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Cooking Courses

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Monday 29 December 2003 10.48pm
Hi, I'm interested in cooking and would like to find a one-year chef course suitable for me, and was wondering if anyone might be able to help...I'm looking for a professional diploma of some sort and would like to work in the London/Oxford area.

I've so far only found very expensive le cordon bleu courses and was hoping there may be a more affordable option out there. Are these expensive courses a waste of time? Thanks for any advice.
Monday 29 December 2003 10.52pm
I've moved this to the chatter section as this is unlikely to be an SE1-specific topic.

We used to have a Chef School at Butler's Wharf but it closed down a few years ago.

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Tuesday 30 December 2003 5.58pm
A friend of mine's girlfriend went on a year long course at leith's and went from being able burn a pot noodle to catering dinner parties within 6 months. I think they are quite costly but highly recommended.

I'm guessing there must be a catering college nearby.
Tuesday 30 December 2003 6.20pm
that'll be the very expensive cordon bleu course that he's talking about.

I think the full time course for a year starts at about 20k

In which case, I'd recomend flying to Thailand, Indonesia, China and India, and enrolling yourself on a cooking course in each of those places... a damn lot cheaper, and learn more than how to cook an egg in 137 different ways. Doing all those within a year, would set you back much less than 20k and a lot more fun too !

Tuesday 30 December 2003 7.20pm
Isn't Westminster Catering College in Vincent Square where Jamie 'Sainsbury's' Oliver went. Supposed to have an ace resturant where students try out their stuff to professional standards. Keep meaning to go for lunch but have not got round to it.

Think I've got the name right and have always assumed it is part of Westminster Kingsway College so would be more practical than posh.

Glad though that Biscuit Boy is being fed.

'Nother way round might be to phone some of the catering worker agencies that always seem to be advertising in the Standard and ask them which qualifications/courses rank.
Wednesday 31 December 2003 2.57pm
Thanks for your advice.
The idea of calling chef employment agencies is great but do you
know of any.
Does anybody have an idea of the hiararchy of chef schools in
Thanks again.
Friday 2 January 2004 7.40am
Daniel, why dont you phone one of the top hotels and ask if one of the lesser chefs could ask the greater chef what courses he would recommend?

and the porcine element takes to the sky...
Friday 2 January 2004 9.59am
Like I said the Evening Standard often has a full page of catering job adverts including a number of agencies. Don't know which day it is but assume the Standard website would help.

Found this link....
which might help.

Another idea, depending on what you might want to do with your qualification and as Jan suggests, is to contact possible employers eg the personnel departments of large hotels, and ask what they would like to see on a CV. Who knows someone might offer some form of day-release studentship.

An alternative, following on from Jai's suggestion, but which would only give you the basics but would be fun might be to take a job as a ski chalet host or similar. You get about 2 weeks training and then four months experimenting on guests with skiing, accommodation, and some cash thrown in.

I walked through Vincent Square two days ago. The catering college is part of Westminster Kingsway. The resturant is called 'The Vincent Rooms' and the menu looked great. They seem to do evenings as well as lunch and take bookings.
Sunday 4 January 2004 10.49am
I would certainly try to pick where you find work. It would be pointless (if you're trying to learn) to work in a place where there are no 'chefs' to learn their art from. I'd write some letters to the better known and respected restaurants with a brief CV but more about your passion for food. If you can fight your way into a junior role within the enviroment of a great chef, you'll benefit hugely from it.

Bloody hard work though...


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