WanaBe a ChefNECI, French Internships, & Knives

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Atlantic Culinary Academy (NH)
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California School of Culinary Arts, Pasadena, CA
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WebFoodPros.com: WanaBe a Chef: NECI, French Internships, & Knives
By Papa_smurf (Papa_smurf) on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 07:44 pm: Edit

Ever since High School, I was drawn to the New England Culinary Institute. Now that I will be getting out of the US Army, I have decided to apply for the September 2001 class. Can anyone please give me a good description of the school, the area, the faculty, etc...? I'd really like to hear from some of the graduates at this school. I was really drawn to the Faculty/Student ratio: 7 to 1. I really don't think you can beat that with a stick. I'm really wishing to do my internship in France. What is the likelihood of this? If I do get to go, will I just be a gloried dishwasher? Not that that's a bad thing, it's just that I'd really like to know what I'm getting myself into. As far as after graduating, what is the "average" position one would be able to acquire? With this I mean I know some folks get hired as Sous chefs and such, but realistically speaking what can a graduate look forward to doing? I have the GI Bill, which covers about $20,000 (lucky me) but what is the financial assistance like at this school? Do they offer quite a few scholarships and grants? Just so you all know, I'm not new to the Foodservice industry. My father, and his father before him were cooks. My father was a Head cook, so he surpassed his father. I'll be going to school to get a "formal" education, so I'll hopefully surpass my father. My father also owns his own catering business, and I've been working with him since I was 12 (I'm 25 now). My brother will also be going to school to become a Chef. He will be applying for the September class at The Restaurant School in Philadelphia. One last question and then I'll end this... *smile* What brand of knife would you use while you're at school? Around the house I have J.A. Henckels Four Star, and Wusthof Trident Classic. I know in the industry a chef's tools are a very valuable commodity. Would you recommend an inexpensive brand while in school due to loss, theft, etc.? Thanks for all your help guys. I really appreciate everything, and I look forward to having a home at this site.

P.S. How would one go about perfecting their knife skills? I'm no slouch, but I'm not where I'd really like to be. (Ever watch that guy Jamie from "The Naked Chef"?)

By Plagdameo (Plagdameo) on Thursday, June 14, 2001 - 07:09 am: Edit

Hi! I'm an international student who graduated from NECI quite a few years ago (Nov 92) and I must say that NECI really prepared me for life in the foodservice industry. Before that, I never had any professional experience and when I graduated I felt comfortable in my first professional job right away.
It is true that they have a 7:1 ratio. In fact, we were only 6 in the class and the teachers were really able to focus on all of us individually. Everything was hands-on and the schedules are very similar to what you would experience in the industry. It's a lot of really hard work with a lot of pressure but if you can handle it, I would say that you won't have a lot of problems once you graduate.
As for starting positions, it really all depends on where you work. Smaller restaurants may give you higher positions (sous-chef) but big hotels will probably put you in a lower position and allow you to work up the ladder.
As for knives, the school will provide you with a knife kit (ours was F. Dick). Presently, my chef's knife is a Wusthof (which I love) but I also have a couple of Henckels knives. NECI really stresses the importance of personal knives and while I was there, we did not have a big problem of theft since everyone valued their own knives.
I suggest that you visit the school to see if it is the type of school you want to go to because you really cook for customers (no test kitchens here).
Hope this has helped you a bit.
Good luck and hope you find the fulfillment I have found in this career!


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