French Culinary Institute
If you want to get into the kitchen as quickly as possible and have total immersion, you made a good choice. FCI's alumni is strong and as someone who works in education at a culinary school, I feel there's is strong.
You will not be passed over for just having a diploma or certificate. If you should ever decide that you want an Associates or BA/BS in anything food industry or otherwise, those classes may not transfer. As long as you are okay with it, best of luck to you at FCI.
Lastly, my advice to ANY student entering culinary school is to work or stage if you don't have the work experience before you enter and while you are in school. Open yourself up to as many opportunities as possible so that when it comes time for an internship (if it's required) or when you graduate, you aren't figuring out where to work. You'll already have an offer. Since you'll be finishing around the winter, it's better to do that now than in November. That's how it is in Chicago but uncertain about NYC.
First, read the book 'Becoming A Chef' http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Chef-Andrew-Dornenburg/dp/0471152099
Be selective with the books you read, there is a lot of fluff out there. I like chef books like Bouchon / French Laundry by Thomas Keller, not just for the recipes, but for the priceless information they contain. And speaking of recipes, I am not paying too much attention to recipe books these days. I prefer books with information. Right now one of the books I am reading is 'Think Like A Chef' by Tom Colicchio. It's great! He is trying to teach foodies to back off of recipes and learn how to get creative.
I am in love with the book 'The Flavor Bible.' No recipes at all. It's a book about what ingredients go well together.
A good textbook for the basics is a smart idea; it's what you will learn at FCI. Complete Techniques by Jacques Pépin is a great book to combine with a textbook.
25 is not too old!
"As far as cuisine is concerned, one must read everything, see everything, hear everything, try everything, observe everything, in order to retain in the end, just a little bit." -Fernand Point
I am an International prospective student of FCI from Asia who is intending to pursue a career as a Pastry Chef.
Their Career Pastry Arts program seems to be intensive and efficient.
One of the reason I would like to go all the way to New York and achieve this education is because I would like to get long term apprenticeship and possible full time job overseas in America or Europe for few years before I settled back in my hometown.
Based on my research and observations, most of the successful chefs who graduated from the institute are Americans or people who already lived there.
However, I have been looking for sometime, but there are no news anywhere about international students post graduation life at FCI, especially from Asia.
I would like to kindly ask for opinion, inputs and advice from everyone. What are the opportunities like for international students ? Does anybody knows if any of them get a secure position in a great place after graduation ? What are the percentage of foreigners working in US culinary and pastry industry ?
Thank you very much in advance and any comments or advice are going to be greatly appreciated.
Have a wonderful day !