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« Best Food Writing 2007 (a book) re-Publishes Shuna Lydon! | Main | Knife Skills Class: NYC June 21 »

09 May 2007

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Brava, Shuna, for truth. Labor needs to come out of the closet at long last in the US. What we do is work, demanding work and is only really learned on the job, no matter how many principles can be learned in the classroom.

If TV cameras can make commercial fishing look glamorous...

Reading articles like this just makes me want to cry. What is the world coming to? So much in life has just become greedy and devoid of personal satisfaction. The uninformed are preyed upon by everyone looking for an opportunity to make a buck, putting them into a worse place than they were to begin with.

"Higher Education" itself seems to be out of control. So much time spent charging people a fortune to read out of an overpriced book by an expert, when they could be learning so much more by being out in the world working and solving real problems.

Marco Pierre White's statement (the era of the cook is gone, young chefs don't want to be chefs, just celebrities) has been reiterated constantly of late. That's just BS! I'm not saying that idea hasn't attracted a lot of cooks to the kitchen, but if that's your reason for being there, there is no way you will last. The work is simply too hard to continue doing if food isn't in your soul.
I'm just sick of hearing "gone are the good ole days," whether that be in reference to the kitchen, sexual values, moral standards or anything else your grandma or an older chef might object to.
Okee dokee...I'll get off my soap box.

Back on my soapbox...
Shuna! I have another pie (cherry, peach, vanilla bean) in the oven. I'm going to fail my finals because of you!!! I'm only half-kidding.

Shuna, Lindy's (of Toast) daughter, redfox, shared this tip on how you can make a permalink of the article in your post:

Look over to the right-hand side of the article, where it says

E-Mail
Print
Reprints
Save
Share

Click "Share". Then click "Permalink", and you'll get a pop-up window containing a URL that will continue to lead directly to the full article, even after it's been archived: "To link to this article from your blog, copy and paste the url below into your blog or homepage. Using this link will ensure access to the article, even after it becomes part of the NYT archive."

Lynn D-- GREAT comment! Hopefully all will see this as they attempt to access it in the future!

the prefect permalink unfortunately just takes me back to your comments and nowhere near the NYT?

Sam,

I was just now brought to the sign-in page for the Times and the actual article for the Chronicle. But it appears that Typepad is a bit wonky at the moment... perhaps try again later?

I am beginning culinary school in the fall. I knew I wanted to do a baking and pastry program. I was looking at French Culinary Institute in NYC. I'm 36 and making a career change (back to cooking, mind you) so the fast program was great. The price tag was about equal to one year's HR salary. No thanks. I already have a BA and have nearly paid off $20K in student loans with the gracious help of my parents. I knew they'd probably offer to help, but they are paying for my brother to go to New England Culinary Institute and get his BA for a price tag of ~$60K. I feel pretty strongly that I want to go to school before I begin working in B&P.

So what do I do? I decided to go to community college. Here in NC, several of our community colleges have not only culinary programs, but dedicated B&P programs as well. Yes, it will take me 2 years, and again, I'm 36. It's not ideal but here are the perks....

-Fall tuition cost me $670. I've already paid for it.
-During the 2 year program, I need an internship. But I also have tons of time to work while I'm in school! I'll come out of school with essentially 2 years experience, much more than other grads who might have 1 or 2 internships of ~750 hours each. No, I won't be a "chef" but I'll be a heck of a lot closer than a CIA grad because of my experience.
-The entire program will cost less than $5K including my living expenses.
-My school has the same accreditation that the private schools have.

Would this work for someone in, say, rural Misourri? Perhaps not. I live in the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina. Living expenses are low. North Carolina has been a national leader in community college education. We have an incredible foodie community in the area, including a few James Beard Award nominated chefs and pastry chefs. We've got some great bakeries and patisseries. I'm really lucky I am where I am.

I guess my point is this...don't forget community college. Seriously. Petit fours are petit fours, demi-glace is demi-glace, whether you make it in a classroom in Hyde Park, NY or Raleigh, NC. If you are willing to accept the hard truth that you will not graduate and instantly be a chef, that culinary school is a training springboard, community college just might be for you. The price tag is certainly more attractive.

(Now, I should also note that my brother got his second internship at Manresa in Los Gatos and it turned into a real job. He's been there a year and loves it. Could he have had that opportunity had he gone to Wake Tech rather than NECI? I don't know. We'll see where I go when I'm done.)


Meg:

Hope you are doing well in culinary school. I am looking into the French Culinary Institute in NYC because of the 9 month baking and pastry program. The 40k price tag is enormous, almost my yearly salary-ouch!! My local community college offers a culinary degree at about $8k, which is better. During the past three months, I have gained excellent experience at a well respected restaurant in a resort area-NJ. I love the work! I asked the chef about culinary school and he said it is a waste, as he does not hire culinary students! However, I know what the job entails and how to work hard-I worked long hours in retail, handled cutomer complaints, and worked many holidays. Any further advice?

Best blog ever for culinary professionals, I love the "What is a sous chef." Excellent Writing. I believe that your passion for cooking drives you to survive in this industry, if you can still get goosebumps every time you put out a great plate than your in the right career. I am a Sous Chef in Iowa of all places and love it everyday. Thomas Keller is a hero to all people culinary and anyone that can work in his kitchen, if even for one day is priveliged. I understand his discipline, his father was a USMC drill instructor and TK lived on Camp Pendleton during his youth. Few people will ever put it to use as well as he has though.

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