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Culinary School Advice

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I'm considering attending either the California Institute of Culinary Arts, Pasadena, or the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, OR.

Both programs are very similar. Have any of you had experience with the schools, or hired from them? Any feedback would be apreciated.

Thanks.
post #2 of 29
yeah, I've both attended and hired from SCSCA in so.pas.
They have changed the format from 3 8-10hr days/wk to 5hr days 5 days a week. I would look for a program that gives you at least 8 hours of lab time at a shot. IMO you need a good 8 hours to get anything accomplished, besides dishes & cleanup ;). Of course the school can now hussle 2-3times the volume through the door=$$. I believe it now runs about 40grand to attend, thats a pretty fair investment for a diploma factory. Don't hold your breath on the "lifetime placement program"-this from experience on both sides.
No knowledge of the WCI program, sorry.
If you want to know more let me know.
hth, danny
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply Dano.

I visited the CSCA campus this weekend. I was impressed. There was a BIG downside, the CSCA culinary arts program now costs $44,000. Seems a little high. :)

I'm going to visit WCI this weekend.
post #4 of 29
yeah, thats pricey. For the money i might seriously look at CIA. I paid ~15 for the program, of course its been a year or 2 ;). What ever you do make the commitment to get your $$ worth out of it. For some(many) it's just an excuse to party.
Listen to the many folks here and elsewhere about cooking schools. A piece of paper does not a chef make no matter what fluff a school throws at you. That diploma is just to get your foot in the door, from there it's all up to you.

hth, danny
post #5 of 29
Also, Where you located at? As culinarian247 said check out your local community colleges. Some programs suck but others are very respectable. Santa Barbara City college had an excellent 2 year program when i looked at them 10-12 years ago. Have not heard any negatives lately about them either.
Contacting your local ACF chapter you may be able to glean info about local programs that may not be bad-or very good.

hth, danny
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
I'm in Southern Cal. Dano.

Sorry for the late post. I just got back from visiting WCI in Portland. I came away from my visit with a very good feeling about the school. I didn't feel that way about CSCA in Pasadena when I was there. I'm sure CSCA is a great school, but I'm leaning to WCI in Portland. I was very impressed.

If anyone has experence with WCI, please post, or email me.

Thanks

Mikey
post #7 of 29
If you want to look for posts by "chefteldanielle" (sp?). She graduated from WCI back in 2002 I believe.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
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Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #8 of 29

Texas Culinary Academy

Anyone that plans to attend TCA please talk to the students first.
I am a student there and i realy wish i had gone somewhere else.
The equip is sub-standard, and so are most of the Chef Instructors. They do not vaule their students, and only care about one thing $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, so anyone out there visit the school, but walk around by yourself and speak to real students, and not just the sales rep(placement), becuse they do lie.....Just a concerend student
post #9 of 29

Culinary Schools

ANYBODY CAN OPEN A "CULINARY SCHOOL"

They are opening up all over the world. The question is what do you want to get out of it. They all teach cooking. There is a reason the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) is known as the best. There is more going on besides classes; Lectures, GREAT Guest Chefs, workshops, and jobs on campus.

You can literally spend your All your time doing something culinary at the school. It all depends on what you want and what you want to put into it.
I have many memories of my roomate going to some party and I was going to a wine tasting, an ACF meeting or something else culinary.
Whereever you go, APPLY YOURSELF.


Matisse Selman
American Celebrity Chef Matisse Selman
Chef Matisse
chefmatisse.com
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Chef Matisse
chefmatisse.com
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post #10 of 29
Bro you really should learn some humility, I can't tell you how many CIA grads I have worked with who couldn't tie their own shoes bottom line you either have it or you don't schools don't make chefs..
post #11 of 29

CIA Chefs not all the same

All CIA chefs are not the same. I tried to express that in my post. It all depends on what you put into it, how much experience you had going into the CIA and how much you have after.

You worked with a couple CIA chefs, were they externs? If so they had not even graduated yet. How much experience did they have?

It seems you are jealous that CIA chefs are getting hired everywhere at a higher wage?

I will admit you can do the bare minimum at the CIA and graduate. I know a few people in my class that were not ready for any serious kitchens.

Graduating from the CIA DOES OPEN DOORS.

Here is a quote from HOLYDIVER “I can't tell you how many CIA grads I have worked with”
EXACTLY, they keep getting hired!
Chef Matisse
chefmatisse.com
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Chef Matisse
chefmatisse.com
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post #12 of 29
Matisse,

This thread is not about one upmanship.

Everyone is entitled to thier opinions.

I have hired chefs from CIA that were very good, as well as J&W and NECI. I have also hired chefs from these schools who left a bit to be disired.

A talented individual graduating from a culinary school with some heart, technique and commen sense will be able to open many doors.

Remember, there is more than 1 ivy league school.
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #13 of 29
In my opinion and experience there are things school can't teach, such as common sense (as mentioned), organization, skill, and speed. Sure, you can do most of the things you learned in school. But how fast, how well, how logically? All the schooling in the world may not give you the things I mentioned and I think that's what puts some people one step ahead: displaying these traits.
The things you mentioned CIA having: guest chefs, jobs at school, lectures, workshops--JWU has those too. Even the idiots can attend these things, get a few free bites to eat and feel like they're accomplishing something. As you said yourself, you can do the bare minimum at CIA and graduate. That's true at any school.
post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 
I'm going to WCI. If Chef Matisse is a typical graduate of CIA, I want no part of that school.

Mikey
post #15 of 29
Chef Matisse.

Nice haircut.

Nice website.

Nice community access tv show.

Dude, you rule. You rock.

To address the original question, if you are prepared to spend that much money, you might as well go to the wine country and invest in greystoke, legend of the monkey.
Walk softly, carry a big rolling pin
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Walk softly, carry a big rolling pin
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post #16 of 29
In addition, I agree with KateW.

You can't teach common sense (as is evidenced by capechefs multiple replies):)


Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
- Aristotle
Walk softly, carry a big rolling pin
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Walk softly, carry a big rolling pin
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post #17 of 29
And do not,

under any circumstances, use any false base.
Walk softly, carry a big rolling pin
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Walk softly, carry a big rolling pin
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post #18 of 29
You know what you call the guy that finished last in his med classes at Harvard?

Doctor.


A piece of paper does not a chef make!

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

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post #19 of 29
Believe me it was faaaar more than a couple and they were nowhere near externs,some people believe money buys them title I guess.
post #20 of 29
Btw Mikey that "attitude" you speak of gets way worst with these guys believe me.
post #21 of 29
Lets all stay on topic.

No need to bash people here.
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #22 of 29

=-)

I'm sorry that this response is a little late...I just found this website today.

I am currently a student at WCI and I can tell you that I love it there! The instructors and staff alike are top rate and are always willing to help you if you need it. I was really nervous about attending culinary school but I can now say that I'm really happy that I made the jump.
post #23 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply Angelus. I start at WCI in May. To say that I'm a little nervous would be an understatement. I'm sure everything will be ok once I get started. I can't wait !!!! Any advice to a newbie moving to Portland? :eek:

Mikey
post #24 of 29

=-)

Of course....I'm a local so I can give you tons of advice.. ;) Just let me know what you need advice on....
post #25 of 29
This is a bit OT, but Mikey, you are one lucky guy! I just got back from 5 days in Portland, and let me tell you, if I have to move to the West Coast, that's where I'd go. Beautiful city, excellent public transportation, and most important, terrific food.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #26 of 29
Thread Starter 
I feel VERY lucky Suzanne. I was undecided between staying in CA or moving to Portland. Both programs I was considering, WCI and CSCA, are excellent. Every student I talked to had nothing but positive statements at each school. It was a hard decision to make, but Portland won me over for everything you said. Plus, I love flyfishing. :D I start in May and I can't wait !!!!!!!
post #27 of 29

CSCA or bust?

I just graduated from CSCA and I can tell you this much from my experience and in comparison with others I've met from other schools. At the end of the day, it's not where you go, it's what you do with who you meet at where you go.
CSCA doesn't have the best program in the world, but the :chef: instructors there are awesome. :bounce: I know some other graduates who have succeeded in becoming sous chefs in a matter of a few months. Likewise, others who don't even have a job yet.
It's all up to you. As for me, due to family stuff, I can't work, but I ahve jobs lined up when I do. When that time comes, I will rock!
Chefhood is achieved with a gallon of humility seasoned with a lot of confidence. Believe in yourself but allow yourself to be taught.
post #28 of 29
How much does it cost to attend WCI? Anyone know anything about Tante Marie in San Francisco? :confused:
post #29 of 29
Hi! I actually went to WCI and graduated last January. At the time that I went to the school, I probably would have recommended it. That was $20,000 ago. When I was there, we had 7-8 hours of class 5 days a week. It was a full time job but I really got a lot out of it. Recently, they have changed the curriculum and only hold classes for 5 hours a day. It's strange, too, because now you will go in, have a 2 hour lecture, 1 hour demo and have 2 hours to "copy" the demo. All creativity has been restrained and experimentation is a lost cause. My advice to you would be if you're going to pay $50K, go to CIA! :eek:
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