Back in the dark ages, I graduated from a well respected culinary school that a few years later was bought and absorbed into the Career Education Corporation and became a Cordon Bleu school. Over the passing years, I noticed subtle changes that didn't sit well with me, but I thought that maybe I was overreacting.
A few more years passed and I actually was in the interview process with them to become an instructor. It was a four step process and I made it through three, when I decided that my suspicions about the direction the school was taking, were valid or worse. I pulled the plug on the interview process and bowed out.
Sad indeed. :~(
The shame of it is, they did this to themselves. Student reviews of chef instructors that were submitted at the end of each class were given a ridiculous weighting advantage in terms of faculty retention. To avoid annoying the students (and getting a negative review), all too many instructors bent the rules.
For example, the student handbook said that students had to arrive on time for class properly attired with all tools and textbooks. In theory, students who arrived late were supposed to be locked out. In reality, many students arrived late, improperly attired and often without their tools or textbooks. Instead of being locked out, they were quietly admitted to class and the end result was that all too many students developed some really bad habits. Not only did they arrive late but they sat in the back of the class talking, playing with their cell phones, or napping. Since hands-on production grades were often given to cooperative learning groups, a lot of these students blew off taking notes, secure in the knowledge that they could "coast" simply by joining a group in which the other 3 students would do all of the work.
Instructors who were tough were hated ... and got bad reviews from all of the slackers in their respective classes. The popular instructors were the ones who held the students to low accountability standards.
When the time came for students to do their externships, think about the bad habits that all too many had developed.
1) They were consistently late to work.
2) They were improperly attired.
3) They didn't have their tools
4) Since they had goofed off in school, many of them did't even have basic culinary skills.As appalling as this sounds, some of them didn't know how to hold their knives and many had only a minimum understanding of basic knife cuts.
It didn't take long for the Le Cordon Bleu name to become MUD. Nobody wanted a Le Cordon Bleu graduate let alone one of their externs.
By keeping their students happy and going for short term profits, the American division of Le Cordon Bleu ruined their credibility to the point where no one was even willing to buy them out.
I have a niece who was asking me about culinary school and I flat out told her to just start looking for an entry level position, pay attention and work your way up. At least you'll be making money instead of spending money. Told her she could move laterally to get ahead if she's ambitious enough, or she can always bail if she decides it's not for her. I can't control her level of investment and there is too much hype on TV.