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School or not? - Page 2

post #16 of 30
Thread Starter 
Hmmm okay. Thank you for uour imput! Very helpful!
post #17 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlyT View Post

Tuition would be about 11, 000

My mouth literally flew open when I read that! NOT WORTH IT!

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Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
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post #18 of 30
$11K is actually pretty reasonable for a pastry certificate program. The pastry program at French Culinary Institute in California was ~$25K back in 2007, it is now over $30K. Of course it is only a reasonable cost if you will benefit from it proportionately.
post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post

$11K is actually pretty reasonable for a pastry certificate program. The pastry program at French Culinary Institute in California was ~$25K back in 2007, it is now over $30K. Of course it is only a reasonable cost if you will benefit from it proportionately.

That's the thing! I worked in 1 real bakery for 6-7 months, and an 100% self taught. I made $11,000 in my first 6 months of business, out of my garage, with no advertising, I didn't have to spend it!

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Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
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post #20 of 30

Hey AlyT,

     I started my own home business 4 years ago and I'm completely self-taught. The great thing about getting started now a days is that so many things are accessible online. You can youtube SO many things now (and nearly all of the basics) and what you can't learn online, you can probably find other cakers near you that teach cake classes. I agree with others though that some sort of business/finance background would be helpful if you want to start your own business although you can hire others to do that for you. 


In my humble opinion, I would suggest saving the $11,000 and invest in taking classes from known cakers and experimenting on cake recipes. There are a ton of great recipes here on CC too. Good luck with whatever avenue you take! 

Jennifer

Salt Cake City

post #21 of 30

If you want to know how to decorate cakes maybe take cake decorating classes at Michel's or some other store. It will give you the base and you could use Youtube, facebook, Internet etc... to pick up some extra techniques. If you want to start a business you could probably take a small business course. I live in Montreal, and these courses are short usual, in the evening, and inexpensive. Here, culinary school is more for if you want to bake for restaurants. It really depends on what you want to do. My husband owns his own business but he never took a business course. I tool a business management and accounting course in college... but you can always pay someone to do that part for you, or get a partner who is better at that part.

post #22 of 30

Well... from the other end of the spectrum, I went to pastry school and I think it was beyond worth it. My original goal was to learn the science behind baking- mission accomplished. But my horizons were broadened as well and I did a lot of things I never thought I'd do, developed skills in techniques I never thought useful to cake decorating and every aspect of every class (from artisan breads to plated desserts) has improved my decorating skills. 

 

For me, personally, I learn a lot better in a classroom environment rather than dvd's and youtube videos because I can ask questions, work with others, learn from my (and others') mistakes- not only what when wrong but why it went wrong and how to fix it if it goes wrong next time. I still use videos to supplement what I've learned, but I found my education to be invaluable.

 

And probably the most valuable aspect was learning cost efficiency. How to effectively cost out finished product. I can't tell you how much that has changed how I price cakes.

 

One last reason I found pastry school helpful- the industry contacts. 

 

So... pastry school might not be for everybody, but it definitely worked for me. 

post #23 of 30

Many culinary schools offer cake decorating as continuing-ed courses which you take and pay for as you want. They cost about $300 and are offered evenings/weekends.  The credits don't apply to a degree but they are well taught.

 

Other than that, working in foodservice provides a lot of on-the-job training in basic skills. 

post #24 of 30

French Pastry School here in Chicago is $17k for a 16 week course. I'd take it in a heartbeat if someone else paid! 

 

If you spend $11k on this course where do you see it taking you? I'd suggest getting some real bakery/cake shop experience before committing to that kind of expense. 

elsewhere.
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elsewhere.
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post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by akrainis View Post

Well... from the other end of the spectrum, I went to pastry school and I think it was beyond worth it. My original goal was to learn the science behind baking- mission accomplished. But my horizons were broadened as well and I did a lot of things I never thought I'd do, developed skills in techniques I never thought useful to cake decorating and every aspect of every class (from artisan breads to plated desserts) has improved my decorating skills. 

 

For me, personally, I learn a lot better in a classroom environment rather than dvd's and youtube videos because I can ask questions, work with others, learn from my (and others') mistakes- not only what when wrong but why it went wrong and how to fix it if it goes wrong next time. I still use videos to supplement what I've learned, but I found my education to be invaluable.

 

And probably the most valuable aspect was learning cost efficiency. How to effectively cost out finished product. I can't tell you how much that has changed how I price cakes.

 

One last reason I found pastry school helpful- the industry contacts. 

 

So... pastry school might not be for everybody, but it definitely worked for me. 

Maybe that's part of the thing with me, I HATED school. I dropped out of the 11th grade, and dropped out of my second year of college. I have been told (by my old shrink!) that I have "authority problems", I think it is silly, because I have never met anyone who has any authority over me ;-) I Love learning, I just hate stupid people! Can't stand to be around them. And I just like to learn at my pace. I hate to listen to the dullards in the class asking incessant questions about everything, when the rest of us have gotten it and would like to MOVE ALONG, PLEASE!!!

 

And the way teachers teach these days...I swear they find the "lowest common denominator" (if you know what I mean icon_twisted.gif )and just cater to their level. It is painful, and half the teachers are stupid, while the other half is really great, you just can't always chose who you get. I got my GED 5 years after I dropped out, didn't take any classes AT ALL, and rushed through it as fast as I could since it was my XH birthday and needed to get home. My scores were some of the highest in the state, so it is not an intelligence thing. I just hate school! So, I would see it as paying $11,000 to be tortured.

 

So, that is a question I would ask myself, too. Do I like school? If you liked school, go for it, but not until you do some self teaching and see if you have a knack for it. Talent cannot be taught, even if you spend $11,000,000. And then work for others to see if it is really something you would like to do. I haven't seen your cakes, and wouldn't tell you if they were terrible, anyway, most of us wouldn't. That is something you have to answer for yourself.

Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
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Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
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post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes View Post

And the way teachers teach these days...I swear they find the "lowest common denominator" (if you know what I mean icon_twisted.gif  )and just cater to their level.
This may be true during the period when education is compulsory (these days I would include undergraduate study in that definition), but when students are paying a significant amount of money for a graduate degree or specialized certificate they have more motivation to get something out of the class.

My wife's pastry certificate program was fast-paced and challenging, and she both enjoyed the experience and got a lot out of the program. Similarly to akrainis the goal was to focus on the science of the baking side, since we were originally planning to have a diverse menu of pastries with recipes modified to remove specific combinations of allergens. We eventually focused on cakes since they were the most profitable, but the pastry program probably cut our R&D time at least in half and contributed to the high quality of the recipes we ended up with. It's difficult to say how successful our business would have been without that foundation.

So the tuition was worth it for us, but it would not have been if we were just looking for decorating and basic business skills.
post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene View Post

Many culinary schools offer cake decorating as continuing-ed courses which you take and pay for as you want. They cost about $300 and are offered evenings/weekends.  The credits don't apply to a degree but they are well taught.

Agreed, these one-off courses are great for brushing up on specific skills. Actually having the credits for the degree doesn't mean nearly as much as skills and experience when you are talking about a trade like cake decorating, or when starting a business.
post #28 of 30

I loved culinary school and for me it was totally worth it. I did a two year pastry course too, but pastry courses aren't necessarily for cake decorators, it would depend what you want to get out of it, I agree with that. Learning how the industry works from the inside is a good thing.

post #29 of 30

I live in Ontario, Canada and we have this school:         

 

http://www.bonniegordoncollege.com/

 

It is more geared to decorating but they also teach the business end as well.   Maybe something like this would be more of what you are looking for.  I'm sure there are other schools like this one.

 

Good luck, it's a big decision.

Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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post #30 of 30
Thread Starter 
Oh wow. As of now I think I'm going to put school and pay our vehicle off and save then next year do it. As we will have to move for me to go to school. Maybe start doing cakes before this and see what I feel is best at that point. Thank you everyone for your opinions! Its nice to hear both sides to it.
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