Dorsey Schools Waterford Pontiac, MI Campus is home to various career training programs including our Culinary Arts program. The Waterford-Pontiac, MI campus is conveniently located in the heart of Oakland County on North Telegraph Road in Pontiac, MI within the Oakland Pointe Plaza (across the street from the old Summit Place Mall), and is surrounded by lively shops and restaurants. For men and women living throughout Oakland County looking to enter the culinary arts or perhaps the healthcare field, the various programs at the Waterford-Pontiac campus provide them with several paths to consider.
Waterford-Pontiac Michigan Culinary Art School Campus Tour
In order to get a proper sense of the Culinary Art School, we decided to take an in depth tour of the campus. We found our visit to the Waterford-Pontiac, MI campus to be extremely welcoming and warm. There is a strong sense of passion and family togetherness that many feel when they visit the campus and speak with the students and staff. It’s very clear that the staff loves what they do and that they want students to feel comfortable and welcome so they can truly learn and enjoy themselves at this Culinary Art School in Michigan.
Arriving at this Michigan Culinary Art School
When you arrive at this Dorsey Schools Culinary Art School in Michigan, one of the first things you may notice is that it is setup as a restaurant named Chez Commis (which means home of the apprentice). You may also notice that there’s a sign near the entrance that says “On Today’s Menu: Confidence, Discipline, Self-Esteem, Community, and Self-Reliance” – all of which are important aspects of the Culinary Arts program at Dorsey, which the teachers and staff wish to impart on the students.
The lobby and common area is also designed as a stylish restaurant dining area, and has a job postings board for students and graduates along with a plaque to show off the champions from various competitions that the culinary art school hosts.
The facilities also include 3 kitchens, each stocked with industry-current and industry-relevant equipment (check out the pics of some of the equipment below!). The campus also has its own garden where they grow various herbs and veggies. As part of their training at this Culinary Art School in Michigan, students will have the opportunity to learn in a practical, hands-on environment because courses not only take place in the classroom but also cooking classes in the kitchens as well. Students enrolled in the Culinary Arts program also receive a culinary toolkit as part of their program (see photo of their toolkit below).
In addition to our tour, we also had a chance to eat some of the delicious food prepared that day. The culinary students make platters of food each day as a part of their cooking classes and lessons, which they (along with other staff members), later get to taste and enjoy. For example, on the day we visited, one class prepared a variety of pizzas, another class prepared various dishes with French and British origins and the third class prepared various baked dished such as focaccia bread and cookies.
An Interview with the Director
Chef Schellig, a Dorsey instructor and Associate Director at the Waterford-Pontiac Culinary Art School, is the one who gave us a tour of the campus. He was also gracious enough to answer a few of our questions. Here’s what he had to say about the campus, and the culinary arts program at Dorsey in Pontiac, MI:
Q: What is your favorite thing about this Culinary Arts School in Michigan?
The feel of it. The people. Our number one goal is to make this a place that our students look forward to coming to. A lot of our students have issues outside of school, and I want this to become if nothing else an escape from all that. I feel that it gives the students a real sense of security. We hold the students accountable and push them to grow. It’s not necessarily easy but it’s a place where they enjoy being.
Q: What was the driving force for you to go to Culinary Arts School?
I was good at it. It was the first time in my life that I was actually good at something. I started working in this industry when I was 16. They threw me in the dish tank, after I worked my way out of the dish tank, I started waiting tables and cooking. After that, I got a job working in a “from scratch” kitchen. I fell flat on my face making over easy eggs one day, and by the end of service I was in the back behind the dumpster smoking a cigarette and crying. I was mad. I bought a case of eggs and I went home and I flipped eggs until I got it right. I went back to work the next day and when the chef saw me pumping eggs out like I had been doing it my whole life, he wrote me a letter of recommendation to culinary school and gave me my money back for the eggs I had bought from him the day before.
Q: What can a student gain or learn from attending Culinary Arts School?
From any Culinary Arts School students can learn how to use a knife, how to make sauces, soups, all the basic culinary techniques including some baking and pastries.
The thing that I try to strive for here and what truly gives Dorsey value comes from the mission statement. It comes from learning to have confidence in yourself and learning how to be self-reliant. I feel that it’s very important to teach people how to break down situations into steps. That way they understand what they can do and be self-reliant enough to get it done or know when to ask for help and where to get it.
Q: For someone interested in pursuing Culinary Arts School in Michigan, what should they look for or consider?
Work in a kitchen to see if you’re ready for it. It can be brutal but when you have the passion, you love it. Do you like the heat? Do you like the long hours? Does the satisfaction of giving great service make all that so worth it? If so, great. This is it. This is where you want to be. If you can’t stand everything that it takes to do the final product, then why are you doing the process? If you hate the process, don’t do it. If you just like the finished product, go out to eat somewhere. You have to enjoy the process. The true journey is the trip, not the destination.
Q: Why should someone enroll in the Culinary Arts Program at Dorsey Schools?
So they can come hang out with me! Ha! No really, it’s a great program, if you are somebody that’s looking to get a 4 year degree but you want to have some culinary background this is a one year program from a certified school with the ACFEF. You can come in one year and get the culinary background, and that’s what a lot of chefs do. They go one place for culinary background and then they go to a 4 year school to get their degree. If you’re looking for an education in culinary background, you’re going to get that here without any of the other classes.
Q: What makes this program unique and different from other Culinary Arts Schools in Michigan?
Having a one year program is a beautiful thing, especially with the structure of our program: you have 9 months on campus and then 3 months out on the externship. We work closely with the different sites that our students go to and they are there as students, not as employees. Because they’re students, the externship allows them to learn in a real world environment without all of the stress tied to it. The number one thing that I tell my students that they have to do every day is screw everything up. Screw it up while you’re here and learn to fix it. If you make those same mistakes out in the industry you might be looking for a job, if you make them here, you might be looking for a better grade. Here, you don’t ruin food if you mess up, because that food was for you to learn and you just did.
Q: Can you tell me a little about the Catering Program here?
It’s all about getting students ready to go out into the workforce and having a positive impact. We serve people weddings, graduation parties, showers, birthday parties, you name it. We do plated, buffet, family styles. We go to casinos, museums, and people’s houses all over the Detroit area. What it does is it allows the students to get a real life experience to see what goes into catering.
Interested in learning more about Dorsey Schools?
We’d like you to join us and be part of the exciting things happening at the Waterford-Pontiac campus of Dorsey Schools. Our dedicated team is available to help our students make the most of their experience at Dorsey and assist them as they prepare for a new career. We invite you to schedule a visit with us today or visit our campus page to learn more about our Waterford-Pontiac location and its programs!
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the Culinary Arts or the Healthcare field, then please give us a call at 888-422-1188 or Request Info Online
Culinary Arts Program – Gainful Employment Disclosures
For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who have completed the program, and other important information, please click here.