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May 11, 2007 12:10 PM


Was wondering if anyone had any experience at either of the following Chef schools....George Brown or Liaison?....or had any othe suggestions for other institutes in the Toronto area....I was looking to start a program this Fall and I was looking for some personal experiences not just what the flyers say!....thanks

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  1. I went to George Brown for Chef Training about 10 years ago, so this may not be of any help... I went for the 9 month condensed program. To be honest with you, it did NOT prepare me for what I was in store for in the "real cooking environment"! It did, however give good knowledge of knife skills and basic terminology when you are in a working restaurant. They placed me at Jump Cafe and Bar, which in those day's was a great place in Toronto... Now not so much. I would suggest doing the shortest program, maybe even night classes just to get what you need out of the program. Because as I said when you get into a real working kitchen, the chef will be more then willing to tell you what's what, what to do, and how to do it. Also there are no shortage of cook positions in this city, and most really do not require anything more then a little experience and demonstrated skill, as the turn over is so high. As for the other cooking school you mentioned, I have heard nada about it so I can't comment.

    Good Luck, hope this helps!

    1. I am 3/4's of the way through my George Brown Chef's program (part time). If you could hold off for a year or two it might be a much better experience. They are currently converting a building at King, just past Jarvis to become a full time restaurant / practical training facility. Above the restaurant will be teaching classrooms / labs.

      My biggest gripe with George Brown is the curriculum. It is stuck somewhere around 1972 and focuses on classical sauces / techniques or diner favourites. This is set to change, but change comes slow in institutions. The kitchens in the main building are also slated for a make-over.

      In general there are some excellent instructors who are held back by the dated curriculum and aging facilities.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mila

        Thanks for taking the time to reply....I am looking into both schools from kind of a clueless point of view...but thank you again! I appreciate it!

      2. I'm in the 2 year gb co-op program now. I would definitely recommend that over the one year as half the time is spent in a real working environment.

        One program is an externship, the school has a pre-arranged list of places you can work at. The other is an apprenticeship, it is up to the student to find a gig themselves. The major difference is, the former doesn't get paid, while the latter does. School curriculum for both programs are the same.

        The recipes taught are indeed old school, but I also see them as necessary. You need to master these basic skills (stocks, sauces, knife skills) before you start going overboard w/ your rings and drizzled sauces all over the damn plate.

        Some instructors in particular are quite strict, especially with punctuality. It is an accurate reflection of the real world. Being late is unacceptable in the restaurant world.

        Liason is rated highly, however, they do not have a co-op program. At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter what school you go to. The degree doesn't get your far, it's just a piece of paper. Most important is real world experience.

        1 Reply
        1. re: aser

          thanks so much for your feedback I greatly appreciate it.....I ws at the GB discovery Day and I was looking to go check out Liason but I just didn't want to get taken by one of those little colleges...I have not gotten any advice on either school except for on here so again I appreciate you taking the time to share your insight.

        2. I went to GB for the one year chef training a couple years ago, and was greatly disappointed. There was not very much cooking done. Also, there are classes that I thought were unimportant and a waste of time and money, business communications (writing memos, sentence structure, etc.), Math (it was barely at a 6th grade level), and Computer Science (how to use a computer). Disgraceful! The food theory/history classes were easy, somewhat interesting, but to me seemed like an after thought and really had no connection to the practical part of the curriculam. As for the actual production classes, the chefs are very skilled, and excellent teachers (for the most part) and this is what I was there to learn and do. However, I think we may have had a total of 9hrs (at most) per week actually cooking something. To me this was unacceptable and I came away very disappointed.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Life of Pie

            I managed to get PLAR credit for a lot of the non cooking courses just based on work experience and previous education. Take a look into that because you can probably skip alot of the non food related courses.

            1. re: Life of Pie

              Indeed true, if you have any post-secondary background the non-cooking coures will seem like a waste of time. However, from the perspective of an 18 yr old fresh out of h.s., yes, they're life skills that's very much needed.

              If you don't want to waste time w/ such courses, you can opt out by getting them exempted. I got out of all of them.

              Dario Tomaselli formerly of Oro teaches one of my labs. Just to give you an indication on the quality of the instructors.

              The program is far from perfect, there are faults. Overall, I am happy w/ my experience.

            2. Does anybody have any experience with the Stratfood Culinary School? Or the one in the Niagara region?