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NEED YOUR OPINION ON THREE SCHOOLS

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

My daughter is interested in attending Culinary School, she is a senior in high school. She is already working on her service hours at a local restaurant.We have visited CIA, The Art

Institute in Philadelphia and Middlesex County College (NJ) . We need your opinion on all three. Has anybody had good or bad experiences on any of these choices ?
 

post #2 of 8

dnorate7,

 

I don't have experience with any of those schools, and I realize that you want first-hand experience, but I can give you my opinion as a recently enrolled culinary student.  I think it all depends on the quality and history of the county college. The CIA will provide your daughter with the option of acquiring a top-notch education in culinary arts, but you will pay a lot of money for it. I'm not sure about that particular Art Institute. They generally have good programs, but they are expensive. You will save a lot of money if you send your daughter to the community college.

 

I am currently enrolled in a culinary program at a community college in Dallas, Tx. It is called El Centro, and it's located in downtown Dallas. The school is known far and wide for its culinary program. It has a great reputation for producing top talent and it is highly respected in the industry. I considered attending the Art Institute, but I decided on a community college because of its history, reputation and outstanding teaching talent. A lot of El Centro graduates have gone on to become executive chefs at critically acclaimed restaurants in the DFW metroplex. Some even go on to own their own bakeries and catering companies. I don't know if Dallas is unique because of it supposedly having more restaurants per capita than any other city in the United States. (I'm not sure if I believe that). We might not have shiniest and newest equipment, but we are proof that a community college can and does produce high-quality chefs who go on to do great things in the culinary world. 

 

Give the community college a chance, but just make sure it's a solid program with a history of good results.

 

I do have to point out that if there was a CIA in Dallas, then I would have definitely chosen it over anything else. Yikes! It makes my head spin thinking about the potential debt! Good luck! 

post #3 of 8
When i worked in Dallas almost all our externs were from Le Cordon Bleu. We might have had one or two from art institute but never had anyone from a community college. Was not ever aware there was anything other than these two there. As far as staff, most were lcb or cia. A few from j&w. I feel all of the top schools are about on par with each other.

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post #4 of 8

Chef7734,

 

Two questions: When did you work in Dallas and where did you work in Dallas? LCB Dallas has only been open since 2007. They only recently started awarding associates degrees.

 

El Centro college has been awarding associate degrees and certificates in culinary arts since WAY before Le Cordon Bleu even considered Dallas. I have professors who graduated from the El Centro culinary program in the early 80s. You definitely must not be from the area. lol. There is no way you could have worked in the industry in Dallas for very long and not have heard of El Centro. This is not to even mention Collin County's culinary program. 

post #5 of 8
Worked at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. Just about everyone working there was cia, lcb from other areas, J&w, and a few other schools nation and world wide. Our externs and interns were from lcb in Dallas.

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post #6 of 8

Ah. I dined with my parents at the Mansion on my 21st birthday. It was okay, not too impressive, but nothing quite compares once you've dined at Les Ambassadeurs at the Hotel de Crillon in Paris. I've heard the Mansion has had some trouble. I guess the most memorable thing about the dinner was dining next to Ross Perot Sr. I prefer the French Room at the Adolphus or the Hotel St. Germain--superior quality. When you make you next reservation at the French Room, request Connie Francis; she's a doll. 

 

Sorry, dnorat7, I didn't mean for your thread to be hijacked. Back to the original subject, but let this be a lesson. Watch out for school snobs willing to back a sub-par school at the cost of sounding pretentious.  

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by dnorat7 View Post

My daughter is interested in attending Culinary School, she is a senior in high school. She is already working on her service hours at a local restaurant.We have visited CIA, The Art

Institute in Philadelphia and Middlesex County College (NJ) . We need your opinion on all three. Has anybody had good or bad experiences on any of these choices ?
 

I have experience with The Art Institute, and while they are all very nice people, when I started talking to the non-chain restaurants around the area, the Chefs weren't really impressed with their programs, or the students that came out of there. If she is dead set on going, there will almost definitely be a $20,000-$30,000 difference in price between the community college and other schools, and there will not be a large gap between knowledge gained going to a community college vs a bigger named culinary program. Hope that helps, best of luck.

post #8 of 8

Go to a community college..  No matter how much you pay, they will all show you how to boil water the same way at 212 degrees,  Does not matter what school you go to ,it depends on the students themselves and how much they want to actually absorb.

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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