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Looking for advice about Le Cordon Bleu from people out of culinary school or professionals

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I started Le Cordon Bleu online through the Scottsdale campus for restaurant and hospitality management which I have been taking for more than a year now. I also started a reddit IamAMA and someone had indicated that Le Cordon Bleu was like ITT tech and Devry in that they are for profit and the degree is worthless. I don't like the idea that I am going to be paying a large tuition for a worthless degree and the online research doesn't help. Reason being is that the reviews waffle from waste of money and class action lawsuits to excellent reviews and reccomendations. When I first got enrolled I was under the impression that Le Cordon Bleu was a credible school, I am now realizing my naivety by the fact that I even have to ask these questions.


Also I would I am having trouble finding out if American Le Cordon Bleu schools are affiliated in any way with the original France school.

post #2 of 5

First I suggest you search recent archives--there are several discussions on this very topic.

It doesn't really matter if theyre affiliated or not, what matters is the quality of education youre getting,

the credibility it has with employers, versus how much youre paying for it.

I also suggest that you call 10 or 12 employers you would like to work for, and ujst ask them

one question of their busy day--what do they think of American Le Cordon Bleu schools and would

they recommend them or hire from them. If they say "sure" but have no experience with their graduates,

then disqualify their opinion. You'll start getting a feel for whether or not its worth it.

post #3 of 5

Hello there,

If I was you, and I wanted to study at the Cordon Bleu school, it would be in Paris, and only Paris.

There you are going to get a proper classical training which is recognised all over the world. 



I would definitely not go to the US one for reasons which will become clear, and I am not sure if Paris is affiliated with the US one, or not. 


Similarly, if I wanted to train at the Escoffier school, it would definitely only be at the Ecole Escoffier Ritz Paris, where again, you would get world class training from MOF chefs.

For some reason the Paris school, which was founded in 1988 in honour of Escoffier, is not associated with the US school.

Neither is the Paris ecole associated with Escoffier's great grandson, who seems to have done a deal with the US school.

More money for him on the table in the US I guess.

We should remember that Escoffier and Ritz were partners who together established the Ritz hotels in London, Paris etc 


It's got to be Paris, every time.


If you want a classical French culinary education working with a world renowned chef, I am a huge fan of Raymond Blanc, a French chef who owns the Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, in Oxfordshire, near London, (http://www.manoir.com/web/olem/le_manoir.jsp,)

Raymond has maintained his 2 Michelin stars for almost 3O years. Getting Michelin stars is one thing, keeping them is something else.


Raymond prides himself on the fact that he has trained many young aspiring chefs who have eventually gone on to start their own successful businesses.


Back to, why not, the US Cordon Blue?


I recently made Raymond's famous "Flourless Chocolate Celebration" cake, for a friend's birthday. It was wonderfull, if I do say so myself.


Here is the link to the recipe : http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/flourless_chocolate_cake_73668

and here, is the 29 minute video. The cake is in the last 7 minutes, but watch all of it. You will love it. I know you will.

video link Flourless Chocolate cake : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOi-WM1o_jE

So now you've seen what this light delicate chocolate cake can and should look like when prepared correctly.


Now watch the chef at the US Cordon Bleu school make it. The difference is Night and Day. I mean.....Chalk and Cheese!!!


The poor woman has absolutely NO IDEA what she is doing. If this is the US Cordon Blue school, you'd get better training at McDonalds.


According to the video she was American Culinary Federation Western Region Pastry Chef of the Year 2010.

Jesus !!! How bad were the losers?


There are tons of places you could go to work with todays star chefs. There is Grant Achatz, Alinea, in Chicago, in London Michel Roux at Le Gavroche, then there is Heston Blumenthal at the Fat Duck, and endless wonderful chefs and places to train in France.


I can arrange introductions if you wish. Very pleased if I can be of any assistance.


Here is a photo of my attempt at Raymond's Flourless Chocolate Celebration Cake; 

OK, I know, my white chocolate writing is crap, but Hey, It's the thought that counts !!!


Edited by black dog - 3/30/14 at 3:31am
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

It seems there is a consensus about the quality of food that comes from these schools. I am taking online classes however it is focused only on running a business and the administrative side of things. All the training I have received on a culinary level has come from place that I have worked at over the last 10 years. I am currently employed at HyVee and the chef side has many people who are acf certified, have studied over seas, and have an overall knowledge that I have stared tapping into. I have learned a lot from school as well. I actually started a tumbler account that I post my assignments on so I can go back and reference them. Here is the link if anyone is interested. http://chefnerd.tumblr.com/

post #5 of 5

Hi cooksalot,


I tend to look at things from a different angle, mainly because of career and school choices I made 30 -odd years ago.


I grew up in Canada and have had a fairly typical view of schooling:  A culinary school would teach you all you needed to know, and then you went to work, education complete and finite.


And then I went to Europe and got "indoctrinated" to a whole different mind set.  Firstly, no one really serious about cooking professionally went to a "culinary school".  Instead, at age 15, you did an apprenticeship, and 3 years later got your "papers", and then went going around to as many different places you could expose yourself to, to learn more--knowledge is infinite, not finite. Skills too. 


The apprenticeship system in most parts of Europe has real benefits:

-You work your (deleted) off, therefore you have 3 years of actual working experience, developing both skills AND knowledge, not just school caf's, 3 weeks of stageing, and watched the demo in block 3 about making a bechemel. 

-You have a national recognized qualification at age 18. 

-You have no financial debt or student loan, and you are still currently employed upon getting your qualification, and not a Mc D's job neither. 


Escoffier, as well as many other European Chefs went through this system, very few went to a culinary school first, employer later.


If you look at the Cordon Bleu and it's history, you will see that it was developed not for training future Chefs of France, but rather for people who wanted to learn how to cook for themselves--not necessarily for the industry.  Perhaps it's most famous student--Julia Child-- certainly had no intention of opening up a restaurant.  True, she did wonders for the hospitality industry and cooking in general, but she never led a brigade, never got hauled over the coals if her food or labour cost were out by 1or 2 %, never caught her best lead cook walking out to the parking lot with a tenderloin stuffed down his pants leg.


I have a deep respect for culinary schools in N. America who insist that students must work at least a year in the industry before forking out for the course.  For the schools that don't, I' d like to take them into the walk-in for a mini "meeting"....

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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