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chiantiglace

Letter Assistance/ Pastry schools/Best Ones?

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The point of this topic is simply I am preparing a letter for my student government to your Dean or pastry and baking expressing our concerns about the curriculum.

We feel (especially I) that the curriculum needs a lot of work to share space with the culinary courses. Here at the CIA we go through the entire course and all we get to do at the end is work at our "Apple Pie Bakery". There problem is some of us go in here to specialize in restaraunt dessert. It seems to be a very hot topic online here and if you think about it, the majority of our celebrity pastry chefs are mainly, or solely affiliated with plated dessert large, or dinner operating pastry.

In case anyone did not no "The Worlds Premier Culinary School" has completely eliminated the experience demand. It use to be 2 years a while ago, then it dropped to 6 months when I started. Now in recent days it has been stripped from the application.

My question is, our we losing our expectations for students comming into school, and if we are, will the employers gradually lose there expectations of one holding this degree. I have noticed myself a slower pace education that I once anticipated being filled with lots to learn, strict guidelines, tough chefs, and hard work. This school is turning into a university of studies and not a trade. Even though that actually sounds nice, they are not keeping up with times. To me Baking and Pastry has huge differences. I actually consider myself more affiliated with the culinary crews than I do the bakers. It almost seems to me that there should be 3 degrees. Culinary, Pastry, and Baking. I also think there should be a higher amount of overlapping with each other.

The problem is there are only 2 courses and you have to follow that step by step. Many of us students have discussed it and thought it would be nice to have a core to follow on, and select our own electives. You really dont get to intermingle with other students and learn how to deal with multiple personalities. There are many benefits to the block system how it goes, and I do see why they can't keep it as it iis.

My greatest note thus far, that may have had some impact with the CTA, is the process of putting the B&P students in the Restaurants. Why do we have these 4 star restaurants and the pastry students cant even take advantage of the dessert menus. Quite honestly when I ate at the bounty I thought that every course I had was fantastic, except the desserts. They are so mundain and overplayed its sickening. Why cant the desserts get as advanced as the entrees and appetizers. If when CIA speaks, the world listens, how come it hasn't spoken in a while. Pastry needs a kick right now, it has the potential to soar. We all know the advances some of these great pastry chefs have taken, and everyone knows watching the pastry competitions are much more exciting that culinary competitions (maybe its because they dont happen as often, or maybe its the glit and glamour of the sugar and chocolate, or maybe they are just more interesting). Shouldn't CIA take advantage of this new era, grab it and never let go?

Soon (in 9 weeks) I go on extern, and before I go I am going to do the best I can to revive our Baking an Pastry club to what it should be. So when I come back, and before I graduate this school will have open eyes towards the capabilities of pastry chefs and their art.

If anyone has suggestions, comments, stories, qoutes, absolutely anything relavent to this subject I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks, Anthony.


Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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The same was true at my -- albeit unknown -- school where I did only pastry and baking.

In my class, we (easily) convinced our instructor that we should work in the Cafe. Our project was to indiviually define a restaurant food style (say, pick an Italian restaurant setting) and design a desser menu. There were parameter -- one fruit, one chocolate, one custard style, and I forget the rest. Desserts had to be complete -- differing textures, play on flavors, you know the drill. Then we each presented our 5 desserts to a team of chefs (savory and pastry), and they voted on those that would be served in the Cafe. We then ran Cafe service for the weekend. Had to work with FOH staff, prep, plate, etc.

In my (limited) perspective it's tough on restaurant work. Around here, much of it is brought in and simply plated. I can think of only 2 restaurant groups in my area that have a pastry chef, and the one chef for the group provides desserts for all restaurants in the group.

On an aside, when preparing the letter, PLEASE check spelling and proper word usage. It does make a difference. For instance, if I review a resume presented to me for hire and I find spelling or word usage errors (your when it should be you're) it goes in the garbage heap.


Cheryl, The Sweet Side

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Before going any further in analyzing the content of your letter...

Check all your spelling and grammar and try to focus a little bit on the subject at hand. Nobody is going to take a letter like that seriously when you can't create a coherent sentence:

"there" instead of "their"

"no" instead of "know"

"our" instead of "are"

"In case anyone did not no "The Worlds Premier Culinary School" has completely eliminated the experience demand. It use to be 2 years a while ago, then it dropped to 6 months when I started. Now in recent days it has been stripped from the application." I don't even know what you are trying to say here. I could figure it out, but if I were an administrator at your school, I wouldn't take the time.

The list goes on and on.

I understand what you are trying to do. I felt the same way when I attended culinary school almost ten years ago. I still feel the same way. Now, I might be interested in teaching at a culinary school, but I have to get beyond my own negative stereotypes of the students who attend culinary schools.

Try to distance yourself a bit from the subject (I know it is difficult) and come back to your letter with a little bit of objectivity thrown in. Understand the school's point of view when it comes to attempting to teach a very broad curriculum to a very broad range of individuals. Not everyone goes to school to become Sam Mason or Norman Love or Jacquy Pfeiffer (sp?)...there are also different schools which focus on different things. I think the French Pastry School in Chicago would have been more your speed. Definitely respected and definitely focused on pastry and what is new and interesting in the field. Remember too that some well respected pastry chefs who are doing great and innovative desserts never went to school and may very well disdain culinary school graduates who think that having a certificate or diploma from the CIA makes them better than other candidates.

It is great to try to push the school to understand the needs of the industry and of you the student, BUT a well worded and thought out argument will help you better than an incoherent diatribe.

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Alright look, this is a forum. Sooo sorry I used your instead of you're, and no instead of Know. I dont see where that was, but it doesn't matter. I have 20 minutes before my last class of the week, then I go to manhatten for the weekend. I dont have time to spell check this, and I dont need my adressment letter until monday. I will worry about the character, grammar and spelling of the letter when I do IT. Thanks for all the collective criticism but thats not what I am looking for.

If you have any plausible ideas for me please note them.

Also, I am tired of people tell me to sit back and expect something from a school, or try something different. I am not rash, I am not upset. I do know nothing ever gets anywhere without someone pushing. If you dont like me or anyone else pushing, then step aside or debate against it. If the school is going to change with the times the ideas of people in general, especially current, future, and past students should be heard on a constant base. The more people who express opinion and suggestion, the better. And the more frequent they do that the faster things change for the better. But if you stand there and let people push bad ideas you are going in the wrong direction.

I am not idealistic, I just want things to better in my lifetime, and if possible during my class term. If they dont, they hoefully they will for the class succeeding me.


Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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So when I come back, and before I graduate this school will have open eyes towards the capabilities of pastry chefs and their art.

Add an 'or else' and it's perfect.

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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I understood this was not "the letter", but when coming to a group, any group, for advice, be clear, be concise, and watch how you come across.

I gave my example of how we changed the curriculum at my school and a word of advice on the side.

It may not have been what you were looking for, but your appearance (how you present yourself) is everything.


Edited by SweetSide (log)

Cheryl, The Sweet Side

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My class, graduated Jan'00, was the last stream to go through the restaurants. I'm not sure what they were trying to achieve by doing that other than to have another shiny outlet to capture the grey hairs bucks. I thought it was odd that even though we went through the restaurants we didn't do Escoffier, the "flagship", is it still? The next stream only went through the Apple Pie, not Bounty, not Caterina, not the healthy one (obviously that one didn't have that much of an impact) It seems that the best thing would be to incorporate all of them into the curriculum in one way or another.

After seeing the level of production in the Apple Pie I am really glad that I didn't stay to do fellowship, seriously, six kids on the counter falling all over each other in goofy chefette attire, wow, thats a reality check.

I completely agree with you on many of your points, I truly felt that it was detrimental to the education to remove the restaurants from the B&P curriculum. I also agree with you on the admission requirements (something that I spouted off about on your school life blog).

Being that I was the one in my group who felt compelled to play "crusader rabbit" and had some nearly dire consequences as a result let me offer some points for thought. I know what you said upstram about the editing and spelling, etc. just make sure you edit for emotion as well. While there are chefs who will support you and your ideas, Chef Greweling and Radin in my time, there is a disconnect between what seems like the right thing to do and what the administration wants to do.

Talk to your chefs, ask for extra work, make your time at CIA YOUR time, use the resources that are available to better yourself and honestly, to hell with the unmotivated and uneducated masses of Cash In Advance students, most of them do not go anywhere significant professionally anyway despite the marketing attempts to call it the "Harvard of Cooking Schools". I don't know too many Harvard grads who would be happy with 14.00 an hour. But this profession is a choice that you made, really stupid schoolmates/future coworkers and all.

I used to get so worked up about the very same things that you are upset about, really, it is like looking into a mirror. Just realize that the truth, the real truth, is you are not in a democracy and unfortunately no amount of bellyaching (even though I swear you are right) will change anything. It will just make you frustrated and take away time which could be spent more constructively.

Step back, enjoy and let social darwinism take care of the rest.

Good Luck!

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[...]It may not have been what you were looking for, but your appearance (how you present yourself) is everything.

As a professor and writing tutor, I couldn't agree more. chiantiglace, if you post a draft letter for comments about how it comes across, you should always expect comments about spelling, grammar, coherence, and the like. If you didn't have time to proofread your letter yet, make sure you go through it with a fine-toothed comb before it comes anywhere near the desk of anyone in a position of authority. Regardless of the content of your letter, no-one will take it seriously unless it is written with proper spelling, grammar, syntax, and usage, and presents your case coherently and persuasively. I would encourage you to do a major edit of the letter (offhand, aside from the points others have made above, numbers under 12 [some say 10] should be written out; you are lacking apostrophes for possessives and contractions in several places; and you mean "mundane," not "mundain") and post the revised version. If you're not happy with that free advice, do whatever you like, but keep in mind that some of us actually get paid to give the kind of advice you are objecting to. :raz:

However you handle this, I wish you good luck.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I agree with Chianti regarding the key point:

The school has the restaurants in order to give the students experience working in a realistic environment where they also have the opportunity and requirement to create proper courses according to the points in the curriculum.

Why - if you have a pastry and baking program - do you perpetuate the horror of having the culinary students continue to butcher the breads and desserts?

It is a waste of everyone's time not to circulate the pastry and baking students through the kitchen in exactly the same fashion as the culinary students. I suppose the only thing any dumber would be to deny the culinary students the opportunity and insist that the pastry students do all the savory food in addition to the pastry and breads.

And - just to continue working in the same ridiculous mindset - the pastry students in their kitchen stint would use a completely different set of instructors for the savory foods and utilize dumbed down techniques and recipes.

This practice also is a negative to prospective students who may test the waters of the program by dining in the restaurant and be served inedible slop for dessert.


Edited by chefette (log)

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Along with the very good advice above (edit for focus, grammar, spelling, coherence and emotion), it helps to take a positive tone in your letter and to use specific examples of the changes you want to see. It also helps to praise what is already good (its a good idea to start with praise, to make folks want to keep reading in a receptive frame of mind).

By this I mean present the beneficial aspects of the changes you are proposing, rather than slamming the environment that exists. Remember that you and the administration are BOTH thinking "what's in it for me?" and address that in your letter. Its got to be to the benefit of the admin for them to bother to even think about changing.

Hypothetical example of positive tone (details made up entirely):

CIA offers its Baking and Pastry (B&P) students many beneficial experiences, and has the opportunity to offer them yet more. By encouraging the B&P students to take on responsibility for desserts and breads at daily service, not only will these students gain valuable experience but the school will also benefit in several ways. Culinary students will have more time to focus on the culinary skills that are the main feature of their program, students and chefs will enjoy a higher quality and creativity of dessert at lunch and ....

This sells much better than attacking whats wrong.

I wish you success in your endeavor.

<Note - I didnt spell or grammar check this example. Feel free to notice any and all errors :) >


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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I totally agree with Kouign Aman's comments. I also think chefette restated your complaints very succinctly, albeit with some sarcastic commentary (which is fine for the forum, but not a letter.) If you remove the sarcastic asides ("perpetuate the horror," "the only thing dumber," "ridiculous mindset") but use chefette's main points as a basis for a positive letter, I believe the Administration will take it seriously. That doesn't mean anything will change quickly, for bureaucracies are slow-moving and have their own agendas and goals. In fact, it would be worthwhile to learn about their goals and past experience. Why have they made the changes that you object to? Did the past not work well for the school? If not, why not? Request a meeting to discuss these issues, and if you get a meeting be respectful; don't rant and rave. And, yes, make sure you proofread your letter for spelling, grammar and punctuation... and don't rely on spellcheck. It can't tell the difference between "your" and "you're." Good luck, however you decide to deal with this.


Ilene

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First let me say that their are two bread classes and they supply the entire establishment with breads. That is a B&P course.

Second I appreciate all the advice on tone, mood, english language, and attitude. I am not the only one writing this letter (though the driving force).

I am especially looking for opinions and comments from people who have already been through school with situations like this and what they wish they could have changed. Plus I would love to hear from future students, or "student want-to-be's" to give me what they would like to experience if and when they would go to school.

I am doing a few little things to try and show the power of the students if they (the students) will let me. With some demos from the high-end pastry chefs doing plated desserts. We (B&P club) may be able to gravitate the students attention to what could be.

Who knows, maybe its all a waste of time. But I have taught myself one thing in the years leading up to comming to school, that is I don't want to stop trying. Anything that pops into my head that has the slightest chance of bettering pastry as I know it, I'll give it everything I have.


Edited by chiantiglace (log)

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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Part of the intent and value of the CIA program is to provide real experience in real kitchens. This comes in part through the opportunity to design menus and produce for customers in the restaurants created by the school to support the educational and culinary goals of the students.

If the restaurants are part of the school – and therefore funded through student tuition fees why are only some students circulated through the kitchens?

Does the administration feel that the baking and pastry students require less kitchen experience than culinary?

Why is this aspect of the learning experience not readily available – in fact required of the pastry and baking students?

If there is value in designing a baking and pastry program, in recruiting pastry luminaries to manage that program, in hiring and maintaining a staff to teach that program, in accepting students into that program – why is there this critical difference between the educational experiences afforded to baking and pastry students?

It is in fact in the immediate and long term interests of the CIA – an in fact all culinary schools that offer programs in both culinary and pastry – to encourage, support, and facilitate restaurant experience that allows students to create and execute deserts and pastry to the standards which they are taught. This will potentially uphold the fine traditions of pastry as well as encourage the exploration and discovery of new pastry experiences.

In an era when pastry chefs are few and far between, when wholesaling of mass produced pastries is commonplace, when mediocre crème brulee is ubiquitous why perpetuate the trend? Allowing and encouraging chefs to ‘get by’ and treat the final course as insignificant and not deserving of the full and imaginative attention it demands will only lead to the eventual elimination of pastry programs.

While there is a swelling of interest in the pastry and baking arts why not fully leverage this? Enabling culinary students to experience and appreciate the differences of working in the pastry kitchen is important – but not at the cost of denigrating or neglecting those students who seek to pursue this as their livelihood.

Baking and pastry students should – at the very least – be given the equal opportunity to pursue the refinement of their skills in the kitchens of the restaurants at the CIA. This should be an opportunity equally provided to all students enrolled at the school.

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Bravo Chefette, very well put!

I think that one issue still at hand is the difference between the goal of the school to present a "real kitchen experience" and an actual real kitchen experience. I keep thinking about the example of law school for some reason, that is you are taught the laws and the processes of critical thinking and are given a set of intellectual tools but you aren't going to come out and try a case before the supreme court. You need to gain practical working experience in order to move up. Having three people on a dessert station that does sixty covers isn't very real world.

Still, I am glad that I had the chance to run pastry stations in the restaurants and I think one of the ovelooked changes of taking B&P students out of the restaurants is the elimination of the commissary production section that went with the restaurant blocks. Learning the proper order of mise en place and actually having to make things in some quantity seemed to be more valuable than the actual plating of the desserts in the restaurants.

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I really think that the externship is where all these little gaps get filled in. We culinary kids know that even the restaurants here aren't that close to actual restaurants (if you ever have more than one person bumbling around on a pantry station, its time for a reality check :wink: ). But externship you're basically applying for a job, going to work every day, and actually working in a real kitchen. Sorry for my one sentence overview of the 18 weeks, but you cant get more real than that.

Now I'm not saying "wait til externship and see what you think", because that has nothing to do with the classroom curriculum. My group's favorite line seems to be "oh look, more **** we can't use" when it comes to all the additions on campus. And there's plenty of faults with the curriculum itself, but all of the chefs are still wealths of knowledge.

I think you need to define your points better -- like.. the only concrete change I got so far was that you want the B&P back in the restaurants. Then you were asking for other ideas or changes, but I think that really has to come from you. Like, a simple list can become an outline for what you want to say. And it can help you put them in order, so you can really decide whats most important to you, so you can spend the bulk of your energies fighting for those important changes -- a well focused argument over one or two points will have more impact than a general survey of what you disapprove of.

Also, the last rumor I heard was that theyre taking out St. Andy's and moving the APBC over there.


Rico

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After reading through the posts, I started to wonder.... how is pastry and baking education handled in similar schools in foreign countries? How does Le Cordon Bleu do P&B? Does anyone know what their program is like? What about other countries? It would be a powerful statement to cite an example of what you're looking is something that already exists in a foreign curriculum.


Edited by JeanneCake (log)

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Ditto Chefette, and very well spoken,

chiantiglace, what I am about to say is in no way a reflection on the CIA or any other institution out there. School is basically a "simulation chamber" nothing more,

Without it, you would either have to go thru hoop jumping, hard knocks, Indiana Jones nonsense, and stupid dog tricks, to evolve. Even I felt that before I jetted of to Paris in 86' that AIB was committed to the stone ages. Given it for what it was worth, I learned one heck of a lot more than I ever was able to use, but it conditioned me into thinking in a certain way. I have always felt in order to master something you have to immerse yourself in it, READ, READ some more, and READ some more on top of that, hang out in the library at school, set up a tent out back, put your watch that is on your wrist in your pocket and don't look at the clock. Absorb all that you can. Scour the net for ideas. (That advanced search feature that allows you to enter multiple strings-and pull it down in Google in another language is a hoot!) But most of all invest in yourself, if you are really serious about this craft, if you don't want to settle for just “second best”, if you want to go on a job interview, and 9 out 10- YOU get the job.

This view applies to a lot of professions, it's just today most have forgotten and lost sight of what it takes to get there, and the sacrifices made along the way.

One more word of advice, don’t write anything negative to anyone there at the CIA about the curricula, it could wind up snaking ya later on…

M

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It seems the 6month requirement is still on the application. The Deans must have been confused, or maybe me, during our conversation a week ago about the requirement being dropped.

It still is an issue to me because I know they don't follow the requirement guidelines when accepting students. 1/3 of my class has absolute no experience in the restaurant industry what so ever.


Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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this really isn't any different than private four year universities...if they only relied on "qualified" students...and not those who can merely flash a lot of cash...where would places like yale be?! it is a business after all. even if it is supposedly run as a non-profit or not-for-profit or whatever title you'd like...money has to come from somewhere to keep things going. that's just a fact of life in general.

although it can be difficult to deal with these "unqualified" students when you're in school...it only gets worse when you're out in the industry. if anything, this will help you gain patience and learn to be a better leader in spite of the obstacles. there are some people who are born to work in restaurant kitchens and there are some who, regardless of experience or schooling, should never be in the industry. people figure it out sooner or later and as they fall out of the picture, you can rise among the ranks.

edited to add: i know this doesn't help your current situation with your letter and concerns, but realistically speaking, these people exist at every stage of life in every endeavor you'd like to pursue...unavoidable...


Edited by alanamoana (log)

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Alan, I guess you really don't know much about culinary school. This is VERY different from a 4 year university. The differences are so far apart its hard to place the idea together. First of all this place is a money making machine. Who else has a business in this world where the employees pay to work? There are 4 4 star restaurants and a bakery all completely staffed. They only pay about 10% of the employees running the establishments. All of the stocks and breads, plus other items are used by the restaurants that were made in skills classes. someone once told me they buy, in one day, as much produce/food/supplies as one students yearly tuition. This place even charges $5 for a simple tour of the campus. Don't tell me they aren't making money. My first year tuition is greater than my sisters 4 at east carolina UNIVERSITY. Not only are they making money but they are getting greedy. the student totals have gone up from 98 (my class) to 120 (last class that came in). for one block difference they made $632,610 for that years tuition. 15 blocks of 100 students for a year is $43,132,500. If the amount they are spending on food/supplies is true which I don't know for sure, that comes to $10,495,575. If all is true, they are making $32,636,925 a year. On those simple stances. ok of course they are paying for faculty and staff and I am sure thats probably atleast $5mil. The also have to pay for electricity, water, heat, and cleaning supplies+graden materials. thats probably another $8mil. That still leaves them with nearly $20mil, not to mention how much money the restaurants make a year. Put them all together I bet its somewhere around $4mil.

Just to say, I only calculated the AOS students. There are 3 bachelor classes ranging about 170 students. That is about another $12mil from tuition.

I know my math may be pretty damm wrong, hell maybe not close, but it still measures the truth being that this shcool makes a lot of money. I would love to see the accounting sheets. But I must say I am not angry at them for making money, it is a great business plan and I am happy to pay them for the experience. But don't tell me its like other universities and they have a hard time making money. Infact believe it or not they have a hard to spending it. The students get a handsome budget to work with on our own. I have incredible liberty to do things on my own, which I am.


Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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I think the amount for last year (or maybe it was 2003) was $7.2 million dollars "profit". "If" there's anything left over, Im sure it goes to an endowment.


Rico

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the money is going into savings as far as I know. They plan to build a hotel across the street for a better bachelors program. I guess to take away business from cornell.


Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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Alan, I guess you really don't know much about culinary school.  This is  VERY different from a 4 year university.  The differences are so far apart its hard to place the idea together.  First of all this place is a money making machine.

If you actually read my post, you'd understand that what I said is exactly what you said. Regardless of being a "money making machine" with the restaurants, etc. The majority of their money is coming from tuition. This is exactly like a private university. If you understood my veiled comment on Yale (we can't talk politics on eGullet), you'd know what I meant about the hacks that have the money to burn on culinary school but can't be bothered to work in a restaurant first to see if they know what they're getting into. As a matter of fact, the school is probably banking on these people! I can guarantee you they run this place the same way as a private university (um, they offer bachelors degrees, right? So I guess they are a private university to some degree...very specialized). Endowment is where the money goes...as turkeybone says...you can call it savings it is the same thing. This is where scholarship money, grants, etc. come from. And if by chance you read my first post for content instead of assuming I was insulting your grammar, you'd know I did attend culinary school and agreed with the major points of your letter. I'm a restaurant professional who attended culinary school. I'm not talking out of my *ss. But all of this is off topic.


Edited by alanamoana (log)

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all I received was:

money has to come from somewhere to keep things going.

And I replied to that. All of what I said was in response to that. don't just throw me to the side as if I can understand you. The reason why I replied what I replied was they make quite a bit of money so there should be no searching for money. Why can't they be more thorough with the applications and bring people in with the experience. I will not dare defend lesser quality for something that thinks they are the best, its a hippocrisy. I completely understand what you are saying, wether you want to believe it or not so don't get mad.

As long as this school wants to claim ranks with Harvard, and....Yale, I think there requirements should be stricter. Put it this way, I don't feel like I am with the best of the best. if I went to harvard for law, I probably would feel the need to push the hardest I can go just to keep up with the other students. Here I don't feel that way, actually I feel like I am trying to tug the others along to want to be better.

And I really don't want to hear there are people like this everywhere. Because yes its true but to different degrees. Give me a place where the degree is smaller and I will go there. That is where CIA should stand in the place of other culinary schools. But it doesn't.


Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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Well, even the chefs agree that things aren't as strict as they once were.. but a lot of that is the changing perceptions -- they want to make the industry a bit more approachable, and that means they have to quell the stories of chef harshness and "brutality" that still linger (the one where a chef stabbed a kid in the hand for prodding his raw roast beef is untrue, but the one where a chef (Roland Henin, actually) pushed a kid's hand in the deep fryer for trying to snag errant fries with his fingers is true).

And yeah it does seem frustrating at times. The parking sucks, the classes and dorms are more crowded than ever (to the point of having people live in a hotel down the road) -- you'd think it'd be as easy to just stop accepting people ;).

And what are the results? A new parking garage, a new bursar's building, a waterfall?

But to be honest, I'm not banking on the CIA name to open all the doors. At best, it will get my foot in that first or second door. Experience and references are everything in this business -- you're either an asset or a liability. I've known plenty of great guys from 'lesser' schools, and there's plenty of humps and hacks in my group. When I was on extern, my typical introduction was "I go to the CIA.. but I'm not a prick."

So -- in summary, I agree with what you're saying.. that things seem a little watered down as of late, but you have to be selfish and aggresive with your education. And personally, I don't think that trying to appeal to the administration is the most efficient way to do so.


Rico

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