Culinary School. I want your opinion. - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-10-2009, 07:47 AM
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I'm sorry if this already exists somewhere, I didn't really find anything when I searched quite like this..

Anyway, I am currently a senior in highschool. I've been vegan for a little over a year and half, but I am REALLY interested in culinary arts- particularly becoming a (vegan) pastry chef. I know there are a few schools out there that cater to vegan/vegetarian needs, but heres what I'm thinking:

after talking to someone who went through culinary school and knows the field, she told me that I would have a better chance of finding a job if I didn't limit myself to JUST learning vegan baking. Not to say I could never end up being a vegan chef, but employers won't be interested in someone who only knows how to make vegan food. I'm sort of on the fence about this. I feel like I'd be compromising my beliefs- temporarily giving in, you know? But on the other hand I know it opens doors for me, where I could eventually be a solely vegan chef. (I would NOT change my lifestyle outside of the school.) Also, it would make actually going there easier because I have a lot more options school-wise (not just Texas or New York-I'm in California!). I mean, I already have a place to stay in San Francisco, should I chose to go there.







I would really like to hear your opinion on this. Am I horrible for even considering it?
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#2 Old 12-10-2009, 08:04 AM
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Here's another thread that's currently going on that is related:



https://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...uld-i-continue



It's up to you. I don't think I could do it though because I would feel guilty cooking/baking meals that contributed to animal cruelty. I wouldn't want to feel guilty about my job.
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#3 Old 12-10-2009, 08:26 AM
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I don't know where you are from, but here in the US the culinary market is saturated with culinary school graduates. I *almost* went to culinary school when I finished high school. Looking back now seven years down the road, I am glad that I did not. I have several friends who went to culinary school to be chefs... who are now washing dishes with their degrees. There are many graduates and not enough positions - and this was before the economy tanking. With people spending even less on luxuries now...



Along with that for me, culinary school centers around meat and dairy. If I am not going to consume either one, how am I going to perfect them on how they taste? And I know for sure I cannot be around those smells. It makes me ill when I walk past Burger King - how would I survive in a kitchen?
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#4 Old 12-10-2009, 08:30 AM
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If I were you, I would do it. Follow your dreams - you know where you want this path to take you, it will involve sacrifices to get there.
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#5 Old 12-10-2009, 08:35 AM
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I would check out the natual chef program at Bauman College: http://www.baumancollege.org/programs/natural-chef.html



They are one of the few schools that will support vegan and vegetarian aspiring chefs.
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#6 Old 12-10-2009, 08:50 AM
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In all honesty, I think if you are serious about being vegan you might be really unhappy being around animal products. But guess what? I think you should follow your heart and do what you think will make you happy. You are far too young to be cynical and not try something because it might not work out. People all the time will tell you your major is useless - I've even heard people say business majors are useless. But at least you are trying, and will never be left wondering what might have been. I don't think I would be able to work with meat. I can't stomach the thought of it. That doesn't mean you are me, and maybe you can. No one should judge you for that. Go for your dreams, but maybe make extra sure that's the only way (for you) to do it.
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#7 Old 12-10-2009, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiran View Post

I would check out the natual chef program at Bauman College: http://www.baumancollege.org/programs/natural-chef.html



They are one of the few schools that will support vegan and vegetarian aspiring chefs.



I have never heard of them. Wow...



Well, with that solved I would say that if you really want to be a chef, I would say go for it as well. I am not sure how that would go on finding a job outside a vegan/veg restaurant, but I would go there and use it to open my own vegan restaurant.
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#8 Old 12-10-2009, 02:12 PM
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I wouldn't do it. Take the food network for example, lots of the people on there with shows never even went to culinary school. Many people that open up bakeries and stuff...the same. Take for example Babycakes NYC...if you look at the book it says the author got her master's in English.

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#9 Old 12-10-2009, 02:14 PM
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I don't know.....vegan pastries can be enjoyed by anyone, omnivore, vegetarian, or vegan, so I don't see an argument about learning to cook non-vegan items as valid.....it's not like you're expanding your products, like people "have" to have eggs in their baked goods. They don't. .....and I think vegan baked goods tastes 10 x better, from what I remember.
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#10 Old 12-10-2009, 02:17 PM
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I think you should be able to cook anything as a chef, regardless of your own personal dietary choices, and once you've mastered the basics, you're free to break any rules you like or specialize in anything. Culinary school just gives you a bit of credit for when you're looking to break into the business. There are a few celebrity chefs that are not classically trained, but they're few and far between as far as I know.
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#11 Old 12-10-2009, 05:14 PM
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If you go to a regular culinary school, be prepared to handle a LOT of meat, fish & dairy. Once you graduate, if you get a job in a non-vegan restaurant, be prepared for a few more years of the same.



I'll PM you the website of the chef I take vegan cooking classes from. He might (well, 100% chance he will) have more insight and some advice.

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#12 Old 12-10-2009, 06:42 PM
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Its a tough call but id say stick to vegan stuff. Who wants to be surrounded by meat, dairy and eggs? Ugh!
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#13 Old 12-11-2009, 04:21 PM
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If I'm going to a pastry chef would I ever really be handling meat?

Thank you to everyone who replied, I'm so confused about this!

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#14 Old 12-11-2009, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by measuringcups View Post

If I'm going to a pastry chef would I ever really be handling meat?

Thank you to everyone who replied, I'm so confused about this!




As a pastry chef, no you will not be dealing with meat. You will be dealing with truckloads of dairy and eggs though. If you can deal with the smells of that, than I would go for it. I think the real question here is what you are aiming for exactly in terms of a career. Are you aiming to be employed or to employ?
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#15 Old 12-12-2009, 08:37 PM
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Well, here's my thing:

the smell of dairy doesn't disgust me. From what I remember, dairy is pretty good-tasting...it's the exploitation of the animals part that disgusts me. So I'm not really worried about being nauseous or anything, I grew up around the smell, I'm pretty used to it.

I guess I'm wanting to be employed at first, but in the very very VERY long run, possibly employ?



My concern is that, I feel like I'm being hypocritical and supporting the dairy industry indirectly (but still supporting nonetheless) by enrolling in a class that focuses around their products, you know what I mean?
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#16 Old 12-13-2009, 10:53 PM
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I think you should do it. I think its a small price to pay for you to learn how to cook with dairy and eggs (or even meat), and then to go on and become a vegan chef Which will help the vegan cause in the long run
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#17 Old 12-13-2009, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veg_blondie View Post

I think you should do it. I think its a small price to pay for you to learn how to cook with dairy and eggs (or even meat), and then to go on and become a vegan chef Which will help the vegan cause in the long run

Yeah but a lot of the famous vegan chefs probably never went to formal culinary school anyways.



For example, Coleen Patrick-Goureau (who is one of my favorite vegan cookbook writers) got her Masters in English.

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