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Questions for Chef Schools for Interview Tonight

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm meeting with LCB tonight, and AI later in the week for the in-person interview. If you could recommend some good questions to ask the schools so I can accurately compare them, what would they be?

Any other advice for the interview you can provide would be appreciated.

I'd be most grateful!

Thanks.


KJ
post #2 of 12
What is the student teacher ratio?

What percentage of school time is hands on and what percent is demo?

Can you talk to students as they exit the building so that you can get their input without having to talk to school hand picked students?
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #3 of 12
Ask, "Will I be a chef when I graduate?" The answer should be "No."

Other than that, I would actually check with 3rd parties in your area and get their opinions. The reps will tell you what you want to hear. It's best to get information from people without an agenda (me included).

A question for you, what do you want to do with your culinary education? Have you worked in the industry in any capacity?
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post #4 of 12
What is the average "pay rate" of an average LCB graduate immediately after graduation??

In two years??
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the excellent responses!

Thanks everyone!

I couldn't agree more with jtobin625. I will be a better cook when I graduate. Chef (IMHO) comes after years and years of practice...

I am considering attending culinary school not necessarily to look for work in the industry as a chef when I graduate. I simply love to cook, and want professional training in a school (or structured) environment. So pay, job opportunities, and title have less meaning to me than most students. I plan on I'm keeping my day job for a while.

Not to say that I don't want this as a profession, per se, in some capacity or another. I really don't know what I'll do with my new skills upon graduation. I'm old enough and experienced enough to know that when I originally think I might want will probably be nothing like what I'll actually be doing. I think I'll know more about what I want to do when I near the end of my schooling and can make some plans then.

That being said, I want to make the best decision possible. Since researching culinary schools is new to me, I really didn't know which questions to ask.

Thank you so much for the help! And I really am excited to visit LCB tonight.
post #6 of 12
Ask him how much he gets paid for every student they lock into a contract
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Last Night's LCB Appointment Details

I apologize for the epic post.

I met the LCB last night. The recruiter and I talked for almost 2-1/2 hours. The person I met with was very polite, informative and very helpful. I was not pressured in any way to sign anything, even when I said that I could not start school until January. The recruiter simply told me that as soon as I knew for sure when I could start, I should begin my paperwork. That's it.

He was in no hurry to get me out of his office. In fact, there were a few times when he was going over things that I wished he would fast forward through, but he didn't.

He allowed me to ask any question I'd like, but some of his answers were vague, such as the student / teacher ratio. At first I didn't get an answer, but I pressed him on this. He mentioned something about max number of people in the building per the fire code, and hemmed and hawed a bit. Finally after not letting this go, he said it was approximately 24:1 (guessing) in the beginning, and that would go down over time due to attrition. So I took it as, he has no idea. The classes last night started only four weeks ago, and the student teach ratio I saw in two classes was about 20:1, +/-. Other classes had less students.

This was the most vague answer I received.

I was told that the program would be approximately 40K (almost exactly) for 21 months of evening instruction, and that if I went on a monthly payment plan (as opposed to student loans), and if something should happen and I could not finish the program, I am not obligated for the entire 40K. This was a huge relief, though I did not ask to see this in the contract. I will prior to me signing anything. He also said that this payment plan does not charge interest. Now this was a pleasant surprise.

When asked about hands on versus demo time, he did not give me an exact number. He said that instructors usually demo first and then students would do hands on after that. He said that depending on the lesson or technique, the demos could be longer or shorter, but still "couldn't" give me a number. But ended by saying that if students need help with something, the instructors will go out of their way to help them, such as by staying late. I heard this from students there too.

Taking the advice of a prior post, I got to LCB about 45 minutes prior to my appointment and I talked with 6 students in the parking lot, and asked them varying questions about what they thought of the school. Most of the folks I talked with were not fresh out of HS - they appears to be in their late 20's or early 30's, as opposed to the youngsters - late teens to early 20's.

No one had anything bad to say about the program, even when asked, "if there was something you could change about the school/instruction, what would it be?"

They all felt they were getting a solid education, said the instructors were very helpful, and the one person who was to graduate in a few weeks said that numerous times during school was able to "do my own thing" after class or while other classes were going on (in the back of the room). And even got help from the instructor all the while. So it appears that motivated students with creative ideas get a chance to play outside the cirriculum a bit. Or, that student did. But too, the student came off as very professional (a cut above the rest for sure), and I can see where an instructor would be drawn to someone who truly loves the craft.

I didn't get the post about commission per student until too late, so I didn't get info on that.

Overall I was impressed with what the recruiter told me about the curriculum. I got into detail about what I wanted to get from my instruction, and he gave - what seemed to be very reasonable examples of how what I wanted would be included in the instruction, and even gave examples of what classes this or that would be covered in.

Here in Atlanta, I was told (unless I didn't hear right - I'm going to follow up on this today) that they had 30+ instructors teaching at the school. This was good to hear! I would like to get more info on this though.

Oh - he told me before I brought it up, he said that I would not leave this school a chef. That I would become that in time, and that this education is just a foundation for the real world. He said that if I graduated (Associates degree) and applied for a certificate from some culinary governing body (can't remember which - AC something...?), that in title only I could be called a "chef", but realistically, that takes time and effort and it won't happen over night. He was very clear on this.

The recruiter said that they do not help with job placement, but that they did provide help with externships, which are required for graduation.

I paid attention to the students as I toured the building. In class, they were very attentive and focused. They stayed in groups; no one was off by themselves avoiding instruction or other students. In the halls, they were friendly and nearly everyone was smiling and seemed relaxed. The place had a good vibe, for lack of a better term.

I have not lost site of the fact that this is a for-profit institution, and with that comes certain things. But having been there, seeing what I saw, talking with students, reviewing the curriculum, paying attention to the vibe in the place, etc., I have no doubt that anyone who enters this program and gives a solid effort will come out knowing so much more than going in.

In spite of my excitement, I've gotta say I was very impressed with the guy and the school. I'm now sure I will pursue culinary school, most likely with LCB.

Thanks all of you for helping me get prepared for last night's meeting! I cannot wait to get started!!!


KJ
post #8 of 12
Best of luck with your pursuits... I was semi-joking about the commission thing, its a good thing you didnt ask.

Alot of things that recruiter said seems contrary to what I experienced from my education at LCB, but maybe that school has a better idea of what theyre doing.
post #9 of 12
KJ,

Thanks for the thorough review. Overall, the recruiter didn't seem too sales driven so I am glad you had a good experience. Not all schools are the same (even in the same system) so if you feel it works for you, best of luck.

And to answer the question on commission (even though RAS was joking), they should be straight salary based. No bonus per individual students.
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post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Commission

OMG...! How funny! Looking at the last two posts... I'm a bit embarassed to say I didn't know you were joking.

:blush:

I'm glad too. Gosh, I'm laughing so hard right now....
post #11 of 12
My two questions would be:

What is the difference between a "Chef" and a cook?

And

Why do you call yourself a "Chef's school?"


Look like you had a good interview.

Never forget, with private schools the person who gets the signatures is the one who earns the most--much more than the instructors.....
...."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 #12 of 12
Is that really true? The Chefs were the highlight of the school experience for me. Sad world that they arent compensated accordingly
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