Backstage Pass to Anything Culinary

You may not realize this, but I hope you do, and I hope you’ve been taking full advantage of it:

AS A CULINARY STUDENT, YOU HAVE ACCESS TO ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING FOOD!

It’s true, and today was a great example of that. Our school arranged for us to have a tour of Darden’s brand new corporate offices. If you’re not familiar with Darden, they fully own and operate a myriad of leading restaurants such as Red Lobster, Olive Garden and Season’s 52. Regardless of whether you dine in those restaurants, agree/disagree with their food production philosophies and cooking methods, their state-of-the-art, outrageous, dreamy, and possibly close to being the 8th wonder of the culinary world facilities are to be respected and envied.

They exposed their entire corporate world to us, providing a snapshot into their operations and manufacturing. It was fascinating to learn how the finished product begins as a concept and eventually becomes part of a menu through months of testing, and how that recipe is then plated across the country, without variation. That’s just one part of it; marketing, advertising, HACCP and training are simultaneously integrated x 720+ restaurants for Olive Garden alone.

As a student, you can get a backstage pass to places like Darden, Borden, Kraft, and other culinary giants, as well as just about any culinary-related place you’d like to visit, and you should be taking advantage of it before you graduate. Because once you have your diploma or certificate, those doors close.

Companies are very willing to share their insights and learning materials with you for many reasons: you’re all potential employees or interns; you’re a great free marketing tool by telling people about your experience (I’m already talking about Darden…see how that marketing thing works?); and despite any pettiness you may have experienced in the kitchen, the corporate culinary world is quite excited to share with students.

All it takes is a phone call and a simple question: I’d like to arrange a tour of your (facility, kitchen, office, etc.) for our culinary class; with whom can I speak? You’d be surprised how excited people get, and how much they’re willing to share.

I hope you get to see some neat things, like we did today! When you do, or if you have, tell us about it here.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            3 Program(s) Found
            L'Ecole Culinaire , Saint Louis
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            4 Program(s) Found
            Virginia College , Chattanooga
            • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
            • Ranked #3 in Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2014 by Military Times.
            • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
            • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
            • Has 27 campus locations across the southern United States, plus offers online degree programs.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            3 Program(s) Found
            • First opened its doors in 1980 as the Academy of Medical Art and Business.
            • Students can choose from a variety of diploma or degree programs, as well as continuing education courses.
            • Provides programs in massage therapy, dental assisting, criminal justice, cake decorating, and more.
            • 7.5 acre campus is located in the foothills of Blue Mountain, north of Harrisburg, PA.
            • Involved with many community service organizations, including the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank (CPBB), March of Dimes, and Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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            • Accredited
            • Financial Aid
            3 Program(s) Found
            • A part of the Select Education Group (SEG).
            • Offers several scholarship and financial aid opportunities for students who qualify.
            • California campuses accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), and accreditation for the Salem campus from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
            • 4 Campuses located in Clovis, Modesto, and Redding in California, and Salem, Oregon.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits