe kids are avoiding culinary school because of the truth about the industry - it is rough, the hours are very long, the pay is very low, and it's definitely not a place for the faint of heart... It is not a glamourous industry - to succeed you need to care about the food you're serving, and know why you're serving it - to please and nourish your guests.

Not to mention the fact that culinary school still doesn't provide a complete culinary education - the graduates I've worked with have all left much to be desired... Hiring a culinary school grad does not guarantee anything. I never went to culinary school, yet I've trained many grads, and I know my own education (earned on the job) easily stacks up to theirs.

As for chefs like Gordon Ramsay being a deterrent? If he does deter anyone, they probably don't belong in the industry anyway.

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I'd love to know whether the quality of students has improved since the "celebrity chef" bonanza hit. It seems to me that Ramsay might be doing the industry a favor by showing what can happen in a professional kitchen. If a student doesn't think they could handle it, they move on to something else. That might bite the schools in the bottom line, but I'd think they'd benefit from having a higher caliber of student.

For me, every time I get the itch to go to culinary school, I just pick up Kitchen Confidentialuntil it passes. Then I cook something...

Anna

------

"I brought you a tuna sandwich. They say it's brain food. I guess because there's so much dolphin in it, and you know how smart they are." -- Marge Simpson

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Could it possibly be true that badly behaved chefs (Gordon Ramsay is cited) are influencing students to choose another course of study? Other factors are mentioned as well but I thought it interesting that the celebrity angle was considered significant.

Celebrity chefs to blame?

Free registration may be required.

Gordon Ramsay a BAD influence? Because he screams and humiliates would-be chefs? Any chef who has apprenticed with the old-time French and Alsatian masters will tell you that abuse, degradation and low pay was (and might still be) part of the whole chef-in-the-making program. I'm not condoning that approach, mind you - I'm just saying that the drill sergeant approach was standard for generations LONG before Gordon and Hell's Kitchen. By the way, did you notice that Gordon was MUCH nicer to other people's staff on Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Makeovers? And some of those chefs were just appalling - lazy, filthy, clueless, stagnant. The well-scrubbed contestants on Hell's Kitchen were much more earnest, and I suspect they were viciously humiliated for ratings. And they knew it.

Again, while in no way sanctioning abuse of any kind, I will posit that any kid with dreams of culinary glory might expect being verbally thrashed regularly in his/her career - if not at school, then certainly as an apprentice or new chef. Not everyone will get to work for the cool, calm Thomas Keller or the good-natured Battali just 5 minutes out of school.

Any thoughts from professional chefs on whether they were verbally lacerated routinely, and if this is a thing of the past in professional kitchens? (At least in the States?) :hmmm:

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hmmmm.... the students can't stand getting sworn at? Does this mean if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen?

Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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are there any real numbers from a stastically valid sample size

or is this an isolated incident that can have infinite cause

for me i think the celebrity chefs are great for all for the following maxim

even bad press is good press

by raising the volume of the commercial power of the knife pot pan etc

these brave television personalities are helping everyone

regardless of whether their content is valuable

look how many people are on this blog

i would argue that this is a recent phenomenon and its point of birth can be part of sequence that includes notable breakthroughs like the tv food network less than a decade ago

i remember being at the launch party for tvfn bartending and the two daggers of paucity were content and advertising revenue

it would seem today that there is a glut of content and a healthy stream of globals who feel that it is worth selling food related items on tv

regardless of opinion regarding bad behavior, for which gordon ramsey has been famous for since he left football and began throwing blunt objects through his neighbors window, or regardless of whether you like or admire or even value any tv chef personalities

they are making the industry legitimate, associating with big business and people who use computers and will contribute to a more rapid evolution of an american cuisine over the next two decades

call me

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  • 2 weeks later...

maybe the student count is down due to the lack of affordable and GOOD ulinary programs. As a young aspiring chef for the last couple of years I was told by nearly every experienced cook I talked to told me to stay away from the local accredited culinary school. I was told I was too advanced and it is too easy to learn on your own to need the school. Then again, how many 17 year olds had read McGee from cover to cover several times as well as Ma Gastrinome and countless others.

Also I was well aware and had experienced several years in kitchens before I decided to pass on culinary school. Who knows, maybe us kids are just getting more ambitious.

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I think saying that celebrity chefs are causing the decline of culinary school enrollment is like saying that if there was a decline of enrollment into college music programs it would be American Idol's fault. If you are scared off of a career because you are afraid that someone like Gordon Ramsey will swear at you or that someone like Simon Cowell will tell you your voice is awful, then maybe you just don't have the right personality for those types of jobs.

Tammy Olson aka "TPO"

The Practical Pantry

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I'd also like to hear Mr. Miskin expound upon how food science is associated with McDonald's, because the only associations I make with McDonalds are "slurry burgers" and "chopped, sliced, and formed chicken whatsits."

Well, that is food science, isn't it? I'm half way through reading "Fast Food Nation" which makes it quite clear that McDonald's ground-breaking success was based on their willingness to push the frontiers of food science in order to increase profits (along with treating their employees like crap). :sad:

Lobster.

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