WanaBe a ChefIn dire need of some answers...Please help!

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WebFoodPros.com: WanaBe a Chef: In dire need of some answers...Please help!
By Praisetheduck (Praisetheduck) on Thursday, December 09, 2004 - 11:16 pm: Edit

Okay, well let's see, I really love baking, I've been doing it since I was like ten and I am currently seventeen. But see I know nothing about what is the best way to get into a good successful culinary career. I live in the Los Angeles area so I would be going to the culinary school in Pasadena but I don't know if I should put going to school off for a while and take this job in a baking union. And if I do choose to go to the school, do I need to have the four basic years of normal college first? Does this career actually pay well? I know I would have to work long hours and in the beginning I would get minumum wage, but I mean in the future when I have lots of experience and whatnot. I've heard that it does, but I'm not to sure now, some of these posts said otherwise. Now one more thing, I really love to bake, as I mentioned before, but I have OCD (obsession compulsive disorder) so some times it makes it hard to just leave a little tiny crease in the frosting or what not. Would that stop me from doing well in culinary school and being a successful baker?

By Coolbanana (Coolbanana) on Friday, December 10, 2004 - 07:49 am: Edit

Personally, I would get some "real world" experience before going off to culinary school. That way you will go in with some fundemental skills, and in turn, can focus on higher level of skill development in class, rather than playing catch up while you develop the basic's. And, in turn you will find out if you really want to do the pastry thing while getting paid, to learn a new skill! Overall I think ChefSpike can give you the best answers to your questions, he's the senior pastry guy on these boards.

By Praisetheduck (Praisetheduck) on Friday, December 10, 2004 - 09:42 am: Edit

Hmm, yes that probably would be the best thing to do. Alright well, thank you very much, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer me.

By Praisetheduck (Praisetheduck) on Friday, December 10, 2004 - 10:14 am: Edit

How exactly would I get in touch with him? Do I just wait for him to stumble across my post?

By Coolbanana (Coolbanana) on Friday, December 10, 2004 - 09:33 pm: Edit

He will stop by here and post soon I'll bet. He seems like he can steer you in the right direction. If all else fails start a subject saying something like.... Chefspike Help!

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Saturday, December 11, 2004 - 02:08 am: Edit

"Overall I think ChefSpike can give you the best answers to your questions, he's the senior pastry guy on these boards.".........ok, this is nice but I don't think I am. I think there are others here with far more experience and talent.
and plus it kinda makes me feel old. LOL.
so that said.....................
ok p.duck so we are in the same city.
first of all, I would NOT go to school in Pasadena...(not just yet)
theres maybe one thing that might help you with your disorder, and that would be production.
find a job, and I would sujest in a Euro type bakery,(french, german, ect.) and tell them you want to learn PRODUCTION. do that for a while, then start going to some of the hotels in the city. there you can start learning the finer pastry stuff. Decorating. Individ. items.
(thats if the euro bakery does not show you first)
look in the phone book or get on the web and find the real nice pastry-bakery shops. Theres a french place in Pasadena, suppose to be good, I have not been there yet.
If you still live at home, stay there. this way does not pay well, but it will teach you the right way.
Now, if you just want to learn how to decorate, and not realy learn the prodution end of the biz, then theres a place on La Cienaga,between Melrose and Beverly Blvd., on the east side of the street, you will see the big window with the 3-4 hugh wedding cakes in them, these are high end wedding cakes. Maybe they will take you on and there you can learn how to use a pastry bag. Theres also Hansons cakes, same deal. I don't know what a baking union is and have never heard of this.
Heres your biggest problem, finding a place that does good to very good products and will hire you.
check this place out, its on the south-west corner of Beverly and LaBrea, its next to a starbucks. I know one of the owners and she has a very good background in food. she may be able to help you.
Oh, baking unions, you mean like Vons??? don't go there. its crap.
and as far as "normal' college, thats up to you.
if you want to see if you like cooking, baking ect, you can always go back to college if it does not work out.
Theres also a school on Ocean park in Santa Monica, something Acadamy of arts, or something.
its about a 1/2 to 1 mile west of Bundy. South side right next to the Santa Monica airport.
LA. is filled with places, but so many of them are just crap. be very picky.
If i can be any more help, you can call me.
323.653.1857 I will try to think of others things, places that might help you.

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Saturday, December 11, 2004 - 11:43 am: Edit

I don't think working a "job in a baking union" constitutes learning to be a baker as most people think of it.
I suppose if learning how to make thousands of the squared off loves that comes in those plastic bags in the grocery stores is something you want to do then go for it.
"Push this button here then haul this 2000 lb bin of fortified, conditioned dough to this machine and it will squeeze out the dough in to these 4000 forms that run on this conveyer that are then proofed in this 1200 sq ft computer controlled proofing room."

Whoo-wee we're baking in America.

The Acadamey of Arts in Santa Monica is no better than the Cordon Blue in Pasadena.

Check out Mission Colege
or L.A Trade Tech

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Saturday, December 11, 2004 - 12:10 pm: Edit

I didn't mean to imply that one school was better than the other.
just that maybe one was cheaper, or had more of "what" the girl was looking for.
Oh and Rachel, all the advice that you may get here, should be discussed with your parents.
remember, most of us have not gone to school in many years. its a different world.
Parents advice is priceless.

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Saturday, December 11, 2004 - 12:29 pm: Edit

That was my point also Spike. Spending $100,000 for a job that pays $12.00 an hour make no financial sense.
The Public Schools will be more accommodating to OCD.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Sunday, December 12, 2004 - 10:50 am: Edit

see, I had no idea that public schools were teaching culinary arts.
wish that was so when i went.
I heard somewhere that Pasadena charges 22,000 per year. per student.
if thats true, I need to re-think opening a school out here.
hire some of you guys here to run it.
then i could just retire and eat, get fat, watch a sunset.
yea,...now your talking.

By Chefoncall (Chefoncall) on Sunday, December 12, 2004 - 05:13 pm: Edit

Dear Chef to be:

My suggestion is the easiest. You are looking to far ahead. It is real good to have goals. However they never work out.

I had my dream job six years ago and was hired by contract away from that job for a tune of $6,000.00 more per year. I think with (1) set of location (2) money (3) the kind of education you want. I tend to lean toward private school grads. They seem to be serious. I also see the more serious ones survive. Grit method. There will be serious things that will just eat your lunch. But a true chef will really grit it out.

Also, CIA guys know there stuff. Also, Cordon guys do to. I had the great opportunity to apprentice for both. I think take a look at the quality of the product you would be learning to do as chefspike said. Production from that standpoint is a great place to learn. But,quality cannot be forsaken from tiredness and burnout. really make your desicion carefully, but when you make it settle in for good do not jump around.

Chef Bryan Airey

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Sunday, December 12, 2004 - 08:27 pm: Edit

Does something happen to chef's when they go from working in the kitchens to working the students?
why do so many of these students that come out of these schools know so little?
is it the students or the Chef's? or the program?
(I'm not talking about the girl above)
it just seems to me that there are more people out there calling themselfs Chef's and more BAD food.

By Praisetheduck (Praisetheduck) on Monday, December 13, 2004 - 04:55 am: Edit

Well, hmm..I really don't know. I think I just might go in search of some part time job at some bakery somewhere, it will probably end up just being some little no name place because for now I really don't have reliable transportation. So really the places Chefspike mentioned wont be an option, but I will keep those in mind for later. As for going to school, I would much rather go to one of the private schools, although I don't have the money for it, but I most likely qualify for a grant or something of the sort. I looked at the website for the community colleges that Cheftim provided but it just doesn't seem like I would learn much there. I may just put it off all together until we move up north, when ever that may be, but that way I can go to the one in San Francisco or maybe even the one in Napa Valley. I really don't know, but thank you all for the advise, it's all been very helpful, and yet all so very confusing, but thank you none the less, I really appreciate it.


By Tamsin (Tamsin) on Monday, December 13, 2004 - 06:31 am: Edit

Rachel I've got to be honest I have no idea of the schools in the area or anything like that, but can give you what I think/did and from the experience that I've had with the private school students in Canada. One if you are going to be a chef it doesn't really matter what school you go to public or private, if you have what it takes you will go far. The job matters a bit, if you have a good named workplace as one of your first jobs that can help you out at time when you want to progress (though some of these places have the name but will teach you nothing), however if you work hard and progress as a chef working at lower known/respected places you will probably end up in the same place will just take you a bit longer. With the schools, I went to a private one out here (australia) it was crap, the teacher was really really bad, however my class had what it takes, we all worked hard as a group, taught ourselves fortunately the hotel we all worked which the school was attached to had great chefs who were willing to teach us and that helped heaps. It costed me only $10000 plus managed to cut 8 months off my apprenticeship because of it. If I was to be going to school now, and having to look at some of the costs and the debt that some people go into I think it's crazy, and would most likely choose a public school. You can get some really good teachers there and all it takes is for you to have some drive and you will go well.
Whatever you choose to do, be happy with the decision. Talk it over with your parents, they can help heaps but it ultimately is your decision, if you work hard learn everything you can from the chefs that you work with, both the good chefs and the bad chefs (the bad ones you learn the most from as you know what not to do!) grab ever book you can and educate yourself you will taking the steps yourself to become a great chef.
Hope that helps

By Andapanda (Andapanda) on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 09:18 pm: Edit

I agree with the chefs on WFP that you should get "real world" experience. Baking vocationally(for a living) is completely different than baking avocationally(at home). If you can get hired at the finest hotel bakeshop your area, that would be even better.
It's not necessary to attend a private cooking(aka 'culinary' to be 'politically correct') school. There are some good community colleges as well. Consider Grand Rapids Community College(GRCC), in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
There is a French Certified Master Pastry Chef(CMPC) who teaches the Pastry course. He is also the coach for the U.S. Pastry Team.
GRCC is "open enrollment," but with 500 students in the program, it'll probably take over 1 year to earn the certificate.
Schoolcraft College
in Livonia, Michigan has an American CMPC teaching their Pastry course, but there's a 2-year wait list to attend Schoolcraft College because they only admit 32 Baking and Pastry students per year.
Schoolcraft College has a newly constructed kitchen.

The San Francisco Culinary/Pastry program:

Here are some cook apprenticeship programs listed in shawguides.com in California:
OCC is listed on the ACF website:

Here are two private cooking schools which have good pastry programs:
San Diego Culinary Institute:
French Pastry School:

California Culinary Academy:
Culinary Institute of America at Greystone:

Here are some websites that you might find useful.:

BTW, check out: "A Day In The Life Of An American Culinary Student" By Logan Worley.

My advice(for whatever it's worth) is not to specialize in just baking/pastry arts just yet. I recommend that you consider(with your parents' blessing, and hopefully, financial help) doing a 3-year ACF accredited culinary apprenticeship first. Afterwards, you can then specialize in baking and pastry arts. You'd then be a more versatile cook/baker/pastry cook. Good luck. Take care.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 03:40 pm: Edit

the whole thing scared her.
too much info, not enough money, car, and maybe her age.
I don't think anyone is going to hire a fresh off the street person to go through their accredited cul. apprenticeship, AFC or not.
I think they would get a culinary student in there first. someone who SHOULD know the basics.
I also don't believe that someone has to enter any college or program and start with "cooking"
they can start and finish with Pastry & Baking and go on from there.
very little overlaps the two dept's nowdays.
what?...knife, sautee', cleaning, how to turn the dial on the oven, show up on time, don't bring your weed to work, no cell phone calls, set the damn timer!
I could go on,....and on....and on.

By Praisetheduck (Praisetheduck) on Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 04:13 pm: Edit

Scared her? Her being me? No, I think not. Nothing is going to scare me away from what I want to do. Although, the car, money and age thing is a problem, it doesn't bother me because I know who I am and I know that when I set my mind to something nothing gets in my way. It is all very useful information, and I thank you all for it, it's just that I usually only have time enough to read the posts. Recently there has barely been time enough for me to even do that. And as for the studying cooking first, I have no interest in cooking so no I don't believe I will bother with that. But thank you for your suggestions.


By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 10:07 pm: Edit

well exacly how old are you?
and where do you live now?..what area?..of the state?
if you gave some more info then maybe theres someone who is in your area, that just might take a chance on you.
I'm in LA. And you've said that your moving to SanFran?..is this correct?
your attitute is great!..
theres always someone, some where who willing to help.
no money?...no problem.
no car?...ya live by a bus route?
if you take that "nothing is going to stop me" action into a job, that Pastry Chef or Baker will love having you on board.
Believe me. Ask any Chef on this site.
If you want it, then look for a way.

By Cvincolorado (Cvincolorado) on Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 11:59 pm: Edit

I agree with Spike. Your attitude will get you far in this business. I will hire a person with a similar attitude before hiring a more experienced person with the attitude that they just want to cook and go home. Alot of chefs(and bakers)want someone to teach(the proper way, thier way)and someone that will ask lots of questions as to how and why things work. Good luck to you

By Praisetheduck (Praisetheduck) on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 04:02 am: Edit

My age? Well I am currently seventeen. But the thing is, I dropped out of highschool after nineth grade. So people don't really want to hire me. It's just that the highschools really don't teach anything any more. All highschool is about anymore is getting high, hanging out and causing trouble. I just didn't want to have to deal with all of that, so I dropped out and have been studying on my own for the GED. But because I am not yet eighteen I can't actually take it. I don't know if me not being in school and not having a highschool diploma or GED will affect whether I can get a job in the baking industy or not, but it sure as hell is keeping me from getting a job any where else. But I turn eighteen in April, and as soon as that happens I will be taking the test as soon as possible.

I live approximately twenty minutes away from Los Angeles. Do you know where Downey is? It, of course, isn't where I live, but it is real close by, so that might give you an idea as to where I am. As for moving to San Francisco, well I don't know when that would happen. We were hoping to move up there this year, but unfortunatly that wasn't able to happen. So now we really don't know when. It all really depends on how we are doing financially, and by the looks of it, we wont be able to move for quite some time. A bus route? Hmm, yes, I believe so. I would of course have to convince my mother to actually let me go on the bus alone. We really don't live in the best of neighborhoods, so that might be a bit of a challenge.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 07:01 am: Edit

Do you guys read this young ladies post before answering??????...because many questions you are asking her she has answered in her posts if you take the time to read them!!!!
Rachel first of all, get some experience, once you know you want to do this, take your next step. This would be to decide what kind of education you want to or your parents want to pay for!
You can go to the best which is the CIA in NY or in the Valley in CA., or you can go to a public Vocational school in your area and learn the "basics" there and then spend the big money on your last two-three years of education. You may choose to go to a community college then transfer to a four year school. These are options you must decide with your parents.
Shaw's Guide to Cooking Schools on the web is very helpful.
Fastweb.com is great for scholarship assistance and other financial aid.
If you need more assistance please post or e-mail me at mannyd@gate.net or chefmanny@dadeschools.net.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 07:06 am: Edit

Spike!!!!, how can you say you didn'y know public schools are teaching Culinary Arts???
That's what I teach!!!...at a Vocational school.
The ACF is also pushing this Pro-Start program in all high schools. I think it sucks but it makes them $$$$$.
What happens to Chefs when they start teaching is that they usually deal with too many students, and think back when you went to school or me, there were 20-30 kids, most were average at best, about 30% sucked and 1-2 were any good, it's the same today!!!!!
The other problem today is schools are selling the kids a false bill of goods, they reall ybelieve they are Chefs when they graduate from these mediocre programs!

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 10:07 pm: Edit

Well, I didn't know that Vocational and public were one of the same.
I don't have kids nor do any of my friends kids plan on getting into the food biz.
So I don't have exposure to that part of the food training level.
As far as Rachel goes. Shes in kind of a hard spot. Age. No car. No money. Area where she lives. (bad)
But, I'm going to get in to it and see what I can come up with. Make some phone calls and see if theres anyone down there, (shes south of me) that would be willing to help.
I would hate to see a young person with her attitude about education and advancement have to wait.
All I can do is try, see what happens.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 07:17 am: Edit

Do it man!!!
I know you can, if anyone can!!!

By Chefoncall (Chefoncall) on Saturday, December 25, 2004 - 02:26 pm: Edit

Dear Fellow Chefs:

I have been following your featured comments. They are all good. Let me confirm a couple of things from my certified perspective.I do catch heck from having a patch on my jacket. However, I am not embarrased to say it. I worked a linecook job out of culinary school. Then went on to move out of state and compete in another states job market. Also, hard butt work. Why? Well the locals already have there stomping ground. Then they hire an out of town chef that is there boss. God, I feared for my life daily. These guys weren't angels.

Although, a couple I know went farther up state New York to work in a restaurant making rattle snake stew and buffalo chili. I miss those guys. managing them put a patch on my coat pocket. The job I am at know will be ending soon. I will be moving on.
I think there is one most very important factor here to remember. DEDICATION, DO NOT FORGET WHERE YOU CAME FROM. DO NOT FORGET HOW TO COOK ON THE LINE. ALSO, the education market in culinary schools are really becoming a hot topic for newer chefs that are just getting started. Do not know much about J&W myself. I cam from the big C myself, so. I am partial to them. I have heard that San Francisco is a close second. Actually, I would be willing to bet if I had to do it over again. I might go back to California. I actually worked under a great chef from CCA. He actually did some work at the white house. Also, if you are not 18 and just starting in this work. The apprentices are out there. I think then you older/younger guys will see why us younger starting chefs were born into it. Then I think you will know why CHEFSPIKE and CHEFTIM and I are crazy. I used to get the crap beat out of me daily. But,I promised to never quit, I never did. I remember when I first apprenticed. I had a ACF President Chapter teaching me how to cook in the old black tin sautee pans. Well, if you know anything bout these pans they will burn veal in about 2 seconds on low heat in the middle of a la carte dinner doing 80 covers while being screamed at by the tops of his lungs. But, I see that chef today at meetings and he treats me like his son today.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 08:13 am: Edit

Dude, you may have to step up with the discipline there in the kitchen!!!!!!!
Some people will try to get away with as much as you will let them; you are in charge.
Actually those pans saved lots of time, I remember using them, you would have oil in about 8-10, when the orders were fired you put the food in and it was done in a very short time, you wiped them and they were ready to go again!!!
Wow, that brings back some old memories!!!!

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 05:05 pm: Edit

I'm crazy?
I remember those pans, don't any of you use them anymore?
I'm crazy?

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 10:46 pm: Edit

The black steel carbon pans? Tin melts at 232 celcius. (don't know what that's in F. maybe 380 ?) No I've got a stack of the black steel ones, and I prefer them over anything, even the new copper and s/s pans I got last Christmas. Definately better than the aluminum jobbies, those ones warp after two weeks and the rivets work loose after three weeks...
O.K., better let the force shields down for a minute. Chefoncall, you and I are pretty much the same: We want to be accepted in this forum, we want out ideas and opinions to be respected. And like I said before, it wasn't my intention to be harsh or snotty, but I probably came across that way, so accept my apology.

Life is one big obstacle course. I remember when I was 19, and had just signed a 3 year apprenticeship course in a crusty old hotel in Lucerne. First day at school, the teacher writes the 14 methods of cooking on the board and told us by next class he wanted a 30 word summary on each method. Of course at the time I could only speak about 20 words of German(none of them nice ones)let alone spell or write in German. And at work the second and third year apprentices were 4 and 5 years younger than me, demanded that I earn their respect, and secretly wanted to know if I really did cook whale blubber for sled dog teams up there in Canada?
Life was a bit**, and the only way I could hold my head up in the kitchen was to really watch my back and to get better marks in school than the second and third years. (That is, on cooking technique, product knowledge, and history. But never, ever, German compostion and/or essay writing...) Our Chef, at that time only 7 years away from retirement screamed constantly, bought us a beer or Coke at clean-up, then screamed again until clean-up for the evening service. Double shifts are the norm in Europe, but apprentices, especially non-Swiss ones who couldn't properly speak Swiss-german, or god forbid--high-German, now those apprentices got triple or quadruple shifts.
So, I don't want to get in a contest with you on whose Kahunas are bigger, or who can squirt further, 'cause it'll sound like some Monty Python skit on who had it harder ( "What? Luxury! When I was a kid I had to sleep under ditches and only got to eat boiled gravel once a day...")
George, you caught me with my pants down. I usually write my postings on Word, and then import them because I can't find the ^&& ! spell checker on the tools menu on this site, spelling has never been my strong point...

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 11:38 pm: Edit

"We want to be accepted in this forum, we want out ideas and opinions to be respected."

You know, I think you are, and they are.
I don't think thats an issue.
And as far as having it tough, bring it on!
German!,...thats all?
I wrote everything in German and French !!
2 Shifts everyday for the first 3 days of the new week. And clean-up, add 1 1/2 hours each night.
The other 3 days I had to go in and help the Early morning baker.
I slept in my car for 4 days everyweek.
(maybe cause we closed the bars those nights, I can't remember, its foggy)
Then we had to steal all of the Chef's recipes cause he wouldn't give them to us. Add 2 hours for this 2 nights a week.
Crawl through ceilings just to break into his office!
German, HAH! you had it soft.LOL!

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 09:06 pm: Edit

O.K. Chefspike, where'd you get the money to close down bars? First year apprentices made Sfr.690.00, second years Sfr.790.00, and at that time a beer was Sfr.2.20. Of course all apprentices had to live in the "Personalhause" and had Sfr.300.00 automaticaly deducted, and all uniforms, knives, school supplies, etc. were the apprentice's problem.

I never broke into a Chef's office--yet, but I had to "borrow" a Pastry Chef's recipie book once. The man had three weeks annual vacation, and kept his recipies locked up in a drawer mounted directly underneath a massive marble table. Waiters screaming at me for the "real" mousse au chocolate, and at the end of the shift I had a brainstorm: Couldn't pick the lock 'cause the crafty old man used one of those round key-type padlocks, couldn't unscrew the drawer housing that was screwed to the underside of the table frame because, again, the crafty old bas**** had gummed up the screw heads with muliple layers of nougat lacquer which had hardened to a slippery diamond-like coating. Couldn't lift up the marble table top by myself either. Nope, got the whiny "real mousse au choc" waiter to lend me his car jack, put a hunk of plywood ontop of that, two milk-crates ontop of that, and jacked the marble top high enough so I could get a pair of tongs between the marble top and the drawer frame and finally fished the recipie book out. Got reamed out when the Pastry chef came back because I had messed up his drawer and he couldn't figure out how I did it...

By Tamsin (Tamsin) on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 03:09 am: Edit

Foodpump, that has to be one of the funniest stories I've read

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 09:02 am: Edit

That is good, we would have worked well together.
Closed down bars here in the States.
When I slept in the car,....in Detroit,...in the winter,...talk about dedicated!
I was such a fool.
Anyhow, I didn't apprentice there, I went through that crap here, in the States, with low life Euro. trash chefs.
(but they were good, talented)

By Andapanda (Andapanda) on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 05:56 pm: Edit

I can't help Rachel in Pomona, but I seem to recall Ladycake mentioning something about a master baker willing to hire someone to train to bake. Perhaps Ladycake can elaborate about this baker. If this master baker is in Fresno, is Rachel willing to move there to work for said baker?

By Praisetheduck (Praisetheduck) on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 02:21 am: Edit

Right now moving that far away is not an option. We do plan on moving up north...eventually, I really can't say when...it may be a few years before we get the chance. When we are finally able to move up north I'm sure Fresno could be considered, but I believe my mother wants to live further up in the Alameda, Santa Rosa type area.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Monday, January 17, 2005 - 10:11 pm: Edit

i'm looking in pomona.
check back later.
like a week later.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Monday, January 24, 2005 - 09:42 pm: Edit

Call Pierce College in the Valley, and ask them about the food program they have there, and ask to speak to someone about " GRANT MONEY "
Then, call some place called Mission College, and ask them about their food program and about money.
Grant money is money you don't have to pay back, but your parents can't make a lot of money, cause then you won't qualify.
get back to us and let us know what they said.
Good luck.

By Andapanda (Andapanda) on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 03:55 pm: Edit


I do not know what your career objective is. Is it it become a baker, pastry cook, cake decorator? I also do not know where it would be convenient for you to study baking and pastry arts. Therefore, I have listed all of the community colleges in California which offer baking programs, listed in Shaw's Guide To Cooking Schools:


I hope that you will be able to find a community college which will suit your educational and vocational objectives. I do not recommend private culinary arts, baking, or pastry, schools, except Ewald Notter's "Notter School of Pastry Arts":


which is highly specialized for professional pastry chefs and not for novices. There are some other excellent schools in France which also teach sugar work, but for you, Rachel, concentrate on learning the fundamentals of baking. How is the job search going? Perhaps it would be better to work for a year or two, and then apply to a community college to study baking. You would then have some work experience, and money to pay for school. The vocational baking experience would be invaluable to you to help you learn more or faster than your peers at school. Please let us know how you are faring. Take care.



Cabrillo College:

Diablo Valley College:

Laney College:

Long Beach City College:

Los Angeles Trade Technical College:

By Ladycake (Ladycake) on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 08:35 pm: Edit

Sorry I didn't get back sooner....if you want to train, contact your local ACF and ask about a Master Pastry Chef in your area. They are empowered to do apprenticeships and you will learn much more there in a handson environment than you will in a vocational school. In the schools, you will have to start at the very beginning and if you have worked in bakeries, that will be redundant for you.

I have a graduate that is now doing his apprenticeship and really finds it challenging and productive.

Hope this helps.

By Praisetheduck (Praisetheduck) on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 02:56 am: Edit

Sorry I haven't been responding to any of the posts recently, I've been a bit busy. Unfortuantly we are having a bit of a hard time and I'm needed at home for now, so I haven't actually had a chance to look for any jobs, but ChefSpike, I'll make those calls as soon as possible. Andapanda, thank you for all the different websites, I'll look at those as soon as I get some free time. And Ladycake, I have no idea what an ACF is, and how would I go about contacting them?

By Ladycake (Ladycake) on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 06:14 pm: Edit

American Culinary Federation is the national chef's association and the organiztion that does the testing for certification as chef-executive chef-master chef- etc.

acfchefs.org will get you to them.

By Andapanda (Andapanda) on Saturday, February 05, 2005 - 12:26 pm: Edit


ACF is a good start in meeting chefs and other cooks. Perhaps you could attend one of their meetings. However, if you are interested primarily in baking, here are some URLs which might be of interest to you.:

International Cake Exploration Societé:

The Bread Bakers Guild of America:

Bakers Exchange:
Article about home-based decorators:

International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association:
IDDBA Seeks Cake Decorators to Compete in Tenth Annual Cake Decorating Challenge:

The Retailer's Bakery Association:

Winbeckler Enterprises(cake decorating, candy making supplies, classes, etc.):

Cake Directory(organisations):

American Cake Decorating Magazine:

Australian National Cake Decorators' Association:

American Institute of Baking:

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