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Old 09-08-2009, 03:19 PM   #1
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Location: Knoxville, TN
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Advice Regarding Culinary Schools

Greetings to everyone, first time poster to this forum.

My question pertains to a formal culinary education. I'm 43 and have been a serious cooking enthusiast for many years. I have been thinking about a side business, or maybe full time if it evolved to that level, regarding cooking classes and low level (non-accredited) cooking education. I want to seriously expand my current culinary knowledge plus gain some sort of pedigree so that the business would have some recognized credibility. I have been thinking about getting a culinary degree and have the means to pay for it and study/attend full time.

Do any graduates and/or current attendees have recommendations or advice on which programs provide the best value? Is a formal culinary education worthwhile? What opinions do you all have regarding culinary schools?

I live in east TN but could easily attend a school several hours in any direction. Thanks for any insight you can provide.

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Old 09-08-2009, 03:26 PM   #2
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culinary education should include education in food safety, sanitation, etc. and is very important for anyone going into a food business. As to what is best in your area?

There are many name brands: CIA, Johnson and Wales, Cordon Bleu, Arts Institute, etc. But many colleges and universities also run fine culinary arts programs. So the research you do in your area will really determine where you go, not me telling you.

Good luck and enjoy.
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:27 PM   #3
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Those that Robo mentioned are very good schools indeed. I myself have attended three different ones for three different reasons.
I suggest as Robo said to research the ones near you. Some programs teach front of the house management as well as back of the house as well as cooking techniques. Most programs also teach food safety as well and that is a bonus anywhere.
We have a top notch professional chef here at DC by the name of Mark Webster. Might I suggest introducing yourself to him in a PM and asking his advise?
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:40 AM   #4
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Thanks so much for the advice. I had never thought of checking the local university. Turns out they have a very affordable culinary program which gives a "certificate of culinary arts" once completed. It's a 10 month program, with 10 units to complete. Each unit is 32 hours of class time (twice weekly, 4 hours each, for 4 weeks). Looks like they cover all the basics. I'm not sure what a certificate of culinary arts is and how it compares to an associates degree or a bachelors from one of the other schools. Any thoughts?

The lead to Mark Webster was very helpful and I will contact him, thanks.
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:31 AM   #5
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Good luck Tn and stick with us and let us know how it's coming along. We have another member here who's in school as we speak and I'm always glad to hear how she's getting on. Very proud of her!
*nudge,nudge, wink, wink to luvs*
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:40 AM   #6
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From what I understand, the certificate is a one-year (give or take) program that covers cooking, and kitchen management, whereas an associates and then bachelors includes many general education requirements. I guess it's all about what type of knowledge and certification levels you'd want and could use. I started an associates in a community college, but will not go back (for a variety of reasons), mostly due to a foot issue that came up while there and working as a prep cook. If I were to continue on to any sort of certification at this point, i would go the personal chef route. There are a couple of associations out there, one linked with ACF (? not sure of order of terms)...
I had everything but an internship and North American Cuisine for the certificate by the end of last year. CARES certificate, and ServSafe. Took purchasing, cost control, supervision, bar and bev., etc... Valuable classes. I have very little background in actually working in food service.
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