What Training Did You Go Through...

Business By snowshoe1 Updated 26 Aug 2007 , 8:19pm by chefmom

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snowshoe1 Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 8:39pm
post #1 of 16

Hello to all you professionals out there. I'm wondering what type of training did you go through. I'm a 40ish Wall Street professional and completely burned out in the world of finance - so I'm doing what most of us do and looking at a career change. I love making pastries, chocolates, etc... and started cake decorating last March.

I am looking into a few schools in the NYC area (ICE Culinary and French Institute) and was wondering if any of you have gotten degrees / certificates in Pastry/Baking arts and if so, was it the way to go? Are most of you self-taught and if so, how would you get hired by an elite restaurant or pastry shop? Any input / thoughts you can give will be most appreciated.

Cheers.

15 replies
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indydebi Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 10:53pm
post #2 of 16

I'm a self taught decorator and I describe my catering side as "I'm a mom who likes to cook". People raved over my cookies for years before I thought they could actually be a business.

That said, I believe any kind of add'l training and learning is never a waste of time.

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SMRturtle Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 11:26pm
post #3 of 16

I have no 'formal' training myself- I'm fairly new to decorating. I have been looking at the ICE instute myself and considering taking both the cake decorating classes as well as the cake baking class. If you're considering taking this I would love to know because I would love to know someone in the class!
I'm considering going on the week of 9/24- if there are still any openings.
PM me - I used to work in the world financial center and quit last year when I decided to move back out to the eastern end of Long Island, where I grew up.

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Marci Posted 23 Aug 2007 , 11:28pm
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I went to culinary school through a community college. Being 25 at the time with no money, I couldn't just drop everything and enroll in an expensive school. My first kitchen job was just as a prep/line cook and then I got into pastry as an assistant pastry chef. Now I am a head pastry chef at a country club. I feel that I should warn you... you are jumping into a field of long hours and little money. I am basically required to work 65 hours/week and even though I am 7 months pregnant, my boss doesn't feel I should be able to cut back to a mere 50 hours/week. Oh, and my first kitchen job paid $9.00/hr and as an assistant I made $13 - and other cooks were jealous of how much I was making. I am the second highest paid kitchen staff at my CC now (behind the exe. chef) and I don't make $40,000. So if money or time is important to you, you may want to rethink the desire to work in an elite restaurant etc. Don't misunderstand... I love what I do and wouldn't go back to working in computers.... but it is WORK.

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leah_s Posted 24 Aug 2007 , 2:05am
post #5 of 16

I also graduated from culinary school. I chose the more prestigious school in my area. I was fortunate enough not to have to take out loans to go. I have never regretted my decision, and can honestly say that it help me/taught me a lot.

That said, I never had any desire to work in a restaurant kitchen or pastry shop. I work for myself as a wedding cake designer/pastry chef. Love it!!

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paolacaracas Posted 24 Aug 2007 , 3:03am
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I went to desing school, All I know about baking I know by books, trial and error. But I feel my desing skills are much usefull to desinging and then create a cake than my baking skills

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cambo Posted 25 Aug 2007 , 6:58am
post #7 of 16

Entirely self-taught....never taken a decorating class in my life!

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PatricesPieces Posted 25 Aug 2007 , 7:13am
post #8 of 16

I swapped hobbies with a cake decorator when I was 10. She asked me to teach her to crochet and when I went for her first lesson, she was decorating a cake. My interest was immediately obvious and so she suggested we swap hobbies. I wish I knew how to find her. I owe her a big, huge thank you!! I can't remember how many lessons I had, but I had to learn the rose on my own. My grandmother bought me my first Wilton Year book. (I still have it) And I would read the instructions to make the rose. Finally when I was 26 I took my first Wilton lesson. They asked me to teach after that class. I also took a lesson in gumpaste when I lived in Alaska. I was in my 30's. Mostly, I have just read about a technique when I wanted to do it. Then I would break out the icing and practice, practice, practice. I am in the process of opening up my business now.

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SugarFrosted Posted 25 Aug 2007 , 7:54am
post #9 of 16

I was a commercial artist long ago, before computers made everything so easy. I learned the old fashioned way...pen, pencil, paper, paint and brushes.

I have always done some art, but the art I have done longest is cake decorating... for almost 20 years. I took one cake decorating course to learn the proper use of the tools, but the rest of my skills are self taught. Like indydebi, I am a mom who likes to bake.

Almost 2000 cakes later, I am still baking cakes and decorating them. And loving it!

Will Rogers said: Do something you love, and you will never "work" a day in your life.

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chefmom Posted 25 Aug 2007 , 9:33pm
post #10 of 16

I attended culinary school with the a focus on the pastry arts. I worked in a european style bakery for a while. The gentlemen who owned the shop was a master swiss baker. I learned far more working there then I did in school. The hours were long and the pay was pitiful. One holiday season made gingerbread houses which he sold for $300 a piece..... I made $9/hr. I wised up and quit, why should he get all the profit. I am planning on taking classes both in NYC and Chicago to broaden my knowledge and skills. There is also a lot of valuable infomation right here on CC.

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sarahnichole975 Posted 25 Aug 2007 , 9:54pm
post #11 of 16

I went to the Nikki School of trial and error. See if this works. If so great, if not, oops, try again. I'm still attending part time, learning new things constantly! icon_wink.gif

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CourtneysCustomCakes Posted 25 Aug 2007 , 9:56pm
post #12 of 16

My Step mom took the wilton classes and I enjoyed watching her. I started trying my hand at decorating about 8 years ago. I have taught myself almost everything I know. I have to give my roses and the viva method credit to peterslori1 here on CC, she took me under her wing for a while. I have learned a few other things on forums here on CC.

But I am looking into takeing some classes at the local college, or even wilton even though my mil who just finished the classes told me I am way beyond that. I like learning new things.

cCc

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baergarivera Posted 25 Aug 2007 , 10:24pm
post #13 of 16

snowshoe1,

I am right there next to you. I work in the world of finance and banking for over 10 yrs. My last job desided that they wanted to move from CT TO Dallas TX icon_cry.gif icon_cry.gif . LOVE THAT JOB ADORE THE PAID icon_cry.gif . and like you after many years i am burned out as well. when my company desided that they were moving i thougt to my self this is the time to do something for my self. If i love making the cakes and baking up to pass 1200mightnight why not make it work for me.

I have taken classes at the local A.C. Moore but I HAVE ALSO SPEND TIME AND MONEY DOING RESERCH AND BUYING BOOKS LOTS OF THEM. I GUESS WHEN YOU LOVE SOMETHING YOU PUT YOUR ENTIRE HEART TO IT. I LOVE IT SO MUCH THAT I SAID O WHAT THE HECK WITH IT LET'S OPEN UP MY OWN BAKERY, SO I AM IN THE WAY OF STARTING MY OWN BUSINESS. I SPEND TIME AWAY FROM MY FAMILY, AND KIDS SO MY HUSBAND HAS DESIDED THAT ITS TIME FOR ME TO DO MY OWN LITTLE SHOP THAT WAY I DO WHAT I HAVE WANTED TO DO FOR A LIFE TIME. SOMETIMES PEOPLE PLAN TO DO GREAT THINGS AND ARE TO SCARE BUT I AM TIRED OF BEING SCARE.

I JUST WANT TO BE HAPPY, I DO NOT WANT TO DIE ALWAYS THINKING WHAT ABOUT IF .. I DON'T WHAT TO EVER WONDER NEVER. SO DO WHAT YOU WANT AND LEARN ALL YOU CAN IT'S THE BEST ADVICE I GIVE ALL OF YOU. thumbs_up.gif AND ALWAYS PUT GOD FIRST AND HE WILL LEAD THE WAY thumbs_up.gif thumbs_up.gif icon_biggrin.gif thumbs_up.gif

MICHELLE RIVERA thumbs_up.gif

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paolacaracas Posted 26 Aug 2007 , 4:15pm
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefmom

I attended culinary school with the a focus on the pastry arts. I worked in a european style bakery for a while. The gentlemen who owned the shop was a master swiss baker. I learned far more working there then I did in school. The hours were long and the pay was pitiful. One holiday season made gingerbread houses which he sold for $300 a piece..... I made $9/hr. I wised up and quit, why should he get all the profit. I am planning on taking classes both in NYC and Chicago to broaden my knowledge and skills. There is also a lot of valuable infomation right here on CC.



Why he should take the profit? I'll tell you why...
I'm sure he once made $9 per hour, but time and effort and many many hours of work put him were he is now.
If he owns his own business means he is willing to take risks and if something goes wrong is him and only him who will have to pay the consequences.
He pays overhead, equipment, employes, takes, costs of all kinds, those $300 don't go straight to his pocket, and if no one buys that gingerbread house is his lost not yours.
What he teach you is worth way more than $9, is priceless.

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tyty Posted 26 Aug 2007 , 4:33pm
post #15 of 16

I still work full time, my co-workers talked me into taking the Wilton decorating courses because I was only making poundcakes, cheesecakes and cookies. I had several co-workers and others who tasted my baked goods ask if I did decorated cakes. I took the 4 Wilton courses and learned a lot here on CC. I am looking to take more decorating courses through a local cake supply store. They have pastry chefs come in to teach different courses.

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chefmom Posted 26 Aug 2007 , 8:19pm
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by paolacaracas

Quote:
Originally Posted by chefmom

I attended culinary school with the a focus on the pastry arts. I worked in a european style bakery for a while. The gentlemen who owned the shop was a master swiss baker. I learned far more working there then I did in school. The hours were long and the pay was pitiful. One holiday season made gingerbread houses which he sold for $300 a piece..... I made $9/hr. I wised up and quit, why should he get all the profit. I am planning on taking classes both in NYC and Chicago to broaden my knowledge and skills. There is also a lot of valuable infomation right here on CC.


Why he should take the profit? I'll tell you why...
I'm sure he once made $9 per hour, but time and effort and many many hours of work put him were he is now.
If he owns his own business means he is willing to take risks and if something goes wrong is him and only him who will have to pay the consequences.
He pays overhead, equipment, employes, takes, costs of all kinds, those $300 don't go straight to his pocket, and if no one buys that gingerbread house is his lost not yours.
What he teach you is worth way more than $9, is priceless.





Please don't take what I said the wrong way... I did learn some very valuable things working for him. Perhaps the most valuable was when to walk away. No matter what industry you work in, as an empolyee, there is a limit to what you are going to earn. In the food/restaurant industry in my corner of the world, that is not much. When I was much younger I was happy to just get my pay check and go home. But as I got older( I am 40) I decided I wanted to have more control over what I produced and be compensated accordingly. Not only did I benefit from my employment the owner benefited from my skill. Where I live it is hard to find skilled people to work in the baking business. So, when the order for 10 gingerbread houses came in, he was confident the order could be filled because he was able to rely on my skill, he was also able to charge top dollar for them. I guess I was ready to move from being an employee to an "owner". One perk to being an owner is instead of being paid $9/hr to do a holiday gingerbread house workshop for children(which I did last year). This year I have been contracted for a much higher fee to do the same workshop @ the pastry shop I worked in.

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