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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just want introduce myself, first off, and say that I am new here and happy to find this great forum.

This question has two parts:

1)If I want a solid education in classic French technique, with a program length that is a year or under (a year and a half is fine), which school should I pick?

2)Should this school be in the states or in Europe? Does this factor matter in the eyes of Executive Chefs? Will I have an upper hand over state side trained culinary students by being trained in Europe?

I have been working Washington DC area in a professional kitchen (as a pantry/cold foods chef) for a year or so now and really feel that cooking professionally is the place to be. But I have found that I lack a solid foundation of skill to allow me to progress and take my job into any state of fruition. I want to build my foundation of skill in classic French technique but am not sure which culinary school would be the best for solid/hard core French technique.

These are the culinary Schools I have been looking at:

***Le Cordon Bleu (London)***
http://cookingcareer.shawguides.com/...76336&pi=2&q=1

***Ritz-Escoffier Ecole de Gastronomie Française (Paris)***
http://cookingcareer.shawguides.com/...76336&pi=3&q=1

***Ecole Superieure de Cuisine Francaise Groupe Ferrandi (Paris)***
http://cookingcareer.shawguides.com/...76336&pi=1&q=1

***The French Culinary Institute***
http://cookingcareer.shawguides.com/...76336&pi=6&q=1

----I am having a very hard time trying deiced between these schools. Or any other one for that matter. :confused: The Institute of Culinary Education (formerly Peter Kump's New York Cooking School) sounds Intriguing as well. Is there any place any one can point me to figure out which one will be the better program. Which school has the better program and for what reasons? I am very turned on by Le Cordon Bleu and the Ritz schools because I can take both pastry and cuisine at the same time. The French Culinary Institute sounds wonderful with its cadre of master of master chefs and its on-site, Critically acclaimed restaurant externship. But I want to know the small details that will help me decide between these schools and this is why I am asking for help. AND, would I be getting a better education in Europe, than in the states, for learning classical French technique? And why. Does it matter if I am European trained? Who cares where I am trained? I feel, personally, that I would be getting a better education if I went European side but I do not know. Is this ture? I also think that I would have a harder time finding a job stateside if I get trained abroad. Is this ture? The French Culinary Institute has a very extensive job placement office, which I can utilize after and during my schooling at the institute.

I would love to hear from current or past students and chefs of all levels (bottom to top) of these schools (or other schools for that matter) on what your thinking is on this post questions. ANY help, hint, or clue is greatly and wonderfully appreciated. At this point I am tottaly lost.......

Thanks very much

Erik :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Sandra for your reply.

Everything I have heard about Le Cordon Bleu (London) program is good. From your experience it sounds like that the there are small class sizes which is great. I am also wanting to take the same program you are in; the Grand Dimplome which encompasses both the pastry and cusine dimploma in one. I bet the promram is very intensive. How long are you in class each day? And how many times per week do you meet? I am just trying to get a feel for how intensive the program really is. How many hands on classes do you do compared to demo classes by the chefs at Le Cordon Bleu? I am also wondering are you planing to take an externship? How does the externship work at Le Cordon Bleu London chapter? Are students guaranteed an externship or does it work another way? I also like the idea of the option of taking the basic and intermediate leves in London and then taking the advanced level in Paris. Does Le Cordon Bleu help its students find jobs in restaurants after graduation?

So, this brings me to my next question out to anyone who can answer it. If I go to a European culinary school how hard will it be for me then to work in Euope after graduation? In other words how hard would it be to get a work visa after graduation? And then how easy would it be to then work in the us coming from Europe? I just dont know what to expect after graduating from a European school as an American? What should I expect in terms of getting a job after a european school?

Thanks for any help,

Erik :bounce:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks so much, to everyone, for the replies. :D

splm, I now have a clearer picture of what the program entails. The program sounds very intensive and a very good experience. Thanks!!

Kafka_66, you are very right, it is all about what I put into my culinary school experience. IF I put 110% into my culinary education I'll get it right back 10 fold. From all the posts and from what I have heard elsewhere, the Cordon Bleu has an awesome program with a solid foundation in classical techniques. Finding a school with such a foundation is very important to me and I will put in that 110%, once I am in a program, and soak in the experience by doing as much as I can. I do not speak a foreign language and I do see this as a barrier to getting the full European culinary school experience. By learning in Europe I'll have to, by default, learn about a new culture which will take some time to get used to. This time could be used to learn more about cooking and less about getting comfortable in Europe if I stay State side. And as you said, "One thing for sure is that I did not have an easy time, nor was I accepted in the beginning..." I am weary of this break-in period and it wont help that I don't speak a lick of French. I am going to apply to the French Culinary Institute in NYC and dive into the NYC scene. I can always after working in the biz for a number of years go abroad. I see no need to rush into things.....

Has anyone out there had good experiences (or bad ones) with the French Culinary Institute? How intensive is the program and do you feel that it prepared you well for entering the "real world" of professional restaurants? What about its on-site restaurant, L'Ecole? Is the L'Ecole experience equal to other schools externship programs? I have heard that the French Culinary Institute has a solid foundation in classical French techniques and produces competent future chefs but I would love to hear it from the horses mouth so to speak. What can you graduates (of the institute) and chefs who have come in contact with these graduates tell me specifically about the FCI? Can anyone give me any feedback in the same respect with Peter Kump's?

Thanks again for all the awesome replies made (and ones to come)!

Erik
:smiles:
 
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