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Culinary Schools in the Twin Cities?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Which culinary school/s in the Twin Cities would you recommend, and why (or why not)? We have Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts--Minneapolis/St Paul, Art Institutes International Minnesota, Minneapolis Community & Technical College, and St Paul College. Thanks!
post #2 of 13
HTC, or better known as Hennepin Tech.

Or come to my personal school. I'll teach you everything for less than half price! :D
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Surely these must be folks out there with experience and/or an opinion of The Art Institutes International MN and the LCB-Twin Cities and the various tech school programs?

I've seen that is recent culinary competitions, MCTC came in first, with AIIM a close second and LCB a distant third! A foodie friend of mine--a CIA grad--says AIIM is the most connected and respected around here, that LCB is way too new. How's that fit in with your experience?
post #4 of 13
The competitions are a good experience. It really teaches you to be on the ball.

I've hired grads from the AI and they're fine. They seem to have a bit more book knowledge than technical college grads.

Every experienced chef will tell you that it's heart and drive, not culinary programs, that matter.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you!

Is "a bit more book knowledge" a good thing?
post #6 of 13
More knowledge is always good, but without experience it's worthless.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
I understand. Thank you. So you'd say while MCTC provides solid technical expertise, AI does that AND provides for more theoretical understanding and appreication?

Am getting plenty of hands-on food preparation experience in a kitchen in which almost all of the food is made to order on the premises. What am looking for now is a local culinary school that will be a catalyst for my craft.
post #8 of 13
No, that's not what I'm saying. The average culinary student graduates with limited skill no matter what school they went to. Some are better than others. AI students tend to have more exposure to different culinary textbooks. That's all. To me there's no difference.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Okay, I understand, that's a common motif among advice to folks coming into this business. That there seems to be multiple threads essential to success in chefing: (1) you just can't beat hand-on experience, not only hands-on experience, but tutelage under a master, (2) some people have "it," and some don't, and the best way to discern that is under the tutelage of a master, and (3) many people--but not all--benefit from some time in culinary school, it's a fast-track way to acquire book-learning theory and technical skill disciplines and exposure (albeit not mastery) to the big world of the culinary arts.

As with the trades, there is a tension between the "old" apprenticeship model and the "modern" technical school model. Unlike the trades, we don't have a "union" to control admission to the field, and so we have multiple entry points and not standardization of education and training. Along those lines, chefing appropriates the fine arts. So chefing seems to be in this dialectic between the trades and the arts.

Okay, having said all that, in your opinion and experience, assuming one has hands-on experience and tutelage and it seems one "has it," which culinary school in the Twin Cities best provides what one needs to move along the apprentice-journeyman-master continuum in this trade/art? Which best provides the core for the trade and the art of the apprentice, and which will provide the core for the trade and the art when one is a practicing "journeyman"?

To pick one is to make an investment. Not only in tuition, but also in time and much more. So, if you had to make the choice for a child, and it had to be in the Twin Cities, which one? And why? And why not the others?

post #10 of 13
Ah well, I would say AI, only because every kid I've ever hired from the AI has been extremely motivated.
post #11 of 13
I currently sttend LCB here in mendota heights. While i have no experience with any other schools, i looked at htc and some others offerning a culinary programs, and for me lcb seemed right. The Chefs I've had so far are great, with tons of information, and very helpful. While i thought i knew alot about cooking before, i now feel like i know a thousand times more. If you put out the effort they are full of incredible information and help. The chefs have an array of experience and knowledge. I dont really know that your school gets you jobs, but for my 45k i feel like it's a great choice. hope that helps?

post #12 of 13
I looked at going to culinary school. Read up on everything I could, and it seems to me that one of the culinary text book writers, the one that lives in the Twin Cities, said that Henn. Tech was just as good as anywhere else. Well, anyway, I know somebody of that stature said that. When I worked in Hopkins we used to go over and eat their meals at lunchtime. The students seemed happy, and the food was always better near the end of the quarter than the beginning.

Anyway, reality set in when I thought about actually spending $45k to get a job working 10-14 hours a day for $10-12/hour.

I can always cook anything I want at home and that's about how much I spent to remodel my entire kitchen. It is as near a commercial equipped kitchen as can be had in a residential home. Anyway, I've more than made back my money by not having to shell out $100-200 a meal at restaurants to get questionable consistency, small portions, in consistent preparation and taste, and lousy service that I am then expected to tip for!

post #13 of 13
A friend taught at Le Cordon Bleu in Minnesota for a couple of years. He said he felt guilty about the $40 to $45K students paid to learn what they could have learned going to tech school and working in a restaurant. He said many of the students were second career folks who had no concept of how hard the work would be in a restaurant. They enjoyed cooking, so they thought becoming a chef would be a wonderful career choice. And, he said, the school gives bogus statistics on long term placements and retention in the industry. He added that most LCB graduates don't stay in the food business long after their initial placement.
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