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Culinary school dilemma

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Scintillation, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. Scintillation

    Scintillation New Member

    Well I'll have a couple of days off from work each week, and classes are just 4 hours a day monday-friday. And I don't work at the bakery anymore, I just have a retail sales job. I had both for a year but working 14 hour days where you can look like crap at one job but have to look super nice and trendy at the other was getting to be too much. The retail job offered me a full time manager position with a raise and benefits so I took it and quit the bakery.
    I'd rather work 14 hour days with the option to look like shit the whole day. Makes life easier.
  2. Flatfoote

    Flatfoote Active Member

    You mentioned how the food industry in your area is just taking off. You can be a part of that growth, and that can be exciting.
  3. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins Well-Known Member

    My DD is an Exec Chef. She went to Johnson & Wales University in NC. This was her career choice and even the NYC college advisors recommended JWU or other colleges with culinary programs rather than CIA or FCI. The logic was, if you're spending that much money on education, you should receive a college degree (AA/BA) when you're done. You can always take a few classes at CIA or FCI in your specialty, which is what several JWU Pastry&Baking alumnas have done for bread. My DD's friends have said that they were better prepared for the FCI classes than the students who were enrolled in the programs.

    Disney's internship program is incredible, but there's tremendous competition for the few open slots. Their veterans rave about the experience since it's used as a training program. They all said they learned far more in that program than they would have just by being free labor at a local place. Many of the restaurant and hotel chains offer benefits to their staff, some including even tuition reimbursement, so you can save money by working there and going to school part-time.

    In terms of the Manhattan restaurants, they hire the cheapest labor they can get and they work them as hard as they can, but they're so focused on the bottom line that there isn't much you can do to grow as an entry-level chef. You wouldn't be missing much by attending the local program and interning in a growing area. It sounds like a dynamic, grassroots opportunity.

    Just my 2ยข

    I'm a third-gen native NYC resident and every time I go back to visit, I remember why we moved away. The whole "Manhattan=NYC" experience is pretty overrated, imo, but there are some people on this board who love living there. My cousin's kids all moved to Manhattan after college, living in apartments the size of their bedrooms at home, but they love the experience. You could do the local program and reward yourself after finishing by trying the NYC scene for a few months and taking a few course at FIA. If it doesn't work out, move back to your current area.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012
  4. Scintillation

    Scintillation New Member

    I thought it would be great to live there for a couple of years, but no way did I want to stay there forever. And the school here is offering an associates degree, so I'm doing that rather than just a certificate. I do have a bachelors in music already, which hopefully will come into use and get me out of doing all the gen ed classes they require. I know, shocking. How could I not want to take english, psychology, and math again?

    Actually when I think about it, the noise and the crowds was starting to get to me after being there for only a week. Oh, the places to eat though. I would've been broke after 2 weeks of living there.
  5. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

    Eh, you'd probably get over it quickly enough when the rent comes due. My friend, a NYC culinary school graduate who isn't working behind a line because who the hell can make their rent working behind a line in NYC, lives in Manhattan and quite often comes back after having dropped $200 on a meal and laments "Why did I bother? I could have done a better job in my own kitchen for a lot less money."

    In other words he has the spiritual satisfaction of having completed culinary school and has plenty of debt to show for it, but a kitchen job? Nope. Can't afford to pay his NYC rent on those wages. Those days are gone and they ain't coming back. This area of the country is ridiculously and prohibitively expensive. It's over, baby.

    And that whole "cat on the head" thing? You can see that anywhere. You can also see Starbucks anywhere.
  6. Scintillation

    Scintillation New Member

    After all that agonizing last week I'm actually pretty excited to stay here now. My friend and I are already talking about being roommates (soo much cheaper to split the rent in half), there's plenty of awesome places to do internships, and I can keep my full-time job. And the cost of living is lower! And maybe (probably not) we can get a dog! Not likely, but the dream is there! And oh! I get to do some serious looking at Ikea! Not too much buying, but I will be looking.
  7. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins Well-Known Member

    Bravo! I hope everything goes smoothly.
  8. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    Sounds like a plan! You do NOT need to be in NYC to have a real career in cooking.
  9. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

    True, but no need to give up on the dream entirely. When I was a teen I dreamed of living in NY, and it took me until I was 40 (bit harder when you are not an American citizen). It was a crazy risk at the time, but living and working in NY for 3 years was a fabulous experience I'll always be glad I had.