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Lessons from an Entrepreneur: What Culinary School Taught Me About Business

News & Blog

Culinary School and Business

In my last blog, I talked about going to culinary school.  I was able to take quite a few things from there and apply them to my business, and visa versa.  I shared a few of my practice dishes with the office too, which could be considered an employee benefit, right?

Course: Essentials for Success

One of the first courses (thankfully) that really sets you up for what to expect and what’s expected of you.  The classes teach you how to study (it had been a minute), resume writing, and interviewing … great skills to learn, whether you are looking for a job or hire for a job.

The professor, Dr. B is a super guy that I have stayed in touch with.  Wicked smart, fast-talking, and says most of it through his hands, which are in constant motion.  He had great stories and tips and tricks and is a great professor.  It was a good exercise in goal setting and seeing the  big picture of the adventure I was about to embark on.

Course: Intro to Psychology

The scientific study of behavior and mental processes.  Lessons certainly not limited to those in the culinary arena.  This course was a lot of writing.  It involved a lot of critical thinking and problem-solving exercises.

This was an interesting course for me both personally and professionally.  Anything I can do to understand my family (especially Tom) and my co-workers is a plus!

Course: Procurement and Food Service Cost Control

It’s exactly what it sounds like, knowing what it costs to make it and how much to sell it for.  Profit and loss management is always a good thing to review, even when it’s for a different industry.  You can get stale when you look at the same reports month after month, year after year.  Looking at it from a different perspective was beneficial for me, as it made me look at MY business P&L with new eyes.

Course: Culture and Diversity

The importance of the humanities and critical thinkingProblem-solving, creative thinking, and proper responses.  This was an interesting course and another good exercise in understanding and interacting with others.  It was also a good reminder of why humanities is such an important factor in our growth as individuals and seeing things from other perspectives.

Course: Communications

This was a fun class.  We had to come in every day with a current news story and present it to the class.  There were a couple of PowerPoint presentations and a group project.  Another really smart professor who was full of information, including a lot of random bits.  He certainly has many topics to start a conversation!

Like, in 1904:

6% of Americans graduated from high school,

$0.22 per hour was the average wage in the US

There were 8000 cars in the US, and 144 miles of road were paved, 

and the max speed limit was 10 mph

It’s in this class where I heard the term, “perception is reality”, which is something my dad used to always say.  A good thing to remember when dealing with conflict resolution.  It also covered leadership styles, coaching, counseling, and writing to speak or present.  

In this class, we were also graded on how we presented.  Did we tell a funny story in the beginning to get everyone’s attention, or did we speak loud and clear enough?  Did we look at our audience, and was the content as instructed?  Great class.

Course: Front of House Management

I mention this one because it involves a lot of organization, preparation, knowledge of your role, and customer service.  My business is a competitive service business so customer service is huge.  Reminders of being all of these things with your customers in mind were healthy and positive for me.

Course: Supervision for Food Service

This class was fun because I was able to design a restaurant.  The building location, the design, the menu, staff, services, etc.  It also reinforced what I learned in other classes including the characteristics of a leader, management styles, conflict resolution, and employee development and motivation.

Overall, it was a fun and healthy brain exercise!  THAT’S what I call it.  No matter what you do in business, there are fundamentals across the board.  Reinforcing what I knew, in some cases, and learned left me feeling refreshed and ready to be more creative in my own work environment.

If you could go back to school, what would you go for?  

Until next time,

~dyanne

P.S. You can check out my culinary portfolio here.

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