The New Bakers Dozen
Is school needed?

The The Bakers Dozen: Is school needed?
By Cindy on Friday, April 07, 2000 - 06:39 pm: Edit

I've been reading your posts over the last few days,and I'm questioning my need for school. I've applied & have been accepted to school for a Baking/Pastry certificate. After reading these posts I wonder if I should just seek out a bakery and do on job training instead. I'm known for cheescakes for the most part & sell them to friends. I do other desserts & am sought out for them. I also do breads too. I make my own starter for sourdough and bake sourdough bagettes. When I told the admissions person what I've done, he told me I'd be able to find a job before graduation. Now, I'm thinking I might not need it at all. I'm moving to Chicago in July & it looks like Ms DeBord works in that area. I'm curious what the job market would look like for an unexperienced, but eager novice baker/pastry person as opposed to a grad of an 8 month certificate program. Thank you

By Nicz (Nicz) on Saturday, April 08, 2000 - 10:04 pm: Edit

It sounds as if you already know quite a bit about what you are doing. I went to culinary school and am very glad that I did, I don't believe you need it to succeed in the industry. Mostly what I learned at school was a lot of the science of foods which intrigues me. It allows me to understand why certain things are happening in the products that I make and I can easily amend recipes - although I'm sure umpteen nubmers of years of experience will give you the same knowledge. School was also very oriented around the nuevo artsy designs and flavors. I also learned how to use rolled fondant, pulled sugar, and gum paste and that would have taken me forever to learn in a job setting. How often do you have 8 hrs just to sit there and play around with that stuff like you do at school? I guess it all depends on what you are expecting to get out of this whole experience, but I hope I helped somewhat.

By Dominique (Dominique) on Sunday, April 09, 2000 - 02:25 am: Edit

I think working in the business first is a good idea. Cooking professionally isn't the same as cooking at home and you may find you don't like it. By working for a year or so first, you not only confirm whether it's something you want to pursue, you have a better idea of what you're doing BEFORE you go to school. Why pay all that money to learn the basics? Learn some of that first and use school to refine your skills. Or.... if you find yourself a good chef to work under, ask if they have an apprenticeship program in place or would be willing to set one up for you.

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