WanaBe a ChefDeciding on cooking schools in Chicago - Kendall or CHIC?

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WebFoodPros.com: WanaBe a Chef: Deciding on cooking schools in Chicago - Kendall or CHIC?
By Chicagowanabe (Chicagowanabe) on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 05:34 pm: Edit

I'm considering attending a culinary school in Chicago. It appears that the best choice is either Kendall or CHIC. I'm forty something, have a BS from a reputable school and have worked in the corporate world (non-food industry related) for almost 20 years. I know the overall advantages of a four-year degree, such as what Kendall has to offer, but I'm questioning if it's really worth it for me. Some have suggested that because of my real life experiences from the corporate world the AAS degree should provide the appropriate preparation for a cooking entry-level position. I have been in managerial and supervisory positions for almost 10 years. I'm looking to formal culinary education as the bridge to a career change. If I'm going to go for the Bachelors, then Kendall is the only option in Chicago.

Question #1. Should I go for the AAS or should I invest the additional time and money in a second Bachelors degree? Question #2. What is the perceived industry reputation and quality of the AAS program at these two schools? I believe that Kendall would be more money, so I'm wondering if it's worth it. I'm interested in experiences, even if not first hand, comments and opinions on these two schools.

By Debord (Debord) on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 09:00 pm: Edit

Chicagowanabe are you interested in pastry or cooking? I'm looking for a assistant (I think, at least I was dirrected to hire one before the manager desided to quit). Your obviously bright and overskilled business wise, compared to who your classmates will be and who you might end up working for. You know what a big jump this is from where you've been. I assume your interest is because you love something about this field. Have you been cooking and or reading cookbooks your whole adult life?

You realize a degree isn't manitory right? You might be someone who can pick this up faster than a younger student. Right now, where do you think your headed in this field?

By Rubble (Rubble) on Monday, March 05, 2001 - 01:48 pm: Edit

Hey Chicagowannabe!
I found myself in the same situation as you over a year ago, questioning whether I should pursue a degree or certification, or whether it's simply to avoid all the schooling and find a part-time job in a bakery. I have been at Cordon Bleu-CHIC for the past year. I have found the courses very useful and appreciate the education I receive from the chef instructors there. But the most important skill set that is not taught is what an actual work environment is like. I still know nothing about large volume production -- or how to repair or improvise if something should go wrong in the kitchen. As Chef Debord and many others have told me on this message board, these skills can only be acquired through experience.

SO... after all this rambling, I guess I would say that a little bit of both (schooling and experience) is a good combination. I don't regret at all taking classes - everyone needs that once and awhile. But I also realize that what I learn from the classes has limited benefits - that it has to be balanced with exp.

P.S. I am still looking for a part-time position since I can't make a financially feasible transition to a full-time bakery &/or restaurant position at this time. Ifyou hear of anything good, please drop me a line!

By Debord (Debord) on Monday, March 05, 2001 - 06:09 pm: Edit

Rubble if I was you, I'd trying getting a job with Chicagos' world class, gold metal winning pastry chef... But if that's not your cup of tea you could work on the North Shore with me?

The kitchen atmosphere stinks, the hours are inconsistant and the employee meals are terrible. But you could get more hands on experience and personal tutoring than in any fancy hotel....if you can't resist such a great offer you could find me at Hawkeyehamburger@aol.com if your interested?

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