Thinking about pursuing a 6 month program in L'Art de la Pâtisserie here and was curious about anyone's opinions of the school.
Also researching in other ways but figured I would see if there was any word of mouth.
This school is in my city and it has an excellent reputation run by one of the best pastry chefs in Chicago. Before you spend a ton of cash to go to the school what is your experience and your goals? Have you worked in professional pastry shop before? Do you want to own your own shop, work in a fine hotel, make chocolates, work on a cruise ship? If you have not worked in the industry then do not go to school. You must work first in the industry at some capacity and then go to school otherwise you will waste your time and money. It is a hard business that requires many hours away from family and friends, weekends, holidays.
When I attended culinary school I was one of the few people there who actually had worked in the business and did not have an existing career or college degree. Many of those people (lawyers, doctors, French teachers) spent a lot of time and money to find out later after a year or two in the industry that they did not realize how good that had.
Would I recommend this school? Yes
I appreciate the feedback. I have been inquiring into stage positions in my area (Oak Park/River Forest) but nothing yet. I was partly thinking of enrolling to get some kind of paper because maybe no one is taking me seriously that I want to pursue a culinary career. I've done what people said, namely just going and asking in restaurants, but it hasn't produced anything. With the FPS, I could attend the afternoons (1:15 to 7:15) while working mornings part time for 6 months. I can swing the money and time but won't have another opportunity til about 2020. It is harder to pursue a regular non-pastry culinary arts certificate in Chicago only at night.
One point that I have heard many times, including your post, is that people have to know exactly what they want before they go to school. I'm not convinced that is entirely valid. Sometimes you know the direction you want to go but may not have everything all mapped out. Life is often like that.