Monday, October 31, 2011

A Culinary School Rant

How do I put this?  I've been to culinary school, graduated, and paid off all my student loans.  I have an Associates of Applied Sciences pertaining to the culinary arts.  But had I been told that I could get the same education by working in the field, buying a set of decent knives, and a bunch of industry cookbooks for a fraction of the price...  I would have gotten a degree in accounting at a community college and just worked in the field. And I'd most likely have been to France by now to boot.  Probably be driving a mercedes too.

So, I guess I want to say is...

...fuck culinary schools.

There.  I've said it.  While I'm at it, the ACF sucks too.  Too many kids go through culinary arts programs, while being told that they're bonafide chefs upon graduation.  Bullshit.  I remember an old school-er telling me to work for 3 years as a cook or chef de partie, another 5 as a sous chef and only after 10 years... or when I felt ready, take a job as an executive chef.  I'm 32.  Do the math.  But too many kids with rich parents and/or trust funds open places or take these jobs after working at one or two good places, and then crash & burn after only a short period of time.  Kinda crashes your credibility when people you want to work for have been burned by this type of tongue-in-cheek "chef".

And currently it seems that overall menus have been dumbed down to become idiot proof, thus making the better trained line cook something most restauranteurs can't afford!  Any shoemaker can make pesto in a blender or reduce cream for an easy sauce.  Not to mention all of the quality store bought prepared products you can buy though most vendors.  I feel that I'm from a dying breed.  Think I'm being melodramatic?  How many good fine dining French or Italian restaurants still exist, atleast in the Chicagoland market?  Name 'em.  Are they still turning out real chefs that are opening new places?  Think about it a bit.  With fine dining growing increasingly smaller here, where do all the culinary students go?

Effing nowhere.  And they don't train them well enough to succeed in the business side of the industry.  Out of the last 15 cooks I've seen come out of culinary school, saying one might make it is being too generous.  However, out of the last 15 immigrants I've seen, most will probably work 10 times harder than the other 14 students without ever going to culinary school.

Do the math.

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