I'm a 19 year old college student interested in doing cakes. But Im trying to decide if I should go to culinary school or just learn from experience....what would you suggest? I've heard culinary school is a waste of money when it comes to cake decorating..but would like to learn the baking part of cakes. My cakes made from scratch are so tasty... any way.. Culinary school or no culinary school?
As someone who's gone to culinary school to be a chef, I'd tell you it's not worth the time or money if you "only" intend to be a cake decorator. Take classes, save your money and do specialized cake decorating classes. It'll save your sanity in the end, as well as your money.
I agree with cakeman.
I went to culinary, and currently work as a cook. But I learned practically nothing about decorating cakes. Hence why I spend so much time here!
Although I will tell you that the business classes were a godsend for working towards having my own business. They taught me all about recipe pricing, cost percentages, food safety and all the nececitys.
And the few baking classes I took were very helpful for making my homemade from scratch cakes the best possible.
But most of those classes you can probably find through your local Cooperative extension or adult education programs.
Hi: Wouldn't culinary school be good if you also wanted to be a pastry chef? Doesn't that include the making of cakes and the decorating of wedding cakes? Or would it still be better to take specialty classes and learn from them? Vicki0052
It depends on the school, and your concentration.
Where I went we didn't have an option for pastry chef, there were only two baking classes, baking I and baking II where we learned all the basics. The rest were things like basic cooking, quantity foods, convention management, nutrition, food safety, gardemanger, etc. and a whole bunch of business courses.
Culinary school will teach you the basics of cakes and decorating. Where I did my 1 month a year schooling during my cooking apprenticeship they had a 2 or 3 year pastry program which really interested me but was way too expensive for me at the time. But from reading the pamphlets it was a very thorough program in which you learned it all.
heathercarnold, there are many Culinary schools that offer Pastry Arts programs. Currently I'm researching the French Culinary Institute in NYC. They have seperate programs for culinary & pastry. Here is their website if you're interested http://www.frenchculinary.com/subpages/careers/pastry.html. There is a course discription of what is taught during your 6 months at the school. 3 tiered wedding cakes, pulled & blown sugar and tons of other stuff. It's worth checking out.
Hi! During my first semester, I took some culinary classes and luckily, I withdrawed from classes because I found it to be a waste of time. Like you, I just wants to be a cake decorator - the classes only teached nothing about cake except one in Baking class - nothing in depth. I'm moving to North Carolina and I found out that their community college there is offering a Pastry Art degree - so I contacted the college couselor there and they said they have several cake courses and are in depth. They also teach chocolate, sugar art, and more. I think it'll be worthwhile, because most cake have sugar art and stuff. I hope this helps. Good luck
Which community college offers the Pastry Art degree?
Thanks, Charlotte is about a 2 hour drive from Durham. Too far for that particular course at this time. Durham Tech and Wake Tech both have culinary courses. Durham Tech's course has two sessions for pastry. If you are going to settle in the Research Triangle Park area (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) you might want to check their respective community college programs.
Also, Johnson & Wales Culinary Institute has a branch location in Charlotte.
Thanks everyone for the great replies! I have a school near by that is a Le Cordon Bleu school, Western Culinary Institute, which has a pastry degree option that in a 9month degree..has anyone gone to a Le Cordon Bleu pastry program?
My classes werent at a cordon bleu school, but the course book was one of the cordon bleu books, and our teacher was cordon bleu trained. And I really enjoyed the class, and learned a lot from it.
Peachez: I recently took a specialized gumpaste class and a fellow student had just graduated from the French Culinary Insititute. He is now a pastry chef. He loved the school. However, according to him, the focus is more on baking and turning out an equisite tasting cake/pastry. (which will keep anyone's customers coming back for more). FCI doe have cake decorating classes and a wedding cake project. Gumpaste class was lacking--and the reason why after all that time and money, he still had to take classes in gumpaste flowers. On the upside, through the school he obtained a salaried position with Margaret Braun, and is currently her apprentice.
If I had the money, I would take the full-time course myself. Right now, I'm thinking about the serious amateur course offering which is much less expensive.
heathercarnold - where do you live?
I wanted to go to Tante Maries in San Francisco but I couldn't afford $7k for school. I asked a local bakery owner and she suggested community college. I'm taking just a couple specialized courses to build my skills from. I can decorate pretty well but I can't bake a cake from scratch for anything, they all come out tasting like flour.
Since you mentioned Le Cordon Bleu at the Western Culinary Institute I'm guessing you live near Portland? I would check out the community colleges there. Clark County Community College has a Professional Baking series.
The Professional Pastry Chef: Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry by Bo Friberg is a great book and is used at many school (you may be able to check it out at the library).
Personally I had trouble trying to learn on my own only because when things didn't go correctly I had no one to tell me why. In school I'm getting feedback which is working for me.