Theory thanks for the opportunity, when the time comes I will remember your offer. To everyone else thank you so much for the advice. Its a big change for me (going from ATL to NY, professional setting to school, etc). Its great to hear from you guys who have experience in this industry--either school, industry, or combination--and I really appreciate your wisdom. I welcome any more knowledge bombs that can be offered and thank you again for the great tips you have already provided.
Remember that you're paying to make mistakes, and that's a good thing. You're in a controlled environment that doesn't come with the pressures of a real kitchen, or the consequences. You screw up on something? That's fine, don't beat yourself up about it. Use the opportunity to see where you went wrong and how to fix it in the future. Take advantage of having an instructor and your fellow students there to offer advice on how to be better.
Also, own up to the fact that you've screwed up. I've seen many a culinary student act like everything they make is the pinnacle of modern gastronomy just because they made it. It's a dangerous attitude to have, and one that don't serve you well in the real world.
Just my two cents.
I agree with the "you get out of it what you put into it" comment. I'm just graduating from a much smaller school, nothing like the CIA environment. There were plenty of people who went to classes skated by doing just enough to pass and I'm not sure what if anything they really learned. Me and a couple other guys didn't think we were getting enough, so we started a culinary club at the school. We ended up doing a couple of big catering things, some club dinners, bake sale fundraisers... and the ACF Knowledge Bowl competition. It didn't cost anything but time, and I learned more from that stuff and a couple of the ACF competitions as I did in a lot of my classes.
Challenge yourself more when your there. I work with a graduate from the CIA and he does not seem like he was disciplined in knife skills or Speed. My school seems more strict than the CIA.
Post some pics on the CMC test I believe is going on there.
Good Luck to your future. !!
I would love to take some pics on the CMC test but its impossible to work your way through the crowd to get an even remotely decent picture. This school has a jillion tourists every day coming to gawk so there are always too many mouth breathers in the way of students wanting to learn from watching these guys. Not my intention to sound too harsh towards these guys because they do provide extra income to cover food costs and it is great to see such interest from the community at large, but they do create complications.
What school did you attend out of curiosity?
I'm fortunate in that I spent a while in the industry before coming to school so I've developed a sense of urgency. Now, when it comes to building speed over the course of the next two years I am admittedly stumped as to how to do that here. Thinking I need a job.
Take notes and review them afterwards. Ask the teacher about the things you are not sure about-it doesnt necessarily have to be what you were taught that day.As a teacher I am always happy to talk to students who show an interest.Turn off your cell phone or leave it at home.Talk to the other students and help each other.
Work in as many big houses in NY that you can
You can not tell much, if anything about any school from an individual. I've hired severa CIA grads that were not worth the powder to blow them up. No doubt Mom and Dad wrote the check and they spent their entire time at school partying like a rock star. The flip side is that I've known numerous CIA grads that started their careers off at a much higher than average salaries. A degree is nice but it's the individual that gets hired. Your degree is a tool just like a knife in your kit. Sharpen it, use it and it will serve you well. It's already been said and I've posted it enough on Chef Talk to make my head spin but you really do get out of school what you put into it. That sounds cliche but never forget it. Have fun and go have a few cold ones on Friday night. Just don't let Friday night turn into Saturday etc. Get involved in competition if you can. Once you leave school and start working there will be little time for that. Speed is not something that you learn in school. It comes from experience. Train your self to THINK instead of just being there. If that sounds harsh I think you will find that over 50% of just about any class are droids just along for the ride. Choose your friends and more importantly your future jobs carefully. Think about your externships well in advance. Don't get sucked into just looking for big names but remember to consider how much experience and hands on time you can gain. If possible make sure you are working for Chef's that are ACF certified at the level for which they are working.
Originally Posted by Autobot
Most importantly have fun. Many of the connections you make in this phase of your career will last a life time.
Leave the high end knives at home to start and remember to enjoy the ride!
I went to the CIA and you really get out what you put in. I was there inthe docks signing in orders in the morning. After class I was in the butcher shop breaking down chickens and ducks. And I worke full time and paid it off while I was in school
The CIA is a great school, congratulations and I hope everything is going very well for you there!
In addition to what other members have already told you, I'd like to just remind you about keeping your mouth firmly closed. I've seen enough guys come in and start talking about their school, how they were taught to do this in such and such a way, etc---no one wants to hear you. We had a guy like that start recently, everyone started calling him Hermione(the girl in Harry Potter), once the dishwashers caught on he didn't last the full week.