AlyT Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 6:01pm
post #1 of

AHello I am as of now a hobby baker hoping to one day own my own bakery. I have two small kids and am debating going to school or not. Now ovbiously it would be best, but I wanted to start maybe before I went as weird hrs outside of my home right now arnt much of an option. How many of you went to school and how many didn't? I was told it will be way harderTo start out without schooling. Opinions please !

29 replies
-K8memphis Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 6:03pm
post #2 of

let me guess--did the school tell you that by any chance???

AlyT Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 6:07pm
post #3 of

AHaha no but I'm sure they would! My mother haha.

-K8memphis Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 6:58pm
post #4 of

well she's right in that you need college, business school, trade school something after high school

 

but for a bakery business, culinary school is optional--

 

to do cakes in particular--unless you have the big giant bucks and/or want to make a car payment for the next 25 years--you don't really need culinary school for the cake making part of it

 

the industry has been made very easy to learn for those who want to work hard--you tube, books, dvds, and here on cc--we share lots and lots of information

 

culinary school would be great at a nominally priced community college for culinary basics--pastry courses are geared toward restaurant pastry chefs/chefing

 

and 'open a bakery' is a very broad statement--tons of different directions to go

 

so yes you need school but for the business end of a cake business, culinary school is basically for restaurant pastry chef and you come out of school able to make the same wage available before you went in

 

it's a heartbreaker industry

 

icon_biggrin.gif

 

it looks like fun on tv but for every episode of Duff there was way over a hundred hours of work

 

so you really gotta love it ;)

 

and sure school would be a blast but you don't necessarily get the bang for the buck

 

dang it i keep trying to end an a good note

 

so you really gotta love it ;)

kikiandkyle Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 7:51pm
post #5 of

I think there's always value in taking a business course, even if you don't end up opening your own business you will at least be qualified to manage someone else's. You'll also find it much easier to get loans etc for your business if you've got some relevant schooling behind you. 

 

I'm probably going to take a pastry course at my local community college but mainly for the non-baking part of the course, things like inventory management etc. 

AlyT Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 9:31pm
post #6 of

AI was thinking pastry chef for the business aspect. As well as a fall back if I need it too. I'm not sure. So confusing! Its two years here but I learn everything! I want to docake decorating and such. I'm just not sure where I stand! Haha

jason_kraft Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 10:48pm
post #7 of

AA degree in culinary school will help you become a pastry chef, but the job description for a pastry chef usually doesn't involve much (if any) cake decorating, it is more of a generalist for different types of pastries at higher end restaurants and hotels.

If you want to focus only on cake decorating, most culinary school programs will be a waste of time. Look at the curriculum for the programs you're interested and see how much will be relevant for what you want to do.

MimiFix Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 10:51pm
post #8 of

A bakery job would give you some experience and a business class would be of benefit. But culinary school is not a necessity. Many fine pastry chefs, restaurateurs, and business owners do not have culinary degrees.Think about what you need to learn and research nearby schools that offer adult ed classes.   

AlyT Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 10:59pm
post #9 of

AThank you everyone. Its something that will take some research. I have done some. They do focus on a semester of wedding cakes and another on fine arts or something.

AlyT Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 11:03pm

A[IMG]http://cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/2923573/width/200/height/400[/IMG][IMG] this is first year http://cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/2923574/width/200/height/400[/IMG] This is second. Do you think this two years would benefit as a cake decorator?

AlyT Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 11:06pm

A[IMG]http://cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/2923579/width/200/height/400[/IMG]

jason_kraft Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 11:07pm

AWhat does the syllabus look like for the Pastry Fundamentals and Art & Design classes? How much is tuition?

AlyT Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 11:22pm

AFor pastry fundametals this is he description Learn how ingredients, mixing methods and decorating techniques worktogether to produce a variety of icings, cakes, and pies found in contemporarybakeries and kitchens. Pastry Fundamentals IIA continuing exploration of pastry production including choux paste, individualpastries and a variety of tarts and pies with a focus on decorating, garnishingand presentation. And art and design Apply the principles of colour, theme, and composition to the design andcreation of pastry arts products that reflect current trends.

AlyT Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 11:24pm

ATuition would be about 11, 000

jason_kraft Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 11:31pm

ATo me it sounds like the part of the class relevant to cake decorating is probably equivalent to what you can learn for free from online videos. The most useful part of the curriculum is probably the business courses, but you should be able to find similar classes at a much lower price point from a community college.

AlyT Posted 16 Feb 2013 , 11:48pm

AHmmm okay. Thank you for uour imput! Very helpful!

Annabakescakes Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 1:15am
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlyT 

Tuition would be about 11, 000

My mouth literally flew open when I read that! NOT WORTH IT!

jason_kraft Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 1:44am

A$11K is actually pretty reasonable for a pastry certificate program. The pastry program at French Culinary Institute in California was ~$25K back in 2007, it is now over $30K. Of course it is only a reasonable cost if you will benefit from it proportionately.

Annabakescakes Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 2:00am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

$11K is actually pretty reasonable for a pastry certificate program. The pastry program at French Culinary Institute in California was ~$25K back in 2007, it is now over $30K. Of course it is only a reasonable cost if you will benefit from it proportionately.

That's the thing! I worked in 1 real bakery for 6-7 months, and an 100% self taught. I made $11,000 in my first 6 months of business, out of my garage, with no advertising, I didn't have to spend it!

SaltCakeCity Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 2:33am

Hey AlyT,

     I started my own home business 4 years ago and I'm completely self-taught. The great thing about getting started now a days is that so many things are accessible online. You can youtube SO many things now (and nearly all of the basics) and what you can't learn online, you can probably find other cakers near you that teach cake classes. I agree with others though that some sort of business/finance background would be helpful if you want to start your own business although you can hire others to do that for you. 


In my humble opinion, I would suggest saving the $11,000 and invest in taking classes from known cakers and experimenting on cake recipes. There are a ton of great recipes here on CC too. Good luck with whatever avenue you take! 

Jennifer

Salt Cake City

karina_lisa2010 Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 2:53am

If you want to know how to decorate cakes maybe take cake decorating classes at Michel's or some other store. It will give you the base and you could use Youtube, facebook, Internet etc... to pick up some extra techniques. If you want to start a business you could probably take a small business course. I live in Montreal, and these courses are short usual, in the evening, and inexpensive. Here, culinary school is more for if you want to bake for restaurants. It really depends on what you want to do. My husband owns his own business but he never took a business course. I tool a business management and accounting course in college... but you can always pay someone to do that part for you, or get a partner who is better at that part.

akrainis Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 3:05am

Well... from the other end of the spectrum, I went to pastry school and I think it was beyond worth it. My original goal was to learn the science behind baking- mission accomplished. But my horizons were broadened as well and I did a lot of things I never thought I'd do, developed skills in techniques I never thought useful to cake decorating and every aspect of every class (from artisan breads to plated desserts) has improved my decorating skills. 

 

For me, personally, I learn a lot better in a classroom environment rather than dvd's and youtube videos because I can ask questions, work with others, learn from my (and others') mistakes- not only what when wrong but why it went wrong and how to fix it if it goes wrong next time. I still use videos to supplement what I've learned, but I found my education to be invaluable.

 

And probably the most valuable aspect was learning cost efficiency. How to effectively cost out finished product. I can't tell you how much that has changed how I price cakes.

 

One last reason I found pastry school helpful- the industry contacts. 

 

So... pastry school might not be for everybody, but it definitely worked for me. 

BakingIrene Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 3:09am

Many culinary schools offer cake decorating as continuing-ed courses which you take and pay for as you want. They cost about $300 and are offered evenings/weekends.  The credits don't apply to a degree but they are well taught.

 

Other than that, working in foodservice provides a lot of on-the-job training in basic skills. 

kikiandkyle Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 3:39am

French Pastry School here in Chicago is $17k for a 16 week course. I'd take it in a heartbeat if someone else paid! 

 

If you spend $11k on this course where do you see it taking you? I'd suggest getting some real bakery/cake shop experience before committing to that kind of expense. 

Annabakescakes Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 5:03am
Quote:
Originally Posted by akrainis 

Well... from the other end of the spectrum, I went to pastry school and I think it was beyond worth it. My original goal was to learn the science behind baking- mission accomplished. But my horizons were broadened as well and I did a lot of things I never thought I'd do, developed skills in techniques I never thought useful to cake decorating and every aspect of every class (from artisan breads to plated desserts) has improved my decorating skills. 

 

For me, personally, I learn a lot better in a classroom environment rather than dvd's and youtube videos because I can ask questions, work with others, learn from my (and others') mistakes- not only what when wrong but why it went wrong and how to fix it if it goes wrong next time. I still use videos to supplement what I've learned, but I found my education to be invaluable.

 

And probably the most valuable aspect was learning cost efficiency. How to effectively cost out finished product. I can't tell you how much that has changed how I price cakes.

 

One last reason I found pastry school helpful- the industry contacts. 

 

So... pastry school might not be for everybody, but it definitely worked for me. 

Maybe that's part of the thing with me, I HATED school. I dropped out of the 11th grade, and dropped out of my second year of college. I have been told (by my old shrink!) that I have "authority problems", I think it is silly, because I have never met anyone who has any authority over me ;-) I Love learning, I just hate stupid people! Can't stand to be around them. And I just like to learn at my pace. I hate to listen to the dullards in the class asking incessant questions about everything, when the rest of us have gotten it and would like to MOVE ALONG, PLEASE!!!

 

And the way teachers teach these days...I swear they find the "lowest common denominator" (if you know what I mean icon_twisted.gif )and just cater to their level. It is painful, and half the teachers are stupid, while the other half is really great, you just can't always chose who you get. I got my GED 5 years after I dropped out, didn't take any classes AT ALL, and rushed through it as fast as I could since it was my XH birthday and needed to get home. My scores were some of the highest in the state, so it is not an intelligence thing. I just hate school! So, I would see it as paying $11,000 to be tortured.

 

So, that is a question I would ask myself, too. Do I like school? If you liked school, go for it, but not until you do some self teaching and see if you have a knack for it. Talent cannot be taught, even if you spend $11,000,000. And then work for others to see if it is really something you would like to do. I haven't seen your cakes, and wouldn't tell you if they were terrible, anyway, most of us wouldn't. That is something you have to answer for yourself.

jason_kraft Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 6:35am

A

Original message sent by Annabakescakes

And the way teachers teach these days...I swear they find the "lowest common denominator" (if you know what I mean :twisted:  )and just cater to their level.

This may be true during the period when education is compulsory (these days I would include undergraduate study in that definition), but when students are paying a significant amount of money for a graduate degree or specialized certificate they have more motivation to get something out of the class.

My wife's pastry certificate program was fast-paced and challenging, and she both enjoyed the experience and got a lot out of the program. Similarly to akrainis the goal was to focus on the science of the baking side, since we were originally planning to have a diverse menu of pastries with recipes modified to remove specific combinations of allergens. We eventually focused on cakes since they were the most profitable, but the pastry program probably cut our R&D time at least in half and contributed to the high quality of the recipes we ended up with. It's difficult to say how successful our business would have been without that foundation.

So the tuition was worth it for us, but it would not have been if we were just looking for decorating and basic business skills.

jason_kraft Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 6:39am

A

Original message sent by BakingIrene

Many culinary schools offer cake decorating as continuing-ed courses which you take and pay for as you want. They cost about $300 and are offered evenings/weekends.  The credits don't apply to a degree but they are well taught.

Agreed, these one-off courses are great for brushing up on specific skills. Actually having the credits for the degree doesn't mean nearly as much as skills and experience when you are talking about a trade like cake decorating, or when starting a business.

costumeczar Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 1:45pm

I loved culinary school and for me it was totally worth it. I did a two year pastry course too, but pastry courses aren't necessarily for cake decorators, it would depend what you want to get out of it, I agree with that. Learning how the industry works from the inside is a good thing.

MsGF Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 1:57pm

I live in Ontario, Canada and we have this school:         

 

http://www.bonniegordoncollege.com/

 

It is more geared to decorating but they also teach the business end as well.   Maybe something like this would be more of what you are looking for.  I'm sure there are other schools like this one.

 

Good luck, it's a big decision.

AlyT Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 4:58pm

AOh wow. As of now I think I'm going to put school and pay our vehicle off and save then next year do it. As we will have to move for me to go to school. Maybe start doing cakes before this and see what I feel is best at that point. Thank you everyone for your opinions! Its nice to hear both sides to it.

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