A Question For The Wilton Instructors Out There...

Decorating By sahrow Updated 4 Feb 2009 , 2:25pm by sahrow

sahrow Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 7:11pm
post #1 of 16

I've been fighting being offended (not extremely offended though icon_biggrin.gif )... so I'll ask in this somewhat safe environment. I know y'all are nice and will let me know if I'm "out there".

Are Wilton instructors required to have students take class 1 before any other classes?

I signed up in one of the craft stores ( in TX... about a year ago) for Wilton class 3. I looked at the student book for 1 & 2 and knew I wanted class 3. I've been decorating over 20 years. I have a "cake decorating" certificate from a culinary program (not Wilton, though) icon_biggrin.gif

Soo... I walked into the first class and the instructor questioned my worthiness to be there. "I've never seen you before... Have you taken class 1 &2?" (I explained why I as there.. with a nice friendly smile). She quickly warmed up to me once she saw that I *do* have skills. I do several techniques different than the wilton method. She became very interested in how I do some things. She even had me stay after class to show her some things. icon_eek.gif At the end of the classes, we talked and she said I could come in any time she has a class and help out if I want. I'm a lefty. She said it is hard to teach lefties. *lol* I showed her a way to make it easier.

Now I've moved to another state... and want to take the gumpaste and fondant class... so I went looking for another instructor at the same store chain. Guess what? This instructor didn't want me in her gumpaste/ fondant class because I haven't taken class 1. I've taken class 3 *and* have a certificate from a non Wilton source, and she still insists that class 1 is necessary. She seemed shocked that another instructor had even let me into class 3. I don't think I'll be taking her class. icon_rolleyes.gif

I ended up calling another craft store in town, and their Wilton instructor took less than 2 minutes of talking about my skill level to tell me she'd be happy to have me in her gumpaste/fondant class. This is what I expected from the others. Is this instructor going against the "rules"? or is it just the way wilton instructors are trained (ie. do the calsses in order)?

If you got a call from someone like me, would you let me in your gumpaste/fondant class? Or should I have just done what I did in TX- sign up and show up? Would it bother you if I did that and you were the instructor? (I was trying to avoid what happened the last time since it seemed to fluster the instructor)


15 replies
Eisskween Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 7:22pm
post #2 of 16

I am not an instructor, but in the classes I took, some of the ladies were jumping around. A couple of newbies didn't take 1, 2, or 3 and jumped right into gumpaste and fondant and did great with it. I guess it all depends on the store, but you can take any course you want in any order you want here. I am in London, Ontario.

lilmansmum Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 7:22pm
post #3 of 16

I am a WMI. We are supposed to recommend that Course 1 be taken first, and then any of the others after that can be taken in any order. Now, I have had students come to me and ask if they can skip Course 1 because they already have the basic skills. And I have said, 'sure, no problem...' and they've gone on to take Course 2 or whatever. For example, I had a student who decorates cakes for Walmart. Obviously, she had the basic skills down. But she wanted to learn how to do more advanced flowers and stuff, so she signed up for my course 2, without taking Course 1. I can't imagine why an instructor would make a big deal out of it. You've obviously got the basics down....no need to take Course 1.

annacakes Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 7:31pm
post #4 of 16

Hi. Have my Master Cake Decorator Cert., 10 years experience and been a WMI for 5 years. Policy differs from store to store but in Canada I think we are supposed to at least have you go thru CI first.

However, my store management has usually left it up to me to decide if a student needs to take Course I. Once I spend a few minutes on the phone with someone, I can tell if they could skip CI and tell the store to go ahead and sign them up. You can gain a good indication of their experience by asking a few simple questions.

That said, I HAVE had students talk the store into letting them take CII or CIII without CI because " I've worked in a bakery for 3 years". Turns out they made cookies or pie dough and haven't the faintest idea what tip 47 is for or how to load the piping bag properly. These students usually don't enjoy themselves in CII or CIII. Wilton likes to see CI done so that the students are at least prepared with the basics, understand the terminology etc.

Also, when an instructor has to take time to explain the basics to one student while the others sit...well, you see what I mean.

Enjoy FG&P. You will find repetition on the fondant but will enjoy the GP flowers.


allcake247 Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 7:37pm
post #5 of 16

Hi, I'm a Wilton method instructor. Course 1 is the only course that is required to be taken before the other courses. Wilton instructors are required to tell students, before they take any of the other courses, they must complete Course1 first. Dont know why. Although, you may know all the basics that Course 1 teaches, you still have to go through it. Those instructors who let these people in could get in trouble with the Wilton company. Before I became a Wilton instructor, you must have completed all 4 courses to become one. I was bored stiff going through the courses until the final Fondant/Gumpaste course.

eldag0615 Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 7:39pm
post #6 of 16

Hi, I took Wilton class 2,3 and gumpaste/fondant without taking I @ a Michaels . I explained to my instructor that I had taken class 1 loooooong time ago in Mexico, but it was unofficialy, a one on one class, and had been practicing by making cakes for friends and family and she graciously accepted me in class 2.

Eisskween Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 7:43pm
post #7 of 16

I didn't have any prior experience. So I took the classes in order. I wish they had more classes around my area to take. I miss the classes and socializing with the ladies once a week. They do have cookies and cupcakes, but I have been doing cookies since I was a child and hate them. And cupcakes are just smaller cakes and the examples seemed pretty basic.

I have to look into the local colleges and see if they offer anything. Thank you for jump starting my brain with this thread!

Enjoy your day!

eldag0615 Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 7:46pm
post #8 of 16

You took the words out of my mouth Eiskween !
I miss the classes, and the ladies, and I have been talking to my family and doing research in some area colleges but have found nothing that I like. There is to become a chef, but I don't want to be a chef, I want some classes about pastry and cake decorating, but no luck in my local colleges. icon_cry.gif

sahrow Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 8:32pm
post #9 of 16
Originally Posted by rubyrjohnson

Hi, I'm a Wilton method instructor. Course 1 is the only course that is required to be taken before the other courses. Wilton instructors are required to tell students, before they take any of the other courses, they must complete Course1 first. Dont know why. Although, you may know all the basics that Course 1 teaches, you still have to go through it. Those instructors who let these people in could get in trouble with the Wilton company. Before I became a Wilton instructor, you must have completed all 4 courses to become one. I was bored stiff going through the courses until the final Fondant/Gumpaste course.

Thanks rubyrjohnson... Is this in the rulebook? (must take 1) Other wilton instructors have mentioned different opinions in this thread. I'm trying to get it organized in my mind so I'm not offended... if it is in the rules that instructors have to require c1 (I can't be offended with someone who is following the rules). I wonder if it isn't that they (wilton) make more money if people take more classes? ie... you want to take class 3? well, pay for class 1 first!

I really didn't aim to get anyone in trouble (I think that a good instructor can recognize a particiapnt's needs and accomidate them)... and I don't want to be a wilton instructor. icon_smile.gif I just find it hard to believe that someone who stood in a commercial kitchen type bakery classroom setting standing around big stainless steel counters learning from a nonwilton pro decorator would be sub-par. Granted, I don't do the painfully slow wilton reverse shell, but mine is pretty darn good- and as I was taught. I also think it might be counterproduictive to have someone in a class who is very advanced with someone who has never held a bag. I wouldn't want to be a novice sitting next to someone who can slap on whatever is being taught in no time while I sat and struggled for 15 min. to get something that looked like a child did it.

I'm going to add another question to this... since there are Wilton instructors who are "listening"... is there a class for making figures out of gumpaste? Flowers are ok... but I want to learn how to make the cool figures. icon_cool.gif

Thanks everyone for the responses! I'm feeling less offended...lol.

allcake247 Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 8:59pm
post #10 of 16

First I must correct myself. You must complete Course 1 before taking the Gumpaste/Fondant class, this is the only class that requires that. You can take the other classes if you dont want to take Course 1. I dont know of any figure making classes. I've learned from CC most of what little I do about making little kittens, bears, etc.

Carolynlovescake Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 9:32pm
post #11 of 16

I'm a WMI and I'm chiming in.

It's a "rule" that a student must take C1 before all others but one I was clearly told I could bend at my own discretion.

Honestly, I'm not going to make a 20 year vet spend money on a class they don't need. It's stupid, makes me look greedy for students and a paycheck, and upsets the potential student. Over all it's a huge turn off and no one wins.

I do let them know if they are confused, behind, or jsut feel like they need C1 after all I am more than happy to help them get signed up for one the next month.

Michael's has a new policy starting this month that we must have 4 students to hold a course so if a C1 that is cancelled wants to transfer to another one of my courses to make a full class let them, especially the 4th course, Fondant and Gumpaste. There is ZERO reason anyone needs C1 to do that class.

My Wilton supervisor knows I don't make C1 mandatory and has no issue with it.

If anyone skips C1 and can't make the "wonderful" class buttercream I have them use the Wilton canned icing for C2, L1 and C3 L1 so missing C1 isn't going to fail you in those courses. We hand out certificates regardless of if you do the techniques or not.

So if anyone gives you bleh for not taking C1 then come to Oregon and I'll have a chair ready for you! thumbs_up.gif

Eisskween Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 9:33pm
post #12 of 16

As far as making figures go, I went to the clay/sculpting section of Michaels and purchased books on makine polymer clay figures. There are lots of them out there and they have step-by-step instructions.

Also, if you go to Youtube.com and search clay figure sculpting, or polymer clay sculpting, a whole bunch will come up. Or even gumpaste animals. There is a wonderful lady on here, I think her name is Anaine2 or something like that, that has videos on there on sculpting various items. They are wonderful. And of course, with the flowers, my favorite, Tonedna. She rocks with flowers and her cakes are works of art. Shhhh! She's my idol! LOL icon_biggrin.gif

tonedna Posted 3 Feb 2009 , 9:51pm
post #13 of 16

I am a WMI...I dont make it a requirement if the person has a background already making cakes.

annacakes Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 1:53am
post #14 of 16

Instructions for many of the figures can be found in the middle pages of the Wilton Yearbooks. You can use those as your basis and go on from there!

sweetkisscakes Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 4:34am
post #15 of 16

Here are a few questions for all the WMI's out there. I am hoping to become a WMI. How do you like it? I would like to take the wilton master course before i apply to be a wmi. If any of you have taken that how did you like it? Is it all very basic or is it worth the money. Also how do you get paid for being a WMI if you dn't mind me asking.

sahrow Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 2:25pm
post #16 of 16

Thank you all for your responses! I'm feeling much better about this now.

What I learned is that if you can, it is good to "shop around" for an instructor. Some folks are more rigid with rules and others just want the participants to have a good experience. I'll go with the instructor who was ok with my certificate from another source. It'll be fun, I'm sure.

The instructor did have to show me one thing my first class- how to make a parchment bag because I had never used one. I didn't feel bad about that because she spent much less time one on one with me showing techniques (I sat a lot, waiting, or helping the gal next to me). She even commented a few times that I didn't really need the class and was worried that I felt it was a waste of money. She said that I could have figured out everything in the class on my own. I didn't feel that way because I had never touched fondant, and that was what I had in mind that I was paying for. I had a lot of fun.

Thanks for the youtube suggestion! thumbs_up.gif That is a great idea. I have a bandwidth limit, so I'll have to be choosy, but that is still a good option.

Books.. eh... I may try, but I tend to like to hear how things go together, too. I think I'll try one or two things in the center of the wilton book before I buy another. thumbs_up.gif Maybe my library has a book or two on sculpting.

y'all are wonderful!!!

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