Jonathan Dixon Narrates the Cooking School Experience
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WHY NOT CHECK OUT MY NEW (HOPEFULLY) INFORMATIVE Q&A BLOG: Le Guide Dixon.
I'd like to know:How many students per typical class?What's the attrition/retention rate for the school?Are there electives, certain optional classes that you can take, or does everyone go through the same rungs?thanks!
What are your thoughts on the extracurriculars? Do you participate in competitions, or clubs; or would it be a better use of time to work in a restaurant, or volunteer to help the chef-instructors? Do you live in the dorms - and how well-stocked are the dorm kitchens?
Why pay $90,000 for an education that only pays $20,000-$40,000 starting out and most likely caps out at $60,000? Is the CIA a gimmick? Do students think or hope to be the next Bourdain or any other celeb-chef? Is the CIA (or J&W, LE C.B. or any other high dollar program) over selling the 1 and a million chance of becoming "famous?" Therefore exploiting people's hopes and dreams while down playing the reality of a massive school debt with minimal income potential? To get to the heart of my question: Is the CIA (or any other expensive culinary school) really worth it? and why?
I know this isn't a forum, but I have to respond to jmbollman's posting.New York State requires teachers to have master's degrees in order to teach. Is it worth it to spend 6 years and over $100,000 for a job with starting pay of $30,000?Couldn't you pose these same questions about any profession? I'm sure there are some "Bourdain" types out there but don't you have that with anything? A person has a goal, good for them!Is the CIA worth it? Maybe. Is MIT worth it? Maybe. Does what you do afterward matter? Yes. If you have a passion for cooking, teaching, etc. it'll be worth it to you.Also, Jonathan I love reading your postings. Keep it up!
I'd like to know if you still like food and cooking, I'm always surprised that some of the people I attend classes with dont really seem to be interested in cooking at home, which seems odd to me.I'd love to come to cooking school, but I'm too scared. If I get laid off one day then I'll consider it...
I also am curious about what jmbollman asked, but more specifically to Jonathan. How much is your culinary education costing you (actual dollar cost, but also opportunity cost of what else you could be doing). What do you hope to get out of it? What are your aspirations - chef, restaurateur, TV personality?Also how much flexibility is there in the curriculum? How much opportunity for experimentation? Your posts seem like it is fairly by the book, but for me the draw of culinary school would be so I could experiment.
I have been wondering if there are any women in your class.
I've got a few questions. Do you get to have recipes in front of you while you cook, or do you need to memorize them? Are the instructors all really as rude/mean as you hear about? And finally, are there people there who don't want to be chefs when the graduate. I.e. - they want to work in the food industry, but not necessarily in a restaurant, etc.Love reading your blog! Keep it up!
I have a question. It kind of goes hand in hand with the question Sarah asked, which is funny because my name is Sarah too:) I read a lot about it being a hard road for a woman to become a professional chef, that they are often given a harder time in the kitchen, not treated with the same respect etc. Do you notice any of this at CIA? are women treated differently than men in the class room by the teachers or students?
I have a specific food question: how do you cook red kidney beans so that the husks come out tender rather than chewy? I've tried a number of approaches and the husks always remain tough.
I've tried making meats with mustard-based crusts on a couple of occasions - dijon mustard with panko, dijon mustard with breadcrumbs, and even just dijon mustard with herbs (no breading). The meat usually turns out alright, and it even tastes good, but I can never really get that bright, mouthwatering mustard flavor that I've tasted on similar dishes in restaurants. Do you have any advice? Do I need to use something beyond just dijon mustards?
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