Technically this week is spring break with spring term starting on Tuesday. However, after much debating and personal reevaluation about my culinary school experience, I came to the difficult decision of not continuing into my spring semester. I certainly do not regret my previous two semesters in culinary school. I have developed a foundation of basic skills but would rather pursue a job or internship aligning with my career goals.
But there wasn’t a job/internship lined up yet.There were few evening spent skimming through criaglist listings looking for what was available. A part of me thought I was not qualified with enough experience to pursue a restaurant job. There were many discussions with two of my closest classmates about the pros and cons of withdrawing — I was nearly finished with the program but I would have to shell out a couple more thousand dollars to paid for the internship component. My culinary development benefited from learning the techniques and culinary vocabulary, utilizing new products, collaborating with my teammates to produce creative, delicious dishes, and listening to the suggestions and advice of my instructors. The most negative aspect of my experience was dealing with the immaturity and unpreparedness of a majority of my classmates. It got pretty old listening to my instructors spending a part of the lecture scolding my classmates for not completing their work. The discussion during lecture and production was not intellectually stimulating, many of them seemed unsure about why they were in culinary school, and most days felt like everyone was just “working” to cook, eat, clean, and leave for their afternoon naps. Of course, not everyone was like this, but when you are with the same group for an entire semester, frustration grows.
It will be bittersweet not starting class again on Tuesday, to my surprise though I already have a non-compensated apprenticeship with a local vegetarian restaurant lined-up and will be starting a kitchen job at another vegan/vegetarian/raw food restaurant next week! I thought I would be in a funemployment state for at least a few weeks but I think taking the risk to put myself out there by contacting the restaurant and soundly articulating my culinary/career goals during my interviews reaped quick, positive responses. I can’t wait to begin this new aspect of my culinary experience.