Right now I am deciding between attending the French Culinary School in Chicago for the 24 week pastry certificate or NECI's for their 8 month pastry certificate. I am having some trouble deciding. Al little bit about me…I have no prior experience (I want to change careers) and would someday want to work in a fine dining restaurant and then maybe own my own bakery. So I am definitely more focused on the more "fine dining" desserts so to speak. And I know most people's advise is try to work at one before to see if you like it, but I feel very unconfident anyone would take me as I have zero experience. Anyways, I was first leaning toward going to the French Pastry School as it seems to have a great reputation, seems more geared toward what I want, and it is also only 6 months. It is also very expensive as well though. (One quick side note, I noticed that they use the metric system there. Is that normal in the industry?). I also saw they there are 18 people per class, and watching some of the videos online it seems like that there is not very much hands on with the teachers. I do plan on visiting, but then I heard about NECI and their pastry certificate. There are only 10 students per teacher. It is a lot cheaper and it is 15 weeks in residency and 15 weeks in internship. It is only the certificate and not the associates. I asked what the big difference was, and they said for the associates it is geared more for fine dining and the certificate was more for a cook who would work in a bakery. Since I do want to do fine dining, I don't know if this would appropriate for me. Also I am in my mid thirties and looking at NECI it looks really young, not that I care, but I feel I am little too old to be doing keg stands.
Does anyone know which has the better reputation? I am trying to pick the place where I would learn more and most importantly have the better opportunity of finding a job after finishing from there. Any advise or wisdom would be very much appreciated. Thanks.