Did You Go To School?

Lounge By bakeforfun21 Updated 9 Oct 2015 , 7:15am by embersmom

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bakeforfun21 Posted 1 Oct 2015 , 9:05pm
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I am contemplating going to culinary school to take baking and pastry courses. Has anyone here taken these courses? Was it worth it?

11 replies
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costumeczar Posted 1 Oct 2015 , 9:10pm
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Depends on the school. I did a pastry certificate and it was totally worth it, but I had a cake decorating course as an elective and the instructor was GREAT. Other people in my program didn't even take cake decorating, or they did but the instructor wasn't as good.

If you don't know anything about baking it's worth it to take some courses, you don't necessarily need a degree program. If you know enough about baking to wing it it's not necessarily something that you need, but it's always good to take classes here and there to learn specific skills anyway.

If you're comfortable with baking but have no business background, my opinion is that you would be better off taking a class about running a small business. It kind of depends on what you know now and what you don't know and what your end goal is.

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-K8memphis Posted 2 Oct 2015 , 12:14am
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in general the cordon bleu program is not worth it in order to build a future -- you leave school owing tens of  thousands (unless you pay as you go) and it entitles you to make the same amount of money you could make without the degree -- maybe some of the even more expensive schools that seriously place you afterwards would be worth it (maybe) but it does depend on which facet/s of baking you want like was already mentioned -- you can generate some good contacts but that's quite a hefty price to pay for them -- if it's a decent community college it would be better --

to answer your question - no i did not go to cooking school -- my son graduated summa and became a chef -- but both of us have a die hard work ethic -- we love food/cooking/baking so self study is still fun -- honing skills improving improving improving -- i fluttered back & forth into caking/baking all my life interwoven with a few other occupations/businesses -- he is in a completely different field now and doing very well 

but i mean taking baking classes with money being no object would be a great and wonderful lot of fun

*Last edited by -K8memphis on 2 Oct 2015 , 12:16am
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melmar02 Posted 2 Oct 2015 , 1:12am
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When I started to get serious, I enrolled in a pastry arts program at my local community college - night and weekend classes after my 9-5 job. I already had my recipes down, I had done all the craft store classes, and my co-workers were almost as sick of eating my 'I just have to try this technique' cakes as my family was. My state was still working on implementing cottage food laws at the time, and I knew I didn't want to open a store front. My 'real' degree is in a completely unrelated field, so I thought it would be good resume fodder and networking opportunity in case the law didn't pass and I wanted to work at someone else's bakery even though the school only offered one cake decorating class.  At the time I started, they offered certificates and associates degrees 3 programs - culinary, pastry, and hospitality (hotel management). The now also offer a certificate in event planning. I didn't finish though. The laws were passed in my state during my 3rd or 4th semester, and then I got pregnant with my second kiddo... it was already rough reaching down into those 3 compartment sinks being only 5'1" then add a baby belly in the way! I took a semester off to have the baby who is now 3 1/2, and I just haven't gone back. I got busy with my business, and while I appreciate the process of making breads, pate a choux, etc., it's just not what I want to do so I don't plan to return at this time.

*Last edited by melmar02 on 2 Oct 2015 , 1:33am
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bakeforfun21 Posted 2 Oct 2015 , 4:54pm
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Thanks everyone. I'm still trying to make the decision. We have cottage food laws in my state and I work from home doing that but i want to get a certificate so that I can work in another bakery at the same time. Or at least if i decide working from home isnt for me i can work somewhere else where i wont be completely alone to work on projects.

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-K8memphis Posted 2 Oct 2015 , 8:07pm
post #6 of 12

cool -- but a certificate does not enhance your chances of landing the job -- it's not like nursing or engineering or real estate or teaching school, etc. -- often a certificate without experience is like a day without sunshine -- trying to say 'less than worthless' in a more positive way  -- just saying -- 

narrowing down what you want from your classes is key -- often those culinary classes are geared to restaurant work, catering -- making portions not cakes -- great fun wonderful learning but not much bang either for the buck or for the future you want -- hone in on your heart's desire 

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cookiemum123 Posted 3 Oct 2015 , 2:17am
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My 2nd daughter told Me about a organization that helped restraunt workers...there I became a member...the dues were on a can do basis. They offer free training BOH & FOH. BOH offered pastry, edible display, barista, basic and then advanced cooking with management training. The pastry and advance pastry was helpful but not what I wanted or expected..th I didn't really know what I wanted. I've been baking treat and trying out more challenging pastries even up to the classes. Long story short. I went to the big event Sandra Lee hosts here every year for the hungry, hoping to get to meet her. Met the Cake Boss instead! Great guy. I also came to one of the vendors who's cup cakes looked soo pretty and sweet. She gave me a card and said to call because the owner offered internships to students.  Well I did and it was the best thing I ever did! Opened a whole other world for me. I've always been good with my hands and creative but I'd never considered combining the two sweets, art, crafty with my love for flowers.  I love making people smile or feel welcome or appreciated and cake is a fun way for me to do that. Now I'm starting to put a value on something I've done since my first easy bake in 1968! Even when the cake isn't perfectly how I expected it to Be...the edges aren't crisp after i put the modeling clay! People are just pleased as punch!  Now I want something more. 

More is costing, legal and trade marking  as well as sharpening where i lack and so on. The business side. I have a tuff time making space in my head for business and creativity.  

@custumeczar, I agree the business classes are a better investment...especially marketing, algebra and economics and how they relate in running a business.

I'm most glad for the Restaurant workers organization I was able to obtain my food handlers certificate and license. It will never expire and I can always brush up online. I have other certificates but my life experiences baking is priceless. Yet I still learn something everyday and I love it! Like I make my cakes Fresh sometime for a bake sale that Morning! I was so glad to read on here freezing  cupcakes is better than placing them in the fridg...

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kandyslife Posted 3 Oct 2015 , 9:15am
post #8 of 12

i was thinking of enrolling in the cordon bleu program in three years, but i am ot sure if its worth all the money

im also cofused of whether i should do it or not

-K8memphis Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
-K8memphis Posted 3 Oct 2015 , 1:45pm
post #9 of 12

i can safely assure you it's not worth the money unless you want an extra car/mortgage payment for the next 30 years (because the income boost you should generate from the schooling is non existent) --

but i mean like cookiemum says there's internships out there -- the pink cake box lady advertised some on here recently -- so at least with an unpaid internship for the time invested you are not seriously mortgaging your future -- 

heck you can learn more on Google in your free time get a nice paying job anywhere in the meantime and be more prepared for the game of life than the above average cb culinary student -- unless they go into management

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kandyslife Posted 4 Oct 2015 , 6:32am
post #10 of 12

i understand what you mean @k8memphis your are right, too much money spent on the school, to end up being paid the same way, if you did not go to school

thank youu

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bakeforfun21 Posted 4 Oct 2015 , 12:40pm
post #11 of 12

Thank you all so much. Oddly enough my husband brought home an older textbook from the culinary school i was looking into. I thisk im going to skip the school umless it becomes absolutely necessary.

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embersmom Posted 9 Oct 2015 , 7:15am
post #12 of 12

I went to culinary school, bur I was already in the field when I did.  It enhanced what I already knew but that's it.  OTOH I learned a lot about savory foods and wine, both of which were the the thrust of the curriculum.  The baking/[pastry part was considered an elective.  Not many people took it.

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