Pros: Flexible school schedule for those who have to work to live.
Cons: In one of if not the worst neighborhood of the city.
The International culinary school at the Art Institute of San Francisco is an expensive for profit culinary school. I am a current student in his last quarter and about to graduate with an associates in the culinary arts. I chose this school because the school schedule allowed me to still work full time while attending school full time. I had also met several fresh out of school cooks from this program who I respected as quality line cooks.
In the art institute they focus on preparing you for a career in your field which is basically their way of trying to help kids fresh out of high school get prepared for the real world. There other focus is on international cuisine where each quarter (11 weeks) you are in a class that focuses on Asian food, Spanish food, European food, American food, garde manger, and so on. There is also a good focus on the management side of being a chef such as cost control, menu engineering, staffing and management. You will also do a lot of work that focuses on understanding a restaurant's concept and how to make one. The management and business classes were to me the most beneficial as they taught me things that I don't get to do or experience as a line cook.
All in all you in any program get what you put in and I put a lot of work into my school and feel good about my experience. However, in terms of the school it's self I would not recommend this school. There is very often a problem with quality of product due to corporate policies, and the budget in which the store room manager had to order. Often we were working with poor substitutes of what the recipe called for, product that was far from acceptable, or just plain missed on the order sheet.
I can say that most of the instructors were very helpful and if you are considering this school I would say the pastry program due to the instructors here is a decent program. But I would strongly recommend staying away from the bachelors program due to the horror stories I have heard about the teachers teaching the higher level business classes.
overall, a poor school choice but with hard work and the determination required to be in this industry you can have a positive experience none the less.