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Le Cordon Bleu vs. Community College

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hey I know the big diffenece in price but i want to know is it worth it? I mean really i plan on being in the industry for the rest of my life, and I have been doing it for the past 6 years but not really getting nothing from were i worked but that i want to say in it. So i want to know if the chooseing of my school really makes a diffenece of is it just what i get out of the school that i choose? Please someone i have toke over a year to choose and i need some help ???? PLEASE!!!!:confused::confused:
post #2 of 24
I was wondering this too, is the ciriculum really that much different? :confused:
post #3 of 24
I was in this place myself a few months back- I went the community college route. I obviously can't give you a comparison but I really do enjoy the CC. The prices are just right, the classes are not overly large. What's nice about the school I'm at is they are on a quarter based system-which works with my learning style, but also means they only offer our culinary classes during the fall and spring quarters.

Because I already have all my gen ed's I have class for nine weeks then have nine weeks off. I do however have private instruction once a week during those nine weeks. But this setup affords the husband and I to go out and do our vacation type things during the nine weeks that I don't have class M-F all day. It's worked for me. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Yea I know it is a lot cheapier and a diffenent class sch. but the schools are differnt the classes and the teachers. But what is the difference in the out come and what i will get out of it.
post #5 of 24
If you've been in the industry as a line cook for 6 years you might try looking for a top notch fine dining restaurant. Some have said that's a pretty good route and wouldn't cost much at all.

Every culinary school will teach you how to cook. They graduate cooks, not chefs. The key difference between a local CC and a "big name school" is, perhaps, the level of detail one gets in each class and the diversity of the education. Each will teach knife skills, prep, cooking. But will you see American, French, Asian, Middle Eastern cooking styles? Will you learn dining room operations? Will you learn a wide range of product and how to prepare or will you get "meat and potatoes?" Are the chef/instructors there to convey knowledge and passion of cooking (ie. their experiences and skills) or are they just getting a paycheck? Lots of other considerations.

In my search I am going for the schools that offer the widest education experience with the most experienced chefs. Each school is around for one purpose: making money. Given that, your money should be where the education is best. Some CC programs may rock in your area. In my area, there is a culinary school that costs about $50K. Up the road about five hours is the Culinary Institute of America for about $50K. Let me think here...
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post #6 of 24
I went to a LCB school, nothing distinguishable that I know of from a cheaper school.

We practiced knife cuts, made stocks, fabricated meat. All these basic skills you would be expected to learn any way, whether it be from a 50k LCB school or a cheaper program. My friend is going to a community college for 35k cheaper and learned the same things I did.
post #7 of 24

Well....

If you are serious about cooking, go to the big guns J&W,CIA, French Culinary, ICE.

If you are serious and a self starter with a nose for getting yourself to the next level, Community College is the way to go.

I am not a fan of the pricey- certificate granting- francise schools.
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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post #8 of 24
What can YOU squeeze out of school? If you know most of the basic stuff, then the instructor lets you move up to a next level, you're a step ahead of the others--irregardless of which school you choose. If you're hitting the library and bookstores daily, hitting the commercial kitchen equipment stores, generally occupying yourself with everything cooking, then you're a step ahead of the others. Teachers tend to favour the prepared student, be prepared and squeeze as much as you can out of them.

Most big name schools have "open house" days. Check them out BEFORE you make your commitment: Are the instructors energetic, well informed? Do the students have atttitude problems, drug/alcohol problems, are they "parked" at the course because they come from a foreign country and a cooking program was the easist way to get a student visa?
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone so i see like me everyone has different thoughts on it all. But i am in it for the long hual cook-chef-manager-owner. So i see it as a career and something i will be doing forever and love to do it. So i will keep my eyes open and try to make the right choice.
post #10 of 24
A few more thoughts:

* regardless of any admission requirements of the school, get yourself a good, solid six months work in a professional kitchen (i.e. not pizza hut or a burger shack). The experience will pay off dividends in culinary school with the experience. Or the experience will send you running from the kitchen to university to study a different career path. Many many many people do not have clue one what the professional kitchen is like as a work environment.

* never underestimate the value of apprenticeships or stages. some of the best cooks in the world learned by working beside a true genius in a working kitchen. Culinary school kitchens are best describe a akin to high school or college science labs, not true working kitchens. If your culinary school has a block of instruction in one of its campus kitchens, even better.
"Honey, is something burning?" - my wife
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"Honey, is something burning?" - my wife
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post #11 of 24
I am a Johnson and Wales Graduate. However many years ago it may have been...

but...

I am not going to sit here and tell you to go to a big name school, like J&W, CIA, or LCB, or to go to a local community college.

I would never give up the experience, and great time that I had at J&W.

However, I do think that you could have an awesome life changing experience at a local school.

One thing I will tell you, if you are going solely on learning cooking techniques, different cuisines, and styles of cooking, I would probably go to the Community College.
If you are interested in other nuances, such as front of the house, bar tending, hospitality, a bigger school is probably the way to go.

I have a BA in Culinary and International Cuisine, and an Associates in Baking and Pastry arts, and also studied Hospitality and Management.

I cant stress enough, it is all what you put into it.
You can have a fine career after attending a big school.
and
You can have a fine career after attending a local school.

Again, dont take my words to heart. Its just my opinion and Im just trying to give the best advice possible.
post #12 of 24
Another thing I forgot to add...

Please do not think that after WHATEVER school you graduate from, that just because you hold that diploma, and that degree, that you can run a line, or run a kitchen. And do NOT think that the Degree, makes you a chef. I have seen too many good young cooks, go under because of ego. Dont make the same mistake.

Well anyways... Cheers!
post #13 of 24
Well said! Too many people today equate cook with chef. One does not the other make. There are just as many examples of cooks who cannot lead as there are chefs who cannot cook. As I've said on a few occasions, no matter the school you're graduated as a cook. "Chef" means leader and being a leader requires experience over and above the skills taught at school.


Personally, I blame the media and the TV Food Network for the blurring of cook and chef, but that's a whole different story! :crazy:
"Honey, is something burning?" - my wife
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"Honey, is something burning?" - my wife
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post #14 of 24
Thank You, and well put yourself.
post #15 of 24
The AAS you get from a big name school is equal to an AAS you get from a smaller school (how I feel based on observation). What truly matters is how much effort you put into your classes, what knowledge did you learn/retain, and how willing you are to continue learning in a professional kitchen (even if it means peeling potatoes for a little while).
post #16 of 24
I went to culinary school after having worked in steak and seafood places for six years, AND, after having just graduated from a four-year university.

I went LCB-Paris in 1979, long before the foodie culture took off (I chose that school BECAUSE it was in PARIS; I got to extern at a Michelin 2-star restaurant.)

Go to the best school that you can afford - do NOT take grants and/or loans. Going to a CC is perfectly fine - and you can get your AB. Be sure to choose you externship carefully - working in a fine dining restaurant in, say, San Francisco is a lot better that working in a middle-of-the-road place in Cincinnati.

Good luck.
post #17 of 24

Just starting

I'm in culinary school (baking/pastry arts) and although I had LCB and other options available to me, I chose the CC program. So far, so good. I feel that it is a well-kept secret... the environment is a working bakery and every minute of every day is hands-on. Student/instructor ratios are excellent. It's fast-paced and challenging. Everything I make is sold to paying customers, it doesn't get more real than that. With the exception of the time we spend in lecture, I feel like I am at work rather than in school. Very, very practical. I'm sure all CC are different but I'm definitely impressed with this one.

I've compared the instructional hours to that of other local schools, including LCB and I'm getting WAY more time in the lab and at a fraction of the cost (compare 3K for a year of CC to 40K+ for similiar time at LCB).

I believe that my training here will be what I make of it and how I apply it. Certainly the tools and information is THERE. I just have to use them well.
post #18 of 24
I'm going the CC route as well. And in the 2 months so far this semester I have had access to 3 Master Chefs, 1 senior master pastry (I can't remember the term) guys and all of our chefs have untold CEC experince and whatever.

with no other school experience to judge against, CC's shouldn't be overlooked. Look for a school that visibly invests in their Culinary Arts/Hospitality program and I doubt you'd go wrong.

I've wanted to go to J&W before I graduated HS in 97. Now that I'm going to a good CC, I don't think I'll miss not having gone to J&W.
Finally following my heart to do what I love.

1 ACF Bronze
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Finally following my heart to do what I love.

1 ACF Bronze
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post #19 of 24
I went to a community college for my culinary training.
The school I went to required 40 hours a week of work experience +
12 hour a week of class room and lab work. It was a 3 year apprenticeship that covered all aspects of front and back of the house. Upon graduation you had a dual degree in culinary arts and hospitality management.
I feel that your education breaks down as such 30% school / 50% Job/Chef / 20% self . I currently have 4 apprentices from that same school. I do not think the school matters as much as the chef that you learn under.
post #20 of 24
I have a bit of a problem here, I can't quite afford the top notch schools, but the restaraunt that our cc's culinary program cooks in is terrible.. which makes me doubt the program's credibility. I've been trying to find information about apprenticeships, but I haven't been able to find anything informative about the quality of said apprenticeships, is anything ACF certified pretty good? Or are there certain restaraunts I would want to look for? Places to find out? Maybe this isnt the thread to ask that, but 24-7 cook you seem to know something about the apprenticeship game.
post #21 of 24
Of all the people I've worked with who went to Culinary school, the LCB graduates were some of the most under-educated I've seen. In addition to this, these recent graduates seemed to think themselves to be above the standard duties that working in professional kitchens entails....("why am I scrubbing squid, I went to Le Cordon Bleu!!"). This attitude certainly didn't get these guys very far in any of the places I worked.

This attitude seemed less prevalent in the students I've worked with that came from the local technical college in our city...they didn't necessarily know more about cooking as a whole than their LCB counterparts, but they definitely seemed to have a better work ethic and less of a sense of righteous indignation when asked to clean the grease traps and mop the walk-in freezer.
post #22 of 24

Your Best Choice

If you want to progress further in your education, then go to the community college. These degrees are accredited and credits will usually transfer. Also, many community colleges produce excellent chefs. A local Executive Chef at the Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh PA. is a product of a local community college. The Duquesne Club has been voted best City Club in the US twice, an honor no other club from cities the like of NYC, Chicago, LA can not claim. My thoughts for what they are worth is if the local community college as a good program, [and if it is ACF approved all the better], go for it. Le Cordon Bleu in the US is different than in Europe and other regions. Good Luck
post #23 of 24
hi allyaw chefs..
well to me going to a top culinary school of coz u'll get a well recognize paper after graduate & cheaper culinary school well perhaps less recognize by the hotel...but put it thz way..if i were the chef to hire somone to work wit me..well paper is alwez a second option..coz the right attitude + hard working + eager to learn is wat im looking for...
bsides..u might graduate from a top culinary school but if u cant perform wats it used for...basically going to culinary school is juz like an exposure b4 going for the real culinary world..its more like equip urself for it...well another thing dat might make d diff is..the instructor/lecturer dat is going to teach u..is he a well train chef..a gud chef dat can guide u a gud chef dat can montivate u...chef dat like to share his knowledge..coz not many instructor willing to share their knowledge of wat they know..but to me i like chef dat is humble but full of knowledge...
post #24 of 24
I'm a C.I.A. grad and you better believe there's a huge difference. teacher to student ratio. the quality of teachers. How many master chefs are at the school, the amount of hands on training you get, the quality of ingredients you work with, how competitive and serious your fellow students are, who recruits at the school ect. Having said all that, i would rather hire a hungry passionate cook with no formal education than a lazy high end school grad. for what it's worth.
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