The Great Hall
Should someone sucessfull worry about a degree? The Great Hall: Should someone sucessfull worry about a degree?
By Cindyscatering (Cindyscatering) on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 11:08 pm: Edit

I have a guestion for you guys that you may think is dumb.
History: After 20 years as a paralegal, and a bout with cancer I decided to make a career change. For a year, I did research and studied everything I could find about catering, etc. Five years ago I started a catering company. It has been very successful, much more than I anticipated. I recently opened a second location which is mostly a deli. We cater 100-150 corporate luncheons daily. We have at least 1 wedding on the weekend and usually another event or two thrown in there during the week. The deli is doing great and bringing in more catering. I started very small, sharing a kitchen with a pastry chef. Moved to a larger kitchen a couple of years later and now added the second location.
Business wise I am very confident. I have great employees. I am a good cook because I study everything I can get my hands on and because I have always been one of those people who could cook anything and it would taste good. So, here is my question.
Should I enroll in a culinary arts program? Sometimes I feel like an imposter when I am around other chef's because I don't have a degree and I didn't learn by working in restaurants like most people. I have never even worked in a restaurant. This really bothered me last week when we participated in a Chef's competition and I won. I feel like it may be late in the day to get a degree, but I would like to know what you guys think. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. Not something I can discuss with local folks.

By Chefrev (Chefrev) on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 11:35 pm: Edit

With all due and sincere respect to colleagues with culinary degrees, let me say:

If you're cooking, you're in charge, you're good and successful at it then you're a chef. That's oversimplifying it a little but...

Having a few letters after your name probably won't matter much to anyone who presently does business with you. If some one has a problem with you having made a reputation without a degree, that is, well,....their problem.

Unless you would like to see what more you could learn in a culinary program--and who couldn't use a little more knowledge and skill--I'd say don't bother.

I should say I myself do not have culinary education either, but have been in restaurants for about seventeen years. Just my .02

By George (George) on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 08:36 am: Edit


Folks get a culinary degree to get where you are, and even then most don't make it. Going to a full program would be a waste of time and money.

I have several friends that came up through the business as self/work trained. After they had been around for a while they saw a need for some kind of affiliation with a program. The took continuing ed courses at the CIA.

I'd suggest you get the CE course descriptions and do a week or two week program once or twice a year. Do them both in NY and in CAL. It would be a totally tax deductible vacation that would give you the ability to say "oh ya I went to the CIA too". You could just take courses that you are interested in and avoid the redundant stuff.

If you've got the $ look at the overseas programs also, especially ones affiliated with name restaurants. Even in today’s environment having some European training on the resume, with a oh yes I trained at Blah Blah’s is well respected.


By George (George) on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 08:46 am: Edit

Phewww, looks like I moved it sucessfully.


By Cindyscatering (Cindyscatering) on Friday, May 02, 2003 - 11:05 pm: Edit

George & John Thank you....sage advice as always.

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