I'm currently a student at OCI in their baking and pastry certificate course, and i'm absolutely loving it. Classes started last Thursday, and we were in the kitchen the first day (didnt do much - just did a bread demo, and rolled out some rolls.)
The whole process was great. Anita - admissions - was wonderful and helped with whatever i needed. They do have a waiting list so you if you're thinking of attending, i would suggest you contact them asap. I was on the waiting list for march, and august, and luckily something opened up for the March session.
OCI is great. They're honest, and tell you straight out that they'll give you an education, but it's up to you to make yourself a chef. They don't give you any promises like landing the job of your dreams or that you'll make a lot of money when you graduate. They do have a woman in career services that will help you with job placement but i haven't spoken to her yet so i can't give you any info in that area.
Chefs - Most of the chefs that work at OCI are from WCI. They thought WCI was being unfair to students and that was the main reason they left and started their own school. There are currently 2 chefs for the baking and pastry program - Chef Parks and Chef Hall. I think Chef Parks is going to be in charge of the weekend programs so he currently works p/t for the baking and pastry, and Chef Hall will officially take over B & P once the weekend courses come into full swing. Both Chefs wrote the B & P program for OCI (Chef Parks did most of it - he also wrote the B & P program over at WCI) They're both very knowledgeable, and they are excellent instructors. Very easy to get along with, and know that even though the kitchen is a fast pace environment, doesnt mean there isnt room for humor :) Classes are divided into 4 groups and you get different groups each section (there are 4 sections). Each group rotates daily so you get hands on experience on everything - free group (which lets you work on things you need to work on, or school special projects) Bread group which makes all the bread for the restaurant, prep group, and service group.
The B & P course is only 16 weeks - lots of info in a short time, but so much fun, and so worth it especially for the price (and not having to take out a loan for my education was great too!) It may be a little overwhelming in the first few days but i'm looking forward to what's coming. Tomorrow we're working on knife work and Chef Wilke (exec chef of the school) will be showing us the safe & correct way to handle our knives.
hmm i sound like an OCI commercial, but i'm just so happy and excited about this school, and the people in it. I know i'm posting this a few months after your original post, but i hope it'll help in some way. :)