I posted this in another forum...No, I did not go to the LCB but as I mention here I have employees who have and we talk a lot. I have pasted this response from another thread. Maybe it isn't relevant. I hope it is helpful...
Since you asked for a response here is one. The first question is what is your professional goals? If they include working in a professional kitchen I wouldn't really reccomend either of the schools you mentioned. If your whole goal is to work in France I still wouldn't. I am speaking from a co-worker of these graduates, as an employer of these [COLOR=#006666 ! important][COLOR=#006666 ! important]graduates[/COLOR][/COLOR]
, and also these words are from graduates themselves (my employees)
The Paris LCB and Ritz are not programs that are designed to teach you to work in a real professional kitchen (despite their claims). Yes you will learn the classics, and yes you may even learn a lot of traditional techiques, and, get to do it all in metric. But you will not learn to do volume work, or to use professional equipment. All three of my employees (2@LCB, and 1 at Ritz) feel like they wasted a lot of money, and so do I since I have had to re-train them. Yes they know a few dishes very well, but the foundations and theory and the general familiarity of the cooking world is not there. Both of the LCB graduates said they were 1 of the few [COLOR=#006666 ! important][COLOR=#006666 ! important]students[/COLOR][/COLOR]
there training to be a cook, most where international women/girls who where just trying to improve their mariage-ability(the girls' words). Also french professionals have no respect for these schools so if you do go and want to get a job (in France) afterward don't say you went.
One of my biggest frustrations is that there remains this myth that France (and Paris) is still the epitome of cuisine or even french cuisine. (Ironically all the french media bemoan the fact that the french don't know how to eat anymore. I actually just stopped my subscription to my french cooking magazine, I was tired of all the "american cusine" in it.) I love France, I love cooking in France; it is my second home. But I do not think that it offers any greater cooking training than here in the US. Various social and labour laws in France have driven many chefs here to the states.
Again I ask you what is your ultimate goal for culinary education. If you just love food and want a great experience, go wherever. If you truly want to work in the professional cooking field than you need to do research as to what kind of schooling will give you the best foundation and professional preparation for that."It's just you would hate to make such a big commitment and then come back and work on a line beside some community college culinary graduate, not saying that's bad but I think you can understand."
Hmm I am wondering if you understand. Have you been researching beyond the brochures. You will be lucky if right out of culinary school (no matter how fancy it was) you will even get a job on the line. And consider this, many top chefs will only hire from community colleges because they don't want the attitude that comes from graduates who think they are better because they went to a big name school. I would hate for you to make that commitment and come in to my place thinking your where going to be making rabbit fricasse and macrons. You might but you will also be peeling a lot of carrots, scooping cookie dough, cleaning out the ovens, organizing the walk in freezer, and trimming baby artichoke hearts.
France is a great place to live and cook but unless you have some good contacts (easier made in American Culinary schools where many French chefs now teach), it is much better for you to get some basic training in any school and then get some real world experience. Then go do a stage in a restaurant of your choice. I am curious as your research on "affording it" I don't know your situation but believe me when I say it costs about 2000-3000Euro a month to live in Paris, that is if you share a room and don't do any traveling or shopping etc... And yes being a student allows you to work, no, actually it allows you to apply for a work permit
(part time only), a process that can take about 6 weeks to 6 months. But then you have consider the high unemployment rate in France and Paris, the severe immigration issues in France/Paris. And they're coming up on an election year so all those issues will make it harder for foreigners to find work.
You might be able to find a stage, if you are REALLY good, REALLY gregarious, and fluent in French and the metric system.
As a chef, and now business owner I frequently tell applicants that I can teach anyone to make a consomme, french lamb, or make a creme brulee; what I cannot teach is the desire and love of the professional cooking world. What I expect from an applicant is 1. A work ethic that allows them to do any task no matter how fun or tedius, work long hours on their feet, work holidys and weekends, 2. A basic understanding of professional equipment: sheeter, 60-qt mixer, robe coup, combi, flat top, deck oven, tilt skillet etc.. 3. A basic understanding behind cooking theory why things do what they do, and how to problem solve when they don't. 4. And the ability to move quickly and work in bulk: 20# of shrimp before service, scoop 50# of cookie dough.
I ranted long enough. I don't know about all the other LCB's and I welcome all the LCB paris people to come out in defense. Good luck with your choice. I have lived and worked in France for many years, I also went to a US culinary school and am soooo glad I went to the one I went to. If you have any more questions i can try to answer or give more opinions.