My story is a little weird...
While working a part-time job to help pay my way through college, I developed a HUGE crush on one of the bakers at the bakery across the street from my workplace - in typical lovestruck-girl fashion, I applied for a job. Oddly enough, they hired me without any previous baking experience, and I began to split my time between the bakery and my other job. Though I was only mildly interested in baking when I started, I absolutely loved it. I loved the calm of the mornings (well, in that there weren't people all over the place, just us bakers), the fast pace, and the challenge of producing the perfect product (in taste, texture, and aesthetics) on a deadline. Unfortunately, the bakery was undergoing some management issues and the staff dynamics became fairly dysfunctional, and that combined with the fact that I was forced to move further away and did not own a car meant that I had to leave the job.
Now I'm finishing up my BA, but I HATE what I'm studying and am having a hard time seeing a future with my degree. So I'm wondering if culinary school is for me?
I really enjoy baking, and though I'm not SUPER at it yet, I would really like to see what I can do.
- I'm a smaller-than-average girl (5"2) and had some difficulties working in a bakery that was designed with much taller people in mind; I'm somewhat concerned that this kind of set-up is a trend and don't want to set myself up for a career in which back injury will play an important part. Are these concerns valid?
- While I really enjoyed my baking experience, the complications mentioned above cut it very short, meaning I was only working as a baker for about 4 months - enough time to really get a feel for what I was doing?
- The bakery I was at was strictly about bread, and (again, dysfunctional staff problems) both head bakers who had been training and teaching me left part-way through my training and the remaining staff liked to cut corners instead of doing a good job, and did not want to work with a female baker, leaving me to have to self-teach a number of things. I'm concerned that my existing skills won't be diverse enough to help me through culinary school (don't know if this is a problem or not - I never took any cooking classes in high school and don't know what to expect)
- I'm afraid that the kind of job I would be getting as the end-product of my culinary school education would be around the same pay as one without such an education, which is not that great.
I've spent the past 3-5 years working in food production and retail, though not in a restaurant setting, so I understand the demands on the environment I could be potentially myself into: I'm efficient, and work well under pressure, so I'm not the type to freak out when someone tells me to get my ass in gear. I would really like to study baking and pastry arts, but as it's going to require a lot of $$ no matter where I go, I would love some advice on whether or not it's advisable to proceed before actually committing - much too expensive to just take up on a whim.
Any advice/comments/shared experience would be highly valued! :)
Thanks so much for your time if you've manged to wade through this whole post!