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New LCB London? Ritz Escoffier in Paris? Good Pastry Schools abroad?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hey All!


I'm new here! Here's a quick about me: I'm 25, currently in the online advertising world with a passion for baking. I've wanted to go to culinary school for years. After lots of researching and talking to students in school and different people who had attended a wide range of culinary schools, I took a semester at a local community college to see what I thought of working in the kitchen and if it was the path I wanted to take. I absolutely loved it- the quick pace, comradery, and of course learning about food but I wanted a more intensive program with students that were serious about the craft and instructors that were truely invested. I moved home and started saving like crazy, since I do not want any student loans when I graduate since I know I won't be making a lot. I really would like to go to school abroad to learn pastry where it started and it's the perfect opportunity to experience living in another country.


Here's what I want from a school: I've already mentioned this above, but an intensive program (1 year abouts in length) and serious students/chefs. Small class sizes. A smaller school (I don't want to get lost in the hustle). Abroad would be a bonus. I might as well throw this in here, I love all natural, healthy, sustainable cooking. I know it's quite the opposite from the full-butter schools below, but it is definitely a passion of mine.


Here are the schools I've narrowed it down too:


LCB London - I visited in October and start tearing up (yes I know... haha) when I toured the school. I loved how small it was, the students were older (yay), the product they were making looked top notch and the chefs seemed excellent from what I could hear. A bonus is that my company has a branch there and I could potentially work a couple hours a week to earn a little extra spending money. Here's the kicker- they've moved to a new building since I visited and I've yet to see it on the website or hear reviews about it. Are there any students currently attending that our on Cheftalk?


LCB Paris - I didn't visit it when I studied abroad 5-6 years ago (?) but I've heard good reviews (mixed with a couple yicks). I am in love with France too.


Ritz Escoffier Paris - It's small, instruction is one on one in groups of 10 or so, includes multiple opportunities to work in their kitchens. They have a 10 week professional pastry program. I would prefer to go to a program that's a bit longer though especially for how much you're asked to pay.


ENSP - The location looks excellent, great length, small class size. It's gotten a lot of bad reviews here though, so I've done a lot of digging (joining their Facebook page, learning exactly why those reviews happened, etc). It looks like administration has made a lot of changes to the program and people are enjoying it now.


San Fran Baking Institute - I really like how the focus is on the science behind baking. There's also a lot of practice in mass scale.


Ferrandi - I've looked into the school. Seriously almost applied. For some reason I'm leaning against it though?



- What do y'all think of the above schools?

- Has anyone found that attending school abroad has hindered the ability to get a job in the US after graduating?

- LCB London - Has anyone seen the new location or is attending?

- I'm really curious about thoughts on the Ritz Escoffier. I haven't seen a lot written about it, but it seems excellent.

- Are there any other schools abroad that have an excellent pastry program that I should look at?


What do I want to do when I graduate? I'm not quite sure but I've played with the idea of working for a restaurant for a bit, opening a bakery, or starting a b&b that offered cooking classes.


Thank you for your help!!


post #2 of 8

I attended a shorter course at LCB, Paris (more years ago than I care to remember!).  The skills I was taught then have served me well in the years since - but then, I am only an enthusiastic amateur - apart from a stint helping a friend who was a private chef in London (doing dinner parties in smart areas like chelsea and Kensington - and boardroom lunches) for a while.


Although I live in the UK, I've never had the need to check on cookery schools offering a year-long apprenticeship course.  I have take courses at lots of UK (and European) schools, but they've ranged from one-day, intensive courses (shellfish, for instance, or sugar-work) to one-to-two week courses, in places like Ballymaloe in Ireland.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

I've thought about doing that! It would be a great way to learn from lots of different chefs at several different schools. The only reason I'm leaning away from it is that I've a lot of jobs requiring a certificate from a culinary school. But I could also see the knowledge learned from going to several short classes as invaluable, buuuut you could have holes in your education? hmmmmm tough decision!

post #4 of 8

Hi homecook,


Are you sure you wanna study only in the Europe? and not in other places in US.Like most people here would say i would suggest you taking a great look on the course structure,and the time period,wether it gives hands on training or an internship or not,because its very easy to get carried away with the whole fancy french cooking and stuff but its very hard to make that same stuff everyday and that to 50 times in a day,so wat I'm saying is that practical training/internship or apprenticeship is a must.

Currently I'm looking into joining a culinary school in Singapore,it offers a great program and 6 month paid internship,and its so much cheaper as compared to Europe or US.



post #5 of 8

Hi Molly-


I am currently in the new LCB school in London in my final term as a patisserie student. It's been a great improvement when it comes to the kitchens. They are massive in size and have every possible state of the art machinery you can imagine. The chefs are still wonderful: very kind and professional. There is even a new cafe that has opened just a few days ago. The program is very complete. You make everything from the incredibly basic french classics like tarte au citron and madeleines to the really complicated, elegant plated desserts and modern entremets.


The downside is that it's not as cozy as it was before and the locker rooms are a nightmare. Really tight, virtually no space to move around or change into your chef's uniform comfortably. I'm afraid class sizes will increase. Instead of 8 to 10 like it was in the old school, you are looking at nearly 20 people in the kitchen. Since I am in my last term, I was lucky enough to have a small group. I like to work in small groups. For one, you get more attention from the chefs.


Just a heads up, I am afraid that the Ritz school will be closed from the summer of 2012 until 2013-2014 when they reopen the actual Ritz hotel after renovations. I wanted to go there myself after I am done here but it seems I am out of luck for now. I've heard some wonderful comments about it.


If you have any more questions about the LCB in London, I'd be happy to answer them for you :)

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the comments!


I decided to go with Le Cordon Bleu in Paris- so excited and can't wait to start! :-) 


mllefraise- I visit LCB London last October when I was in the city and fell in love with it. Just about got tears when I was leaving. I loved how small it was- cozy is the perfect word! The students work was very impressive when I was walking through and the chefs seemed friendly and attentive. I haven't heard the best things about the new location though - class sizes growing, something about how you're not allowed to taste the food the chef makes (?). Since living in France has been at the back of my mind ever since visiting in 07 I decided to take the leap and go to the Cordon Bleu there. I'm hoping it's very similar to the previous London location. :-) yay! can't wait! oh and I'm totally looking forward to long hours standing and hot kitchens well hopefully some are cool for pastry. haha

post #7 of 8

Hi mllfraise , I'm going to start the basic course of patisserie on january in the LCB school in London..but I'm a bit worried

to fail beacause I don't have a basic preparation and I'm not so good in taking notes in english beacause I'm Italian.

However ,have you any advice to give me ? Thank you and good luck ! 

Edited by Miusha - 12/5/12 at 5:08am
post #8 of 8

I want to askyou please about LCB london. how long is the pastry course? and i think it is a bit expensive do you anything similar to LCB's programe and is less expensive?  is LCB better in Paris or London?Thank u

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