That quote was from the Control Data Institute commercials that used to show afternoons on the UHF stations. Seeing how things have worked out, I'd rather have that plush mailman retirement benefit package.
Today, the ads are for medical assistants, truck driving (not so much), and the Academy of Art (here in SF). These are the same job mills as the Control Data and others of its day. The biggest scam? The California Culinary Academy. The ads run all the time and they promise to teach you "how to be a Chef." So, the first words you hear from them are an outright lie. The will teach you how to start to be a cook. That's quite a different thing. Cook's make $10 an hour with no benefits.
I applied to the Culinary Institute of America in 1983. I wasn't accepted. They had a strict rule that any applicant have 2 years full time experience before they would be considered. Back then, they only accepted 400 some students a year. Classes were no bigger than 12, the Instructor's were legends in the industry, and the degree guaranteed a good position and future. By the time I got out of the Army, the school had expanded to 1200 students a year and the two year previous experience requirement had been dropped. I had a guaranteed in- thru my time on the Army's Culinary Art's Team, I'd met several of the instructor's and administrators. Nice guys who told me that I'd be welcome.
Instead, I went home to Detroit. I was losing my High School Girlfriend and figured that the only way to keep her was to move back home. It was quite clear the first day back that I'd figured wrong. That, however, wasn't a mistake I regret. The next five years led me on a wild trip thru the best extended adolescence I could imagine.
The really poor judgment call was to not start at the Golden Mushroom as a dishwasher when Chef Milos (think God, with a toque) offered me an apprenticeship. Full of myself, I instead went to work at the Hyatt for $2 an hour more . . . and no real training what so ever. I missed a great training experience, one that I regret each moment when I'm confronted with some gap in my knowledge. Damn, I'd know how to tell edible from poisonness morels if I'd taken the gig with Milos. Not that I've killed anyone. But, I have spent a good portion of my career sneaking back to look stuff up.
Why am I sopping on about this? Because I've been asked to speak at a high school culinary arts program and I feel a bit stoopid, kind of like the smoker with the whole in the throat giving a public service announcement. And, I truly can't recommend this career to anyone. I've gotten by and ahead thru just as much luck, right time/right place, as hard work. Also, I don't have a wife or kids- the innocent by-standers of a very tough career. Sure, you don't mind working Christmas morning when your 19 and single. But, it's quite a different thing to realize you may never have a Christmas morning with your kids.
Think I'll turn down the request. My best advice would be to sign up for an apprenticeship program (there's one, on the peninsula, about 12 students a year) and at least you'll end up ahead of the game financially and experience wise. The apprenticeship will get you a better degree (the Cordon Bleu "Degree" has not one transferable class) and you'll not be in debt at the end. My eyes popped to see that these CCA grads are ending up with an eventual payoff of almost $100k.
When I saw Shrek The Third a few weeks ago, I was unimpressed. It wasn't the tired gags and pointless story- no, it was the animation. In some ways it was too good, so real looking, and therefore not impressive as animation. I wondered if some point had been crossed and we'd lost a sense of wonder to better code writing.
And then I saw Ratatouille. Wow. A great movie and great animation. It is so beautiful because it sparkles with imagination. Somehow, the Pixar group has found a way to anthropomorphize animals while still retaining the cartoon aspect that keeps the slapstick sharp. They've also just maintained a sense of wonder about their films. There's a scene where the rat end up in a flood and the quality of the water is awesome. Just awesome.
As a chef, I will be plagued by all the kitchen questions. So let me just throw out some simple answers
The food is wonderful, it actually looks like French Laundry plates. There's a reason for that.
No, don't try to make the ratatouille at home. I'll try a couple of batches, get the technique down, then publish it.
Yes they are real ranges and stoves. They are a French made product, infinitely better than a Vulcan Range.
Of course it's not all real. The woman was actually tall enough to use the equipment. Most aren't
All the cooking advice is legit.
The story is well done and the animation rocks- what else do you really need to know?
Oh, yeah, the stoves. The are Cornue stations- at $36k for a small one like this. Is it worth. Yeah, buddy, they are. First, they are made of strong brass fitting parts. You can open the oven door, stand on it, and the only damage will be to your shoes 'cause I forgot to tell you to make sure the oven was off. Other treats: under the burners are three inch deep trays that you fill with an inch of water. This innovation is like birthday gift from God if you've ever had to clean under the burners. What else? They look cool and can be configured in any way you want, a huge benefit for any awkwardly shaped kitchen. I got to work on these up at the CIA Greystone and almost cried my last day, thinking of the beaten up Vulcan line of stoves and burners I had waiting back home.