Pastry school?

  • mizu5

    Posts: 2599

    Jan 18, 2012 12:53 AM GMT
    Anyone here gone to culinary or baking school?

    I'm considering doing a year long baking program at George Brown in Toronto. Any input would be great?

    I just wanna make caaakes D:
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    Jan 18, 2012 3:05 AM GMT
    I studied culinary arts for a year. I always noticed the incredible cakes, pastries, and chocolate designs the students made. A class mate once made a birds nest out of Meringue! It was beautiful.....and delicious! icon_twisted.gif
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    Jan 18, 2012 4:05 AM GMT
    I have 2 friends that did it. FYI, the majority of jobs you can get start very early in the morning (like 5 am pastry prep at bakeries) or very late into the evening (desert stuff and restaurants).

    It didn`t work out for my friends since the times were too inconvenient.
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    Jan 18, 2012 5:52 AM GMT
    From my own experience, starches aren't something you can dump ingredients together and have it turn out like you get at a fancy restaurant. But, then I'm in electronics and I've learned that nothing is as easy as it looks.

    So, you will have my admiration.

    A friend of mine is trained to be a chef. But, he is now going to auto mechanics school. The 8-5 appeals to him as well.

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    Jan 18, 2012 6:08 AM GMT
    A friend of mine worked at a local bakery for a few years. The only thing I wouldn't have liked were his hours, he work from 9pm to 5am
    On another note, it isn't a job but have you ever thought of joining a Parkour group. With your gymnastics background you might be a natural at it. It looks like the shit to me. g/l
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    Jan 18, 2012 7:30 AM GMT
    RobertF64 saidFrom my own experience, starches aren't something you can dump ingredients together and have it turn out like you get at a fancy restaurant. But, then I'm in electronics and I've learned that nothing is as easy as it looks.

    So, you will have my admiration.

    A friend of mine is trained to be a chef. But, he is now going to auto mechanics school. The 8-5 appeals to him as well.



    Well with baking it's more that you need to think about the balance of flour to eggs to sugar to liquid to fat. If you get the balance off for some reason then things can get into a fairly flat mess fairly easily. I think a lot of people when trying to do stuff at home also don't think much about how much butter they need to use in some recipes and think if the batter looks liquid then it's good to go, and then don't really try tasting it or anything.

    May help to think about in terms of weight rather than volume, since a cup of packed flour weighs a bit different then a cup of light sifted flour.
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    Jan 18, 2012 11:57 AM GMT
    Do you want to train for a career or simply improve your skills?

    A year-long course is going to be designed to prepare you for professional bakeries or restaurant kitchens and it's likely to cover everything from cakes to breads,

    If you're really more interested in learning how to improve your home baking, think about a short course, the kind that meets for three or four sessions and gives you a very strong base of fundamentals. In a city the size of Toronto, you can probably find a class dedicated to cakes if that's what you really want.
  • mizu5

    Posts: 2599

    Jan 18, 2012 7:39 PM GMT
    Kobaltjak saidDo you want to train for a career or simply improve your skills?

    A year-long course is going to be designed to prepare you for professional bakeries or restaurant kitchens and it's likely to cover everything from cakes to breads,

    If you're really more interested in learning how to improve your home baking, think about a short course, the kind that meets for three or four sessions and gives you a very strong base of fundamentals. In a city the size of Toronto, you can probably find a class dedicated to cakes if that's what you really want.
    Nono I want to do it as a career.
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    Jan 19, 2012 1:33 AM GMT
    mizu5 said Nono I want to do it as a career.


    Then culinary school can be a smart choice. But before you invest that year, have you ever worked in a restaurant? When you start out the hours are long and the pay is crappy and you're almost always executing someone else's ideas. Heck, you could start out doing nothing but skinning hazelnuts for ten hours a day.

    If you're in Toronto, go to The Cookbook Store on Yonge Street and pick up a book called "Becoming a Chef." It'll give you a pretty good idea of life in the business.

    [I haven't worked in a restaurant in a very long time, but I do work in a related area and have a lot of chefs and cooks as customers.]
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    Jan 19, 2012 1:58 AM GMT
    All you need to know is that Duncan Hines are deliciously moist whereas Betty Crockers are dry and crumbly. I just saved you thousands.

    I actually love baking and sometimes think of taking a course, like at a comm. college to pass the time.
  • Greygull

    Posts: 282

    Jan 19, 2012 2:11 AM GMT
    I'm a professional pastry chef with a bachelors degree form the culinary institute of America, Hit me up with any questions you have about it.
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    Jan 19, 2012 2:22 AM GMT
    I've gotten better at understanding the science behind the technique. But, if I have a potluck to go to, I still cheat and buy something from the bakery.

    http://www.amazon.com/BakeWise-Successful-Baking-Magnificent-Recipes/dp/1416560785

    Shirley O. Corriher is most likely the biochemist behind the DuncanHines products success. America's Test Kitchen (PBS) and Alton Brown/Good Eats (Food network) were almost top priority on my DVR. Nowadays, I don't eat that stuff.

    Vendrak said
    Well with baking it's more that you need to think about the balance of flour to eggs to sugar to liquid to fat. If you get the balance off for some reason then things can get into a fairly flat mess fairly easily. I think a lot of people when trying to do stuff at home also don't think much about how much butter they need to use in some recipes and think if the batter looks liquid then it's good to go, and then don't really try tasting it or anything.

    May help to think about in terms of weight rather than volume, since a cup of packed flour weighs a bit different then a cup of light sifted flour.
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    Jan 19, 2012 2:22 AM GMT
    I went through culinary school and interned in the bakery at the St. Regis and for me, it wasn't fun anymore. Being yelled at all day (like chef ramsey), but by my chefs in French. Just wasn't fun anymore. I still like cooking and baking at home, but never professionally anymore. Emergency medicine is where its at!
  • Greygull

    Posts: 282

    Jan 19, 2012 2:33 AM GMT
    haha it takes some real type A people to get it going, I'm an assitant sous chef for the ritz carlton orlando. icon_biggrin.gif
  • mizu5

    Posts: 2599

    Jan 19, 2012 9:47 PM GMT
    Greygull saidI'm a professional pastry chef with a bachelors degree form the culinary institute of America, Hit me up with any questions you have about it.
    Ahaha Ohboy, I'll be harassing you lol./
  • Greygull

    Posts: 282

    Jan 19, 2012 10:40 PM GMT
    It's cool, do it up icon_biggrin.gif
  • camfer

    Posts: 892

    Jan 19, 2012 10:59 PM GMT
    If ever you want to run your own operation, take business classes now as much as cooking/baking classes. You can learn to cook and bake on the job in a restaurant, but it's harder to learn the business side.
  • mizu5

    Posts: 2599

    Jan 20, 2012 9:33 AM GMT
    camfer saidIf ever you want to run your own operation, take business classes now as much as cooking/baking classes. You can learn to cook and bake on the job in a restaurant, but it's harder to learn the business side.
    Yep I would take hospitality or food and beverage management afterwards, plus at George Brown all that is part of the courses.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Jan 20, 2012 9:47 AM GMT
    umm... depends on the job you're looking to do. i did all my patisserie and baking training through apprenticing. realistically, if you're looking to work at some place, you're gonna start at the bottom regardless. my logic was might as well be at the bottom and not be 40,000 in debt (not sure how expensive or thorough your program is). so i worked the morning and night shifts and i learned to be a kick ass chef. at my last job, i was the head mixer by the time i left.

    keep in mind there isn't really money in this business, so not having that sort of debt can help you out. but if you're looking to go into business for yourself or some other field that requires the knowledge right off the bat then maybe culinary school is for you.

    my advice is work the 5am mix shift at a bakery. do it for six months. if after that you decide you still love the job and you want more training, then go to culinary school.
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    Jan 20, 2012 8:21 PM GMT
    Kobaltjak said
    mizu5 said Nono I want to do it as a career.


    Then culinary school can be a smart choice. But before you invest that year, have you ever worked in a restaurant? When you start out the hours are long and the pay is crappy and you're almost always executing someone else's ideas. Heck, you could start out doing nothing but skinning hazelnuts for ten hours a day.

    If you're in Toronto, go to The Cookbook Store on Yonge Street and pick up a book called "Becoming a Chef." It'll give you a pretty good idea of life in the business.

    [I haven't worked in a restaurant in a very long time, but I do work in a related area and have a lot of chefs and cooks as customers.]


    Well working in a restaurant is a bit different from a bakery from my understanding.

    I mean with just a restaurant you're spending a long while going through prepping ingredients and then are basically setting up everything when someone orders something.

    With a bakery you generally have to time everything out and are just getting everything out on a set rotation that can make things a little more relaxed (may be why I always hear of women being more interested in working in bakeries over restaurants).

    Though even if you are working in a restaurant doing desserts, there is a good chance you'd be going through some of your own ideas, just due to the fact that there's aren't a lot of pastry chefs around that can do nice desserts. I've heard of more than a few people that were fresh out of school getting some nice jobs in restaurants due to this.

    Also on the matter of getting a degree or not, a lot of the larger restaurants began making it fairly standard to require a degree for nicer positions just a few years ago. So I've heard of people that left their job as head chef (that they had for maybe 10 years or so) in a restaurant for a year or two, and when they tried to go back they got turned down due to lack of degree.