Culinary schools...?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Kamera RAWr, May 8, 2009.

  1. Kamera RAWr macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

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    #1
    At the moment, I'm very interested in going to culinary school. I've always enjoyed cooking and cooking for people, even the mundane tasks don't bother me at all. Also I feel like I'm getting to an age (27) where I'd like to go to school to get a trade and culinary arts seems to be a good fit for me.

    Well, where I'm getting hung up is on which culinary schools to look into and take seriously. Sure there's plenty of them out there, but which offer a worthwhile program. I'm in the United States, by the way, just so we all know where we're talking about. Well, the first obvious suggestion I'll probably hear is the C.I.A. I'm looking for other options as well. Being in Los Angeles at the moment I've been looking at the California School of Culinary Arts and a few others. Many of the schools are rather expensive. I'd like to know that I'm getting a valuable education for the money.

    Are there chefs out there with some educational advice for an aspiring chef? Any and all information is greatly appreciated. :):)
     
  2. Keniff macrumors 6502a

    Keniff

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    #2
    A close friend of mine went here for 2 or 3 years, and the standard is very high...

    http://www.ciachef.edu/


    I hope this helps and good luck ;)
     
  3. Kamera RAWr thread starter macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

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    #3
    Well, at least we got that out of the way right away ;)
     
  4. Keniff macrumors 6502a

    Keniff

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    #4
    Well, another option (which would be a very brave/challenging one) is to write to your favorite chef/restaurant, either in the states or europe.
    Ask if you could go and work with him/her for minimum wage, maybe even learn the local language.
    This will show courage and dedication from the heart, you will also be getting actual work experience and knowledge, which is something that you won't get until after your college course.
    You'll be thrown in the deep end, and even though you might not get some certificate at the end of it, you'll save yourself a lot of money and gain a lot of respect, being a student to somebody that's very highly respected within that field of work.
     
  5. Kamera RAWr thread starter macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

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    #5
    But usually most people... go to culinary school, don't they? ;)
     
  6. Signal-11 macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

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    #6
    I like to idly fantasize about doing this. Just quitting my job and learning how to be a chef instead.

    From what I understand, most of these programs include the apprenticeship aspect and a large bulk of the education is on-the-job training in a brigade kitchen. I've heard you have to finish the program and a reasonably prestigious institute before you can even get your foot in the door at the lowest levels for the most renowned kitchens.

    I'm sure there's a long line of guys who've already finished at the CIA who'd kill to work at the French Laundry. Maybe that's why Horst from Ratatouille served time in prison.
     
  7. iPhil macrumors 68040

    iPhil

    #7
    I would have a look @ this


    The last time I checked on tuition cost etc for the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) NY Campus was $25K (US) cost per year.. (that was 10 years ago) :eek: ... And they said they had a 96% Job placement rate after graduation..
     
  8. Boneoh macrumors 6502

    Boneoh

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    #8
    My daughter is finishing up at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. They've had an excellent program for many years. They've spent a lot of money on new buildings, equipment, etc. Might be worth checking it out, depending upon the commute or relocation options. OCC is very inexpensive, since it is a community college.

    Good luck!
     
  9. designgeek macrumors 65816

    designgeek

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    I looked into this recently but with four years in the service industry I realized that it's extremely hard to make a decent amount of money. My friend Tyler went to The New England Culinary Institute and he's amazing, he graduated at the top of his class. Most of the really good ones will cost about $50k for an associates and twice that for a bachelors degree which not many offer. When I was looking into the CIA it was between 26k and 29k a year and the same employment rate as previously posted. One issue is that when you get out you'll probably become a sous chef which means lots of work probably around 60 hours and low pay for a few years which makes the loans a tough issue if you go that route. It really depends on where you end up, some cities are better than others.

    Johnson and Whales is not that great from what I've heard but they have so many students that it's hard to really tell. There's one in San Francisco and I've heard that it was ok until they became a for profit business and things went down hill. The CIA has a certificate program that you can get in the Napa Valley but as my friend Tyler says "The CIA is really training you to become a celebrity chef. They teach about getting cook book deals and what not." Which given the dynasty they established on Top Chef seems almost appropriate. He said he just wanted to be a good cook so he went to NECI.
     
  10. Kamera RAWr thread starter macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

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    #10
    What difference, if any, is there between a community/trade colleges with programs in the culinary arts and these so-called "Culinary Arts" schools? Other than the obvious price difference.
     
  11. Frisco macrumors 68020

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    #11
    Yeah Culinary Arts schools are a big rip-off. Either you can cook or you can't. What you don't know you can learn on your own.

    Either way you won't me making a lot of money. Unfortunately the cooking shows (Food Network) make it seem like a great career, but to be honest it's not.

    Sorry.

    ps: Did you ever eat at a great restaurant and ask, "Where did the chef go to school?"
     
  12. Kamera RAWr thread starter macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

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    #12
    To be honest, I never watch any of those cooking shows or the food network. The only show I watch and enjoy that is sorta cooking related is Kitchen Nightmares.

    I really would like to learn to cook better and gain a skill/trade. Something that one can do anywhere in the world if he's good at what he does.

    I'm not into making a lot of money, I would however like to make a decent living, of course.
     
  13. designgeek macrumors 65816

    designgeek

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    The thing about those schools is that they have a reputation, and that is everything in the food service industry. You'll be wishing for the 96% placement rate when you graduate with $50-100k of student loan debt.
     
  14. Randman macrumors 65816

    Randman

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    #14
    Read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. Especially the last chapter: So, you want to be a chef?
     
  15. NoSmokingBandit macrumors 68000

    NoSmokingBandit

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    #15
    If you know how to cook and the basic rules of food safety then Culinary School will be a breeze. You'll pick up a few skills, but most of it just comes down to personal talent. Go work for a restaurant for a while instead of jumping into school. You may find that being in the workplace with realworld experience will get you a good job quicker than going to school and being told everything you already know.
     
  16. Kamera RAWr thread starter macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

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    #16
    Well, NECI is pretty much around the same price as the CIA. Did your friend find the price NECI to be worth it? Is he doing well enough professionally that he doesn't mind the investment he made? I've been looking in to NECI as well and it appears to be a nice school although rather expensive as most of the culinary arts schools are.

    I have read his book. Quite an interesting read and even having read that, I'm still interested in being a chef. Why on earth would people find that book discouraging? I think he just doesn't want more culinary school grads that think the world owes them something... and doesn't want them to be lazy unlike the Latin American chefs out there that he praises and rightly so.
     

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