Author Topic: $200k for a culinary degree???  (Read 1362 times)

CaptJacks

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$200k for a culinary degree???
« on: October 15, 2017, 02:49:00 PM »
So here is the scenario:
My step-daughter is a Junior in HS (good school, great grades, all around good kid).  She has always wanted to be a pastry chef and I have been encouraging her to work for one of the local bakeries to gain some skills and experience and go from there.  Personally I don't think it's a career that requires a degree (maybe a certificate for some advanced skills at most).  The starting salary is a mere $25k with a mid career of only $40k.  Unfortunately I am the only one offering her this advice.  Every other adult in her life is telling her to go to a 4 year university and "not to worry about the money"....or more specifically "That's what loans and Parents are for".  The school she has decided on runs a massive $200k+ all in for a full degree for a job that is going to pay about 10% of that annually.  This however doesn't seem to register with anyone but me. Her Teachers and other adults have her absolutely convinced that you can't flip a burger without a Bachelor's degree. Has anyone else run into this?  Any advice on navigating the college years?
« Last Edit: October 15, 2017, 02:51:45 PM by CaptJacks »

pbkmaine

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2017, 03:26:24 PM »
What state does she live in?

englishteacheralex

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2017, 03:55:33 PM »
That is insane.

I have no idea how to help you or her, other than making absolutely sure that you don't sign anything involving a student loan for this nonsense. If at all humanly possible, don't allow your spouse to do so, either. Can't do anything about her other parent, probably.

I doubt she could get a student loan of that size without a parent cosigning. Be the bad guy. This is one of those circumstances where it would save her from a huge amount of regret.

BTW: I've worked as a cook in restaurant kitchens and have a very good friend who was a pastry chef. It's a fun job in your twenties for the right kind of person. Trying to do it while raising children wouldn't be my idea of fun (the hours are crazy!). Culinary arts skills can be valuable on the job market and can totally be a viable career path, obviously, but not for 200k. I have a friend who is a personal chef; took her a lot of work to get established in her business but she makes good money now and has a pretty good work/life balance. Know what she never had, though? Huge student loans.

The way to do it is to spend a lot of time in restaurant kitchens getting skills and then maybe get an associate's degree in culinary arts for 15k max. This is one of those fields where experience and work ethic count for way, way, WAY more than pedigree.

Good luck. This would be a nightmare for me.
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nereo

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2017, 05:56:21 PM »
Quote
The way to do it is to spend a lot of time in restaurant kitchens getting skills
+1 from another person who's been through the restaurant biz.
Working as a dishwasher, pantry boy/girl, or prep cook will be the most valuable experience there is.  The washout rate for 18-20 year olds in culinary school is insane - people think "i love to cook and I love food network" but that isn't even remotely enough. Anyone who enters culinary school having spent a year doing the lowest-paid grunt work in a restaurant (or bakery) will be head-and-shoulders above most of the class.
Ironically some of the most talented home cooks wash out while those that who can follow the military-like precision of a commercial kitchen tend to survive. To paraphrase my old boss - 'it's easy to find someone who can cook.  It's damn hard to find people who can work in a kitchen day in, day out"
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Laura33

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2017, 06:52:56 PM »
I honestly think pastry chefs are a different breed -- it is as much science as art, and a high degree of patience and attention to detail is critical to do it well.  For someone who is serious about being a pastry chef, I think schooling is important to get a firm grounding in the science and various techniques. 

That said, $200k is fucking insane.  My brother went to cooking school -- to be a pastry chef, as it happens -- and his total bill was in the $25-50k range.  Which is STILL batshit crazy on a cost-return basis.*

I agree with the idea of community college -- start there, get some basic learning under her belt,** get a job/internship somewhere, see if she likes the work and the ridiculously early hours, and go from there.

*Totally worth it in his case, but he's a unique situation.

**Added bonus that she can take some business/accounting/restaurant management type of classes in case she's interested in opening her own shop someday.
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pbkmaine

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2017, 07:27:12 PM »
You know, you don’t have to treat this as an either/or. A lot of kids take a gap year. Why can’t she take a “gap year” to do a pastry apprenticeship and then reevaluate at the end of a year?

tralfamadorian

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2017, 07:41:51 PM »
$200k?!  That is insane.  She could go to the best pastry school in the world for 22k euro:
https://www.ferrandi-paris.com/intensive-professional-program-french-pastry

CaptJacks

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2017, 09:35:10 PM »
$200k?!  That is insane.  She could go to the best pastry school in the world for 22k euro:
https://www.ferrandi-paris.com/intensive-professional-program-french-pastry

Ha brilliant.  I'm showing her this.

CaptJacks

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2017, 09:45:36 PM »
I'm with you guys.  I was just floored.  Obviously I'm not signing anything and at least my wife is on my side so I don't have to worry about her signing anything either. 
She has been taking classes throughout HS and she is open to getting a summer job in the field....part of that is out of my hands though....Bio Dad doesn't want her to work but I won't dive into that drama.
I am sure over the next few months the excitement of a new school will fade and I will be able to get her to start thinking about the financial side of things.
But hot damn that's a lot of cheddar.

pbkmaine

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2017, 01:45:29 AM »
It’s not being a pastry chef, but there are valuable degrees in hospitality. My alma mater, Cornell, has a hotel school that is one of the best in the world. My roommate was in it, and she came out of there ready and able to design and run a restaurant. Graduates are in high demand. Cornell is very pricey, but Michigan State, Virginia Tech, University of Central Florida, UNLV and a number of state schools have strong programs as well.

https://thebestschools.org/rankings/best-hospitality-degree-programs/

CaptJacks

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2017, 08:20:00 AM »
Itís not being a pastry chef, but there are valuable degrees in hospitality. My alma mater, Cornell, has a hotel school that is one of the best in the world. My roommate was in it, and she came out of there ready and able to design and run a restaurant. Graduates are in high demand. Cornell is very pricey, but Michigan State, Virginia Tech, University of Central Florida, UNLV and a number of state schools have strong programs as well.

https://thebestschools.org/rankings/best-hospitality-degree-programs/

This is a good point and I will definitely bring up the suggestion.  Thank you

dcheesi

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2017, 08:27:20 AM »
Somebody recently (re)posted this article/podcast about tipping and payscales in restaurants; among other things, it describes the extremely out-of-whack relationship between culinary school prices and expected income in the field...

http://freakonomics.com/podcast/danny-meyer/

LadyMuMu

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2017, 08:53:20 AM »
She should ask the best pastry chefs in your area what their career path was, what skills they would recommend honing, etc. I have an old high school friend who is a pastry chef in the foodie areas of the West Coast. Because of rapid closings of new restaurants/high end bakeries, I think he's had about 20 different jobs (involving moves) in the past 10 years. I have another friend who is a trained pastry chef but now is a SAHM with a side hustle of specialty cakes and baked goods made out of her home. I had a relative go through the Cornell program mentioned above. After about 10 very successful but hectic years, she went back to school to become an ER nurse in a trauma hospital in a major metropolitan area because it was "less stressful."

KCM5

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2017, 09:20:14 AM »
I had a relative go through the Cornell program mentioned above. After about 10 very successful but hectic years, she went back to school to become an ER nurse in a trauma hospital in a major metropolitan area because it was "less stressful."

That's awesome!

But really, if she wants to be a pastry chef, she needs to get a job in a kitchen or bakery. She's never held a job, I take it from your bio dad disagreement? Call it an internship and get on it. She can have one next summer, I'm sure.

Goldielocks

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2017, 11:35:00 AM »
I would recommend the 2 year trade certificate for "baker" or "chef", followed by a degree of her choice, later, if she chooses.

Here, this Journeyman certificate is the ticket to work, and it is highly in demand outside of urban centres, although this career still does not pay too much, lucky to get $15/hr.   It is so in demand, that along with trades like "pipe fitting" "welding", and "refrigeration", it is included on the list of programs the province pays extra grant money to students for.   So a low income student could get their journeyman ticket for free, including relocation and living costs in the city while studying.

By taking the 4 year degree later, she can focus on the trade skills now, figure out what she likes about it through her work placements, figure out how she wants to make a career out of it, (it is a diverse industry) and then have a chance at federal loans and get funding as an "independent" student when older than 22.  (no parents on FAFSA).

Cranky

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2017, 01:14:00 PM »
I can think of a lot of paths to a restaurant career- in my area, the local state university offers a hospitality degree for a whole lot less than $200,000 (probably about $35,000 over 4 years without any f/a), but that's really for people interested in management.

The county adult ed/career center offers various culinary certifications.

Or, you can just get a job and cook.

One of my dd's friends is a baker at Sam's Club and does beautiful work. She started by taking a Wilton cake decorating class.

EricEng

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2017, 04:27:08 PM »
What is unclear from the OP is what she would be studying at school  I get the impression she would be getting a general 4 year liberal arts degree of some sort rather than a pastry chef degree.  I also sense a great deal of hostility from the OP against 4 year degrees with some possible exaggeration and sensationalism on the cost.

The only way it will cost $200k is if you send them to a fancy out of state private school.  She can go to a local state school and live at home if you are close for much less in most any state.  That handles the cost argument.

As for your view that a 4 year degree is a waste...that depends.  There are many jobs these days that applicants will not even be considered for without a 4 year degree.  Could they do the work without a degree?  Probably, but they won't be considered to prove it.  The 4 year degree will give her a lot of options down the road and broaden her view of the world.  If she were to get a 4 year engineering degree, that is worth it's weight in gold.  4 year degree in History/Philosophy?  Worth $200k?  No.  Worth $35k?  Maybe.

TempusFugit

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2017, 04:38:35 PM »
What is unclear from the OP is what she would be studying at school  I get the impression she would be getting a general 4 year liberal arts degree of some sort rather than a pastry chef degree.  I also sense a great deal of hostility from the OP against 4 year degrees with some possible exaggeration and sensationalism on the cost.

The only way it will cost $200k is if you send them to a fancy out of state private school.  She can go to a local state school and live at home if you are close for much less in most any state.  That handles the cost argument.

As for your view that a 4 year degree is a waste...that depends.  There are many jobs these days that applicants will not even be considered for without a 4 year degree.  Could they do the work without a degree?  Probably, but they won't be considered to prove it.  The 4 year degree will give her a lot of options down the road and broaden her view of the world.  If she were to get a 4 year engineering degree, that is worth it's weight in gold.  4 year degree in History/Philosophy?  Worth $200k?  No.  Worth $35k?  Maybe.

Seconded.  The post is ambiguous.  Are people encouraging her to get a culinary degree for that money or just a 'degree in something'? 

Perhaps the hope is that she will find something else to do for a vocation and will 'grow out of' this idea of working in a kitchen. 

In either case, the $200K figure is very high.  Unfortunately, we do live in a society where a degree is sort of a 'job license' for most any field, probably for several reasons. 

I think the best course is for her to get a job in a kitchen and see what it's really like and maybe she will soon decide that it isn't what she thought.  If she likes it, there's a good chance she can move on to better kitchens and jobs without any kind of degree, assuming she has talent.  If she really wants to get a culinary degree after having done it for a while, at least you can have more confidence that she will stick with it. 

Goldielocks

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2017, 06:46:26 PM »
What is unclear from the OP is what she would be studying at school  I get the impression she would be getting a general 4 year liberal arts degree of some sort rather than a pastry chef degree.  I also sense a great deal of hostility from the OP against 4 year degrees with some possible exaggeration and sensationalism on the cost.

The only way it will cost $200k is if you send them to a fancy out of state private school.  She can go to a local state school and live at home if you are close for much less in most any state.  That handles the cost argument.

As for your view that a 4 year degree is a waste...that depends.  There are many jobs these days that applicants will not even be considered for without a 4 year degree.  Could they do the work without a degree?  Probably, but they won't be considered to prove it.  The 4 year degree will give her a lot of options down the road and broaden her view of the world.  If she were to get a 4 year engineering degree, that is worth it's weight in gold.  4 year degree in History/Philosophy?  Worth $200k?  No.  Worth $35k?  Maybe.

Seconded.  The post is ambiguous.  Are people encouraging her to get a culinary degree for that money or just a 'degree in something'? 

Perhaps the hope is that she will find something else to do for a vocation and will 'grow out of' this idea of working in a kitchen. 

In either case, the $200K figure is very high.  Unfortunately, we do live in a society where a degree is sort of a 'job license' for most any field, probably for several reasons. 


I think I found the school...
$150k for 4 year tuition and 10 meals a week.  Plus accommodation, and 11 more meals, maybe transportation to get there...  $200k.
https://www.ciachef.edu/cia-new-york-tuition-and-fees/

tralfamadorian

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2017, 08:45:22 AM »
Johnson & Wales is another at $46k/yr including room and board.  Culinary schools are like art schools:  $$$ in >> $ out.  Even then the wash out rates for culinary school graduates in real jobs is supposedly very high particularly for those without prior working experience in the industry.  It turns out that working 12 hours/day 6 days/week for $10/hr often with forced off the clock overtime isn't what they expected. (source: family in the business)

EricEng

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2017, 09:31:03 AM »
Quote
I think I found the school...
$150k for 4 year tuition and 10 meals a week.  Plus accommodation, and 11 more meals, maybe transportation to get there...  $200k.
https://www.ciachef.edu/cia-new-york-tuition-and-fees/
Well that confirms the suspicion of private school college with excessive cost.  Same for Johnson & Wales being private. 

She could probably find a culinary degree at a public university for $25-50k, depending on housing costs as well.

soccerluvof4

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Re: $200k for a culinary degree???
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2017, 01:24:10 PM »
Yikes! thats nuts. I know for a fact because friends of mine have daughters in school for the same thing you can go for less than half of that at the least!
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