WanaBe a Chefculinary school.. important or not

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Atlantic Culinary Academy (NH)
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WebFoodPros.com: WanaBe a Chef: culinary school.. important or not
By Shorty15girl (Shorty15girl) on Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - 10:14 pm: Edit

I have a paper and it is on being a pastry chef. One of my questions is.."Is it really important to go to culinary school or not?".. I would really appreciate some feed back.. Thanks a bunch...

By Texascook (Texascook) on Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - 01:28 pm: Edit

I wish I had a paper on being a pastry chef I bet there would be better job offers and better pay to go with that paper you have in your hand.

"Is it really important to go to culinary school or not? YES! I think so.

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - 06:05 pm: Edit

Here is quote from a Ted A Eliason that was posted in the professional_cooks yahoo forum. I don't know Ted but I think his comments are right on and I'd like to pass them on.


Best Culinary Schools:Best Culinary Schools:

The Cordon Bleu: Paris, London, Ontario
Ritz-Escoffier Paris
Culinary Institute of America
French Culinary Institute of NY
Hyatt executive chef training program

Quality is more variable for Johnson & Wales or 'Cordon Bleu' CEC franchises in the US, as is the case with the much more affordable community college programs. The CEC 'cordon bleu' affiliated programs (California Culinary Institute, WCI, Scottsdale CI, ACI, etc.) actually have a horrible reputation for having inconsistent quality, overcharging students, underpaying instructors and giving 80% annual growth to investors since these schools are a corporation first and a set of teaching institutions second. If you are dedicated to working within a given Metro area, an ACF apprenticeship can be the best way to go in terms of getting individual attention, starting to build a professional network, and getting an education that 'pays for itself' since ACF apprenticeships are typically also paid positions.

Apprenticeship in a Michelin 2 - 3 star restaurant can also be a better predictor of culinary talent and efficiency than any given culinary school, where the rule of thumb is: easy to get in, easy to graduate, easy to have graduates that still can't do fundamental things like adjust seasonings or textures correctly (I see this all the time). The European Cordon Bleu programs do actually hold back chefs from the 'professional stage' program if their mastery of the basics exams do not go well to assure graduates always meet basic quality standards.

Also consider the game that 'prestige' culinary education can force: a CIA graduate can get a job at an internationally recognized top restaurant more easily: French Laundry, Gotham Street Grill, Zuni Grill, Aquavit, Charlie Trotter's, etc. but the pay is still very low. Grads typically put up with this for the 'experience' on their resume that will hopefully help them launch their own high risk venture some day. But many grads do not make it to the point of raising money for a high stakes restaurant. Most wind up as exec, sous, or even line chefs at typical restaurants, hotels, etc. making between $25K and $45K a year along side graduates from the local community college, recent immigrant workers, industry professionals with no formal education, etc. It's one thing to make $35K annually. It's another to make $35K with $24K in student debt. It can force you to make decisions based on the need for more money, rather than offer the freedom to consider other options like working in the area you want to, perhaps starting your own restaurant earlier, perhaps working in a resort area instead of a major metro area, etc.

By Shorty15girl (Shorty15girl) on Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - 07:19 pm: Edit

Thanks for all the help...Rachel

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