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  #1  
Old 12-17-2005, 02:45 PM
geormiet geormiet is offline
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Default culinary school

I play poker, but since I only play about 25 hours a week or so I have a lot of time to do other things as well. Right now I'm traveling in Costa Rica and taking spanish classes during the days.

When I go back to the states (in a few months, years, not sure) I'm toying with the idea of going to culinary school. Not because I want a career in the food industry (it's not entirely out of the question), but because I think pursuing it would be enjoyable.

My background:
I'm 25 years old, and I have a couple of degrees from good schools which I don't use. I've never had any experience in the food industry whatsoever, and no formal training. I've always loved cooking, however, and have an appreciation for good food. In the long term future I'm hoping to find a way to use my money to replace my dependance on poker, and owning a restaurant is one of my pipe dreams.


What kind of school would accept me? What kind of school should I be looking for? What kind of prices should I expect to pay? What kind of people would I be taking classes with?

Appreciate anyone with any experience or knowledge in this area who want to sharing their advice with me.
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  #2  
Old 12-17-2005, 03:15 PM
MarkL444 MarkL444 is offline
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Location: East Lansing, MI
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Default Re: culinary school

i think it would be cooler if you learned how to cook there.
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  #3  
Old 12-17-2005, 04:31 PM
samjjones samjjones is offline
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Default Re: culinary school

Perhaps CSC can chime in here, but owning a restaurant is hard, hard, hard, hard, hard work. Becoming a line cook or sous chef or something is definitely more realistic. Hours blow big-time, though.
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  #4  
Old 12-17-2005, 04:55 PM
LittleOldLady LittleOldLady is offline
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Posts: 72
Default Re: culinary school

[ QUOTE ]
I play poker, but since I only play about 25 hours a week or so I have a lot of time to do other things as well. Right now I'm traveling in Costa Rica and taking spanish classes during the days.

When I go back to the states (in a few months, years, not sure) I'm toying with the idea of going to culinary school. Not because I want a career in the food industry (it's not entirely out of the question), but because I think pursuing it would be enjoyable.

My background:
I'm 25 years old, and I have a couple of degrees from good schools which I don't use. I've never had any experience in the food industry whatsoever, and no formal training. I've always loved cooking, however, and have an appreciation for good food. In the long term future I'm hoping to find a way to use my money to replace my dependance on poker, and owning a restaurant is one of my pipe dreams.


What kind of school would accept me? What kind of school should I be looking for? What kind of prices should I expect to pay? What kind of people would I be taking classes with?

Appreciate anyone with any experience or knowledge in this area who want to sharing their advice with me.

[/ QUOTE ]

Delgado Community College in food-obsessed New Orleans has a culinary arts program which is highly regarded. Since it's a community college based program, it is both affordable and accessible. In addition, if you are interested in learning restaurant management, the University of New Orleans has a well-regarded hotel, restaurant, and tourism program, again affordable and accessible. You could get a degree in HRT fairly quickly by enrolling in a "second degree" program--where your initial degree(s) would cover all the foundational/distributional requirements, and you would just need the courses in the HRT major--or of course you could just take the individual courses that interest you.

There is of course the obvious problem that at the moment most of New Orleans is a wasteland. However, both UNO and Delgado will be returning to their main campuses in January (their satellite and online components were operational in the fall). The great restaurants are gradually reopening, and they do need staff and will need staff, as their personnel were scattered to the winds. New Orleans has a restaurant culture unlike any place else in North America--and I would say superior to any place else in North AMerica with the possible exception of New York. (This is a city where kids collected 'great chef' trading cards--in
addition to baseball cards.)

It is a great place to learn and practice the culinary arts, and although New Orleans is definitely not at her best at the moment, in a sense people who go there now will be getting in on the ground floor, so to speak. If you are planning to pursue this idea starting in the fall, rather than in January, things should be substantially improved in the city.

I would suggest contacting Delgado and UNO to ascertain what they will be offering when.
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  #5  
Old 12-17-2005, 06:21 PM
RunDownHouse RunDownHouse is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 165
Default Re: culinary school

My good friend dropped out of KU his sophomore year to go to the CIA. He says its definitely the best decision he's ever made. After graduation, he worked at BLT in NYC and over in France for 3 months and he is now at Cornell in their food science program.

If I remember correctly, the CIA is the best school in the country, followed by one in San Francisco. I have no idea how much he paid. You'd be taking classes with a pretty varied group of people. Some kids right out of high school, some people looking for a second career, some people like you.

You might want to PM CSC a link to this thread, he'd give you the scoop on CIA.
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  #6  
Old 12-17-2005, 06:25 PM
geormiet geormiet is offline
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Posts: 19
Default Re: culinary school

Ok thanks for the replies, I'll pm CSC.
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  #7  
Old 12-17-2005, 07:14 PM
turnipmonster turnipmonster is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 511
Default Re: culinary school

a lot of this may not apply to you, but if you are thinking of working as a cook and or opening a place:

opening a restaurant is generally a really really bad idea. it is an extra bad idea for someone that doesn't have a lot of experience working in restaurants.

I really recommend working in a kitchen if you think you want to get into cooking professionally. the hours really suck, pay is very low and it's hard (but fun) work.

I am not really up on the whole CIA thing but my gut instinct is having a degree without any work experience is probably worthless in terms of getting a cooking job.

also, read "kitchen confidential" if you haven't already. he paints a very realistic picture of what the restaurant business is like, and kitchen staff culture in general.

--turnipmonster
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  #8  
Old 12-17-2005, 07:46 PM
CardSharpCook CardSharpCook is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: South of Heaven
Posts: 746
Default Re: culinary school

Geormiet, I'm excited about your interest, but you've got to ask yourself just how serious you are. For instance, Delgado Community College. I lived and worked in NO for a year and had the pleasure of working with several Delgado students/grads. Here's what you should know about that school: It is not classroom intensive. You have only 1 (or 2?) days of classes a week, but you are required to get a 4 day a week job. Your employer will likely ask you to work a 40 hour week. On top of school, that means working 6-7 days a week, 50-60 hours. However, the price is right (I'd guess around 6K per semester?).

I loved the CIA. However, it is also time intensive and expensive. My education cost $48000. That was a 2 year programe and the price includes housing. It is the best culinary school in the world, and I can't say enough about the quality of my chef/instructors, classmates, facilities, and my education. The CIA is the only selective culinary school in america (admits about 70%) as it is the only non-profit culinary school (community colleges aside). They also offer a 38th month degree that tacks on a 17month BA program which is mainly liberal arts classes and some business management classes geared towards running your own restaurant. The CIA requires that you work in a professional kitchen for 6months prior to acceptance.

Most culinary schools will cost btwn 24K-50K, but you'll want to do research. For quality of education, there is no Harvard to the CIA's Yale. Your Emorys, Vanderbilts, USCs, and Tulanes are New England Culinary Academy, California Culinary Academy (San Fransisco), and Johnson and Wales. The Le Cordon Bleu program is also good, and has schools in a half dozen cities.

Becoming a professional cook requires dedication. First, you must love not just cooking, but working in a professional kitchen. However, you mention owning your own restaurant. Going to school to learn cooking basics and working in a professional kitchen is an excellent idea. You want to know what your Head Chef is doing, and know if he can be saving you money in some places, etc.

Your 3 questions: Good school will cost $40K+. Students at ANY school will be highly committed, passionate people ranging in age from 18-60 with a tilt towards 18-22. Culinary schools, other than the CIA accept any student with the money or the loans to get in who also meet work experience requirements (in some cases). I would recommend the top teir of schools which will give you 5days of classes 7 hours a day.

Hope this helps you decide if this is an idle dream or something you'd like to pursue.
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  #9  
Old 12-17-2005, 07:52 PM
CardSharpCook CardSharpCook is offline
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Default Re: culinary school

Yes, the pay sucks. 8-$15 an hour. Even head chef jobs don't necessarily pay well. Hours... well, some people like working 3-12 instead of 9-5. Owning your own restaurant can be very time demanding and very risky. I think some 50% restaurants fail in the first year and 80% fail in 5 years. ANYONE can walk into nearly any kitchen and get a cooking job.
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  #10  
Old 12-17-2005, 08:40 PM
LittleOldLady LittleOldLady is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 72
Default Re: culinary school

[ QUOTE ]
Geormiet, I'm excited about your interest, but you've got to ask yourself just how serious you are. For instance, Delgado Community College. I lived and worked in NO for a year and had the pleasure of working with several Delgado students/grads. Here's what you should know about that school: It is not classroom intensive. You have only 1 (or 2?) days of classes a week, but you are required to get a 4 day a week job. Your employer will likely ask you to work a 40 hour week. On top of school, that means working 6-7 days a week, 50-60 hours. However, the price is right (I'd guess around 6K per semester?).


[/ QUOTE ]

In-state tuition and fees at Delgado are roughly $800/semester. Out-of-state tuition and fees come to about $2300/semester. Living expenses in New Orleans are iffy at the moment because of the Katrina housing shortage. They used to be fairly cheap. Rental costs will ease as repairs are made. UNO's tuition and fees are somewhat higher, but not that much. Delgado and UNO will both be open on their main campuses in January, and Delgado is offering its culinary arts program.

While Delgado's program is not of the caliber of the Culinary Institute of America (no other program is), it is also not even remotely as expensive. It also has the advantage of placing its work-study students in some of the finest professional kitchens in the country, working with and under some of the finest professional cooks in the country. I am given to understand that the right mentorship could mean a lot in the development of a culinary career.
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