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Another "which school" question!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hey all,

 

I know there are millions of threads out there, and I have read through most of them. However I need to ask - which school would you suggest going to? I am from India, so a local college is out of the question, I'm going to have to travel anyway.

 

I already have my bachelor's degree in management, so though I had my heart set on the CIA, I am now looking at more options. One other one is LCB London which is supposed to be the best one after Paris, and I don't speak French, so Paris is out of the running. I would do the 9 month Patisserie course over there.

 

In all the threads I have seen, there is a lot of negativity for LCB, why is that? I've spoken to a few people who went there, they loved it! And also, you recommend community colleges too, would it make sense in my case?

 

Thanks!

 

post #2 of 10

LCB CIA and the other big cooking schools are expensive. thats not in thier favor. you may have also seen that alot of us in the industry have issues with these people coming out of school and thinking they are ready for a sous chef or chef position. they are not. I would consider them well informed with no practical experience in real restaurant work, they think they are the next Marco White or Eric Ripert and above doing dishes , or making a salad.

 

A question for you. What is your goal? To be called Chef out of school? Or learn how a restaurant really works? If the first, well I doubt it...if the second you don't need LCB or CIA, you need to get into a professional kitchen and get to work. The Old School of Hard Knocks is a fantastic education system, your knowledge is first hand and pride in your work is earned by remarks of your Chef and co-workers. 

 

In America the only issue you would have with a community college is that they will charge an extra $1000 or so cause you have not lived in the state or city for a year thus giving you resident status instead of out-of-country status. You will still save a lot of money as compared to the big schools though. best of luck.

"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Maybe I wasn't clear, I want to become a pastry chef. Work for a few years after school, and ultimately own my own bakery!
 

post #4 of 10

I concur with Gunnar. /Save your money, get some practical experience. You may find out you do not like the business after putting out all that $  Good Luck to you!

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #5 of 10

LCB in America is a for-profit school (corporation) that follows a scheme that probably varies greatly from campus to campus (as do all for-profit schools, eg USC vs DeVry - yes it varies that much). The name used to be something else, as were the many schools LCB have bought up in the last decade, eg CCA in San Francisco (California Culinary Academy).

 

I would never presume to discredit an LCB campus because the reality is they may have a wonderful faculty that rivals CIA or J&W (eg one of my Chefs at school who is a J&W grad who hated the experience) or, who knows what other amazing program (consider where Julia Child learned, or that the entire idea of a culinary school is as recent as the 1970s). The problem is there are some campuses (campusi?) which aren't about quality and rather are about making money and thus the brand name has become somewhat tarnished compared to it's earlier days.

 

The same is true for a number of other schools (like mine), but if you can swing for the big leagues (and it sounds like you can, I have a few Indian friends from London, please forgive my presumptousness =p), then my money would be on the sexier programs like CIA in the obvious (in the USA, and I would be so bold as to be specific about Napa, as opposed to New York because of the produce around the school, among other issues), and probably a number of European schools I can't begin to guess at.

 

Personally, if I was someone in your position I'd be looking to apprentice in France, Italy, Japan, or something of that nature which appeals to you and that you can dedicate yourself to for awhile.

 

But I know literally nothing, despite a 3.75 GPA and 20 years as a graphic designer.

 

Just sayin...

post #6 of 10

I have taught Culinary Arts and Rest. Management. in a public school system High school and adult ed.. We taught the same thing as the schools that charge the big bucks,.For the Hundredth  time or more I will state. It is not so much the school. IT IS THE STUDENT.how much they want to learn, their motivation, and where and how far they are willing to go. Hope this helps all the students.  Thank You

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #7 of 10

Again Ed, you are so very right, it really does boil down to what you make of the education Chef gives you. (PC translation: "Shares with you")


Edited by Culinuthiast - 7/20/10 at 3:55am
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Culinuthiast - Thanks for you grrst reply. So you're saying that those would be better options than LCB London. I would actually love to go the CIA, but is it worth an extra year, when LCB is just 9 months? I actually love the CIA :)

 

And about the other schools, could you point me in the right direction? I only know of a few schools in France, which are out of the running because of the teaching in French.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your replies!! So you're saying that CIA Napa [the one I had my heart set on anyway] is better than LCB London, even considering the extra year??

I know these are more set on making money, but I figured that even still, they have their reputation to consider, and not one student I've spoken to is unhappy about their time there!

 

I would love to apprentice somewhere, but I wouldn't know how to go about it, and I can't simply fly out without a plan :P

post #10 of 10

First to be clear, I am a student and nothing more, please do not assume I know what I am talking about. I'm speculating as a fellow, passionate enthusiastic student.

 

I know nothing about LCB London (while I lived in London for 6 years, I wasn't in any way in the culinary industry at the time, nor had anything to do with school there). For all I know LCB London is the best school in the world right now. But I've never heard of it. Not that I would, I'm in California. Having said that (as a former Londoner) it's one of the most amazing cities in the world and if you have good opportunities there - and in paticular, good contacts - it might well be a far superior opportunity. 

 

Especially now because it is transitioning dramatically from non-food town to one of the most cutting edge food towns in the world (or so it seems).

 

What I do know is this:

 

- The one Chef I've met and had as an instructor in class that is from CIA Napa (and certainly not the only experience she had) generally demonstrated a keen awareness and competency that was simply amazing compared to not only other insutructors I've had but also things I've seen in video, and other forms of educational materials these days. That's not saying she was the best instructor I've ever had, just that her level of competency was quite simply astounding and for me that translated into serious value for money because I learned a hell of a lot, and developed a new respect for the given class (baking) and really opened my eyes in ways I can't begin to describe, and largely just by example on her part. (And I know a lot of other students didn't have that reaction to her - see Ed's comments above, it's a bout what you the student makes of Chef's exprience).

 

- I know the area, I lived in Napa county for a few years, and have friends who've been in the industry 20+ years who also went to school in the area (CCA back in the early 90s) and who speak with some degree of real awareness of the reality there. I'm not sure it's even controversial for me to say that the Bay Area in CA is one of the most richest, diverse and highest quality sources of virtually any produce you can possibly imagine in the world. This of course, contributes greatly to your palette as well means the standrads of what is going on around you are that much higher than wherever else you may be. People from Japan, France or Italy might (rightly) scoff at that sentiment but as an American and a Californian native I have a lot of confidence in making that point. Those other regions may be the best at a few select things, eg the terroirs in France, but I think the rich diversity of Northern California is unsurpassed in the world in terms of having so many diverse products be to the highest standard, if not the best in the world in countless categories (garlic, oysters, artichokes, vineyards with strains of grapes older than French grapes because of diseases in Europe, etc, just an endless list of WOW products that are not only amazing, but also on the cutting edge things like the slow food movement as well - it didn't just end with Chez Panisse & Alice Walters, obviously).

 

- The cultural reality of California is very compelling at the moment (and has been for decades) because of it's rich melding of disparate cultures. Some of the best Dim Sum you might ever have will be found in obscure Bay Area destinations (which formerly might have been limited to something like CHinatown or the Richmond district, but now are more likely to be in Oakland or even the SE Bay, which is sort of the richer Suburban area many generations have ultimately migrated to from neighborhoods previously limited to the City). I can't even begin to describe the transfroamtion of the Mission district from former ghetto to one of the most compelling areas for understanding what's happening in Latin oriented food in the world. The list of strange little enclaves that are cutting edge goes on and on too, eg one of the higher concentrations of Taiwanese in San Mateo or the crazyness of Santa Cruz's stoner/university/hippy/organic movement that could be a massive influence in the coming years should the legalization of cannibis in California actually happen next year (and no I'm not a smoker, I'm just conscious of the huge impact something like that will have on California's hospitality scene should it happen).

 

- while I think what's happening in London is extremely exciting - compared to Northern California, I think the latter would be a much richer learning experience, especially if after learning you will return to London to work and live.

 

- I agree with the regular sentiment expressed here by the professionals: go work in a real kitchen for awhile before you blow hundreds of thousands of dollars on a top-flight education.

 

I can't tell you how amazed I am by how many students in culinary school think they don't have to do dishes and are so disgusted by the prospect they literally can't do it. From my perspective, if you can't deal with that you have no business being in a kitchen, and it shouldn't take you $100k to find that out.

 

Gonna shut up now, and best of luck =D


Edited by Culinuthiast - 7/22/10 at 2:31am
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