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Variety of questions about Culinary schooling in general...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hey Everyone!

Well, I have loved looking through all the posts in the forum and have actually had a lot of questions answered that way! Unfortunately, I still have some questions that I need a little help with in making my decision on where to go to school at. I have done my research on many different schools, but these aren't questions that I can find answers to on the school websites, so hopefully you guys here can help me out!

Oh, and I am mainly looking into Baking and Pastry programs, not Cuisine, so if you have been that route I'd really love to hear what you have to say!

1. Diploma vs. Assoc. Degree (vs. Certificate). Can anyone tell me the pros and cons of getting a Diploma vs. an Associates Degree? Does one really help in the long run better than the other? I already have a Bachelors degree (not culinary related), but would one or the other help me more in finding work after school? Also, I have heard that the Certificate programs aren't really worth it, does anyone have anything to say to that?

2. Tuition. I can pay for tuition okay, loans will make it work for me so I am not too worried about the varied tuition prices. But does anyone feel that the tuition they paid for their education was WAY overpriced and not worth it for the school they went to?

3. Scholarships. I have looked online and in some books trying to find scholarships, but I haven't found very many. As I said before, I can pay for tuition okay on my own with loans, but scholarships will help of course be a big help as well! I know each school has a few scholarships offered as well, but any ideas on where to find others would be great!

4. Schools. I know everyone has their questions about schools (and I've read tons about different schools in the forums), and I have researched all these different schools already, but any comments from people who have gone or are going there would be wonderful! Below are the schools I am most interested in from what I have learned about them. Can anyone tell me the pros and cons of these schools? Please, only info from personal experience, not what you have heard from the school (I am sure they told me the same "We're the best!" type of promotional publicity). How was school life? Did you get a much help with intern/externships? Did you get help with job placement? How were the classes/teachers? Etc... Anything you have to say about the schools - good or bad - would be greatly appreciated!!!

(in no particular order)
Western Culinary Institute
New England Culinary Institute
Culinary Institute of America
French Culinary Institute (though I am not sure I want to focus on French technique...)
Le Cordon Bleu, London
Le Cordon Bleu, Ottawa
Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver
Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts

An early thanks to any who can help! :) I am just trying to narrow down my choices a little more, but all the schools and programs look great! Unfortunately all the schools promote themselves as such great places, I don't know what to make of them!

gingameggs
post #2 of 10
Hello new to the site here and live in sacramento and would like to know more about the cooking schools here in town was hoping for some advise and people to talk to. I have heard abot the Napoli place here can someone give me some more info. I did looking to the cullenary school in sf and honestly its too rich for my pockets.

Mike
post #3 of 10
the school i went to only offered a certificate, to go onto the baking and pasty program you had to complete the core culinary corses. I got just a certificate fell it was worth it, maybe not for the money but nothing i can do about it now. It was a good education but for spending 30 grand and not getting some kind of degree. But in the long run i dont know if a degree in culinary arts will help or not. If i go back to school i will proably do just buisness because of what i want to i will need more buisness oriented courses than anything else. As far as externship resorts flew in and interviewed us, and the chefs helped with placing us if they could. I know lots of schools make you find your exertnship site. Also i one well know resort in NC that came and interviewed at my school doesnt even accept cia externs because of the attitutdes that there going to run the kitchen. there are people that were like that from my school too, but i guess it was a bad problem with cia.
the places you listed are the more famous schools, there are alot of schools out there with great programs, they just dont advertise like some.
My one peice of advice to you is go and get a job in a restraunt or bakery, its alot more work that just baking at home or cooking dinner for your family. Not saying either is a bad thing but real world experiences go a long way in your attitude and your learning experences, plus i know cia requires working experence for there application.
post #4 of 10
oh btw im not busting on cia, if i would choose a school all over again i problay would have choosen there.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

smaller school suggestions?

Adamm - Yeah, I know the places I listed are more famous of places, but if I am going to be moving to do this (as there are no culinary schools - famous or not - in my town) then I might as well look at the bigger schools and just go big. My town is small and no matter what I will have to move (quite far) to get to one, so I am looking at bigger schools right now. If you have any suggestions on good smaller schools, I'm all ears, so let me know and I will definitely look into them! Thanks for the response though Adamm, I do appreciate hearing your thoughts! :)

gingameggs
post #6 of 10
For scholarships, you can look around here: Top Culinary and Cooking Schools, Institutes and Colleges

As far as what school to go to, avoid any school that is a Le Cordon Bleu affiliate ( WCI might be). In my opinion, the best option on your list is NECI. Solid reputatiuon, guaranteed low teacher-to-student ratio and plenty of real-world experience both in the classroom and on externships (there are 2).

As far as diploma vs. certificate, I think only the school can provide the information to answer this. Ask them for the curriculum of each program and look at the differences. If you think the additional classroom work will benefit you, then go for the degree.

You may also want to check out Johnson & Wales University's "Garnish Your Degree" program. It's set up for people like you that already have a bachelors. It eliminates most of the classroom work and may be less expensive. Plus, the school's reputation is generally on par with CIA and NECI.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #7 of 10
I hate to say it,but I totally agree.I went to LCB in Atlanta and while an accellerated program is perfect for a seasoned veteran who wants a degree with little or no effort,it's not a good program for totally inexperienced students.Sure,I made some great contacts and had a handful of instructors that I had respect for,but for the most part,it's a diploma factory focusing on students right out of high school.
"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
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"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
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post #8 of 10
No matter what school you go to,the French technique is going to be taught because without the French,we would not have the modern professional kitchen as we know it to this day.
"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
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"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
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post #9 of 10

Say no to culinary school...

Do not attend culinary school! It is unnecessary and expensive! Get work in the field even if you start out as a dishwasher. If your goal is to become a chef then as long as you are in the kitchen then you’re on the right track. Teach yourself how to cook and learn about the classic methods. Use your kitchen and your local library to obtain the appropriate reading material to learn the history and practice of the culinary arts. Then when you have built up enough confidence and skill in your method find out where to get certified through the American Chef Federation. It will cost you money but not nearly as much as culinary school will. Some culinary schools will give you a CC Certified Culinarian certificate at a price tag ranging from 30k to 40k you could get several dozen through ACF with that kind of money. Seriously I can’t stress this enough. YOU DO NOT NEED TO GO TO CULINARY SCHOOL!!! IT IS A HUGE WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY. Take that 30k and put it towards a down payment on a house. It’s a much wiser investment.
post #10 of 10
And without the Italians, the French wouldn't have learned to cook in the first place. Thank you Catherine De Medici.
It's Good To Be The King!
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It's Good To Be The King!
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