Le Cordon Bleu USA

Le Cordon Bleu
Pros: experienced chefs, multiple locations
Cons: High price, low standards
I attended LCB in Portland, Oregon and also in Scottsdale, Arizona.  I was overall very disappointed with my time at Le Cordon Bleu.  The standards are LOW. I'm talking DIRTY uniforms, poor overall student presentation. The general education classes were taught by chefs.  I know they were trying but a chef is NOT an English teacher, I caught multiple large mistakes on my own paper and still received a 100% (why make me pay for that class if it is just going to be a joke?) 

I gave the school 2 stars because it did give me confidence in myself as a cook that I would not have otherwise had entering my first kitchen. 

Would NOT recomend LCB, luckily for everyone this school is going out of business... gives culinary school a bad name. 
Pros: Professional training
Cons: expensive
As a graduate in 2012 of Le Cordon Bleu I have nothing but good things to say about the school. Just like any other school it is there for you to gain knowledge and use it as a guide into your future. Many people expect to go to culinary school and be handed a job in the industry, but that is not how this industry works. I was already an established line cook prior to going to school. I knew my stuff and I knew how to handle myself in a professional kitchen. My goal for going to school was to expand my knowledge and to strengthen the core techniques of cooking. It is also nice to have a degree to back you up. There were so many students that had a ton of self entitlement although they had never even worked in a professional kitchen in their past. I can understand when people have egos especially in this industry, but if you are going to talk the talk then back yourself up with some real experience. It was very helpful to me that I had already been working in the field and going to this school at the same time because the course materials were second nature to me. The knife sets that were provided were terrible, so in this case I already had my own personal set of knives that I brought to school with me. The instructors that taught me were highly experienced which helped with my decision to choose this school. The variety of cooking equipment was also top notch and the space of the kitchens were awesome. I had smaller sized classes 10-12 students, so this gave me a ton of room to work with. On the other hand when you are working in a professional kitchen you do not always have this luxury. Many kitchens including the one I currently work in are cramped and you are forced to use a small area of space.
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Pros: Gives you the right tools to be successful!
Cons: Too Pricey for what position the degree gives you after graduating
I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Las Vegas in 2014 and honestly it was a very amazing experience! The school sets you up for as many internships that you can accomplish if you are willing to put in the work and work for free. The experience is invaluable however, paying for school is difficult to swing if you are working full-time and also trying to get the experience needed to succeed in your degree.  I would recommend this school for anyone who can get financial aide or is able to swing the fees by balancing work and also school at the same time. When you are finished with your degree and you put in a ton of hard work and networked well you can get some amazing job offers but nothing that actually will pay your tuition payments and give you enough money to live off of so just be mindful of that.  In regards to the schooling itself you will learn a ton and the Chefs are amazing, helpful, and knowledgeable. I would recommend going here but just remember if you do choose to pay such high tuition don't slack and soak up as much knowledge as you can. 
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Pros: Fun and informative with job placements available years after graduation.
Cons: Expensive
I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Portland back when it was Western Culinary Institute. For me it was a great experience. I was in the first ever Baking and Patisserie Course. We had experienced instructors who were still having fun because we were their first class at the school. I went to a great resort for my externship and stayed there after graduation. A couple years after graduation I was trying to relocate to a new state so I called them and they hooked me up with a new job in the state I wanted to move to. I never contacted them after that, but have never had a problem getting jobs with this school on my resume. 

The only negative I can think of is cost. While I can get a job anywhere, I'm still paying off that stupid loan. 

I absolutely think it was worth doing. I had a great time, learned a lot and get make a living at something I love doing. Up until that point I had only over worked FoH and filled in for missing dishwashers. It was expensive, but I learned things and gained the confidence needed to start working in some the best kitchens in the country. 
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Pros: You learn a lot of the basics and opens you to a world of chef connections
Cons: Classes are to easy
I attended Le Cordon Bleu Boston from 2011-2012. I had made a career change from sales to culinary. (Wasn't a drastic change due to the fact I was only 23) I always loved to cook and figured, why not?

The school opened me to a wide range of classical techniques that I still use today. But that is it. While attending school, I had picked up a job at a local Cheese Cake Factory. Nothing beats work experience. Working at a busy restaurant while going to school help me push pass any of my culinary peers. I learned new techniques at work hands on, then applied them and was able to also classify the names of said techniques at school.

But one thing that didn't sit well with me were the said practicals. Sure they gave you a recipe and you were suppose to follow them. But its not "practical" for new people looking for a career in this industry. They didn't teach you the most important aspect of the job. The sense of urgency. 

Another positive gain I received was meeting my "culinary mom" she helped me secure a job in Boston at a non chain. And that I will always be forever grateful.

I had just wished that I didn't spend so much money applying for loans. and just jumped in to work. 

All in all a great school to build connections with new and old chefs in the industry, and to learn the basics. 
Pros: Chefs and instructors who are not only qualified and certified, but very passionate about their work.
Cons: You get out what you put in.
I am a career changer, which can be hard for any and almost everyone. As a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, I can honestly say that they helped me with a smooth transition and actually cared if I understood what I was doing. The passionate chefs and instructors are what you would expect from any chef in the industry
Pros: Le Cordon Bleu European instructors three times for classes
Cons: Very expensive plus told students they'd get paid X when students either could not get work or only got paid minimum wage. Not good with student loan
I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu USA San Francisco in 2007 and really wondered why they didn't offer a combined pastry/savory certification.  Instead, one had to take either pastry or savory, not both.  I truly did not feel I had enough pastry education.  My instructors were dedicated; however, most of the students were not, and that affected class participation and learning.  The management of the school was income-oriented and not culinary-oriented so cuts were made on many things while they took anyone off the street to get federal grants and loans.  I was told after I graduated that I could not even think of working in Europe unless I continued training under a private chef for two years and pay him for the training.  That I was not qualified even to work in an European restaurant because I had not been properly trained.  Now, the reason I put up the CCSF culinary program is it is at the local community college, which means you pay $46 per unit plus a small supply fee, but you must be admitted into the culinary program to take any of the classes.  Not every student can do so, but they offer many classes that go into pastry and savory plus have the students do the restaurant and internship programs as does Le Cordon Bleu.  The difference, a lot less money.  Another thing, when I went out job hunting, Le Cordon Bleu students had really bad reputations in the industry as a whole and that was shocking.  The reason, not adequate training.  I took the evening program because I worked during the day and thoroughly enjoyed my courses but I agree, I did not feel that I had had enough training when I graduated.  At the restaurant I interned at, on the last day, they asked me if I could work for them but at that time I had already made other arrangements.  I guess they didn't think about the fact that we students need employment once we graduate to pay off our loans.  Another thing, I really wanted to pursue the pastry classes but the cost was prohibitive so I've gone off on my own and am learning by practicing.  I've also taken up the practice of going through many cookbooks and reading about technique and practice as often as I can.  
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Pros: Knowledgable staff, one class at a time helps focus skill building
Cons: Students do not care, Classes very simple to gain passing grades and awards
I attended the CCA from 2008-2009 (18month course). Working on only one class at a time for three week periods (sometimes two classes when it came to math and writing) was a definite plus as it really helped to focus in on what it was you were to be learning so that the next class would build upon that foundation. I definitely learned a lot of the basic skills needed and it gave me the foundation and confidence I needed to pursue my career. The chef instructos were fantastic and always there to give you a hand or sit down and discuss what ever questions you may have, even if it had nothing to do with the class you were in.

Unfortunately, that is where the benefits of this school end for me. The classes themselves were not overly challenging, some bordered on being too simple. It came down to whether or not you attended class, not if you actually took anything away from it. The final class you take is to run the school's restaurant which is the real test. By the end of the course schedule, students would be in the restaurant class unable to complete service because they had no idea what it was they were doing (although looking at all their grades would suggest otherwise). I understand that everyone is there to learn, but I have spoken with alumni before my time there and have worked with alumni who graduated a year after I did and there seems to be an unsettling trend. The school is being run less like a culinary school and more like a business. They no longer graduate chefs, they pump out cooks who are over confident in their abilities and do not understand that culinary school on your resume only shows you know the basics, you still need to work your way from the bottom.

Both a chef and sous chef that I have worked for said they needed to take a test and be accepted to join the school. They told me classes were tough and study was not an option, it was mandatory if you had any hope of graduating. My experience was I did not need to study, though I did anyway. Newer students have lost vital classes and when they come to me for internships I find myself having to review basic things such as how to make a proper aioli or even how best to dice vegetables.

I gave this school a 2.5 because previous years were great, some of the best chefs I have worked for graduated way before my time. Students who graduated around my years there, many of them are still stuck in the same line cook position from when they graduated. Newer graduates, many of them graduate and leave within a year or two, I have seen it many times. Hopefully this school will return to its former glory, but for now you need to be prepared to do your own sudying and research if you have any hope of achieving your dreams after graduation from here.
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Pros: World Class Chef Instructors, great course material, quality equipment, professional kitchens
Cons: Lazy, unprepared, unmotivated fellow students -- if this is you, think twice before enrolling in culinary school!
I'm a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-Chicago (when I graduated 10 years ago, it was still called The Cooking & Hospitality Institute of Chicago). At the time of enrollment, I had done my homework to prepare myself for an intensive, 16-month program. Well, nothing had really prepared me for how hard and arduous--both physically and mentally--culinary school turned out to be. Even though I graduated with a 4.02 GPA, it took a tremendous amount of sacrifice: attending labs during what little free time I had, studying for quizzes and exams EVERY night (yes, there was a quiz or exam every day for every single course), getting up every morning at 4 a.m. to be in school by 6 a.m. (the time of my first class), working on class projects, assignments and more studying every weekend, etc). All this while at the same time I was working a full-time job.

Nevertheless, I LOVED culinary school and I LOVED and would almost say revered my wonderful, wonderful chef instructors at CHIC. I was also extremely fortunate to be in a class of mostly older students like myself. Not only were my fellow students older, they were for the most part an extremely talented, hard-working and driven group, and I learned a lot from them.

From my observations and from the observations of people I've known who have also gone through culinary school--and even from my chef instructors--my class was extremely atypical. The dropout rate at the time I attended was about 50%...during the first three MONTHS! Those class groups that had dropouts were lucky-- they no longer had the deadwood that dragged down the pace of and continuously disrupted the entire class. This was not a problem for our class but it did become our problem when we had to share a kitchen with another class or clean up the mess left by a previous class. So I was extremely fortunate.

All I want to say is that if you're reading this because you're trying to decide if culinary school is right for you--it's not. Not if you aren't prepared to work hard and make the sacrifices needed to succeed. As I wrote above, it's the hardest job you'll ever love. And hard it was. But so worth it too!
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Pros: well rounded courses, excellent instructors, excellent job fairs and networking
Cons: most of the best instructors left, they are losing courses, shoves Disney down your throat
When I first started going to le cordon bleu in minneapolis, it was great. i learned so much while i was there. the generals were easy to comprehend, the cooking classes were informative, and we had some absolutely amazing chefs. when we had job fairs, there would be people from all over the u.s. the options were available and there were people with the experience into the real gritty world of cooking and becoming a chef. most had a lot of passion but the thing is, le cordon bleu hosts a disney week 2 times a year. they claim that disney is going to be your best internship. the problem is, that a lot of people that got their "best internships" were pretty much handed burger flipping jobs. 4-5 of the best chefs in the school are now gone. with that, some of the better courses are no longer there. they're are still some very good instructors, but with how much it costs to go to a private school (with tuition rising) i would highly suggest not. once upon a time, yes. 
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Pros: Awesome staff awesome area great equipment if something doesn't work the next day it does
Cons: i think student get away with to much walking over the staff and sliding threw classes to easy at times
Le Cordon Bleu USA Miami Campus Review  From a Students Point of view March 2014

I currently am attending Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Art’s as a Student for my Associates Degree in Culinary Art’s in Miami.
I started out in 1997 knowing the Culinary was going to be where I would be by this time in my life
but I didn’t think it was going to take me this long to come back when I had to take a long detour all those years ago.
My first Choice in Culinary School was CIA but back in the late 90s still under my parents support they said no we can’t afford CIA so you pic somewhere els less expensive and closer to home I think it was really the Closer to home part for the reason they didn’t want to help me with going to CIA.
Back in 1999 when I had started with Pittsburg Culinary I think they were still doing 18 month Degree programs and like 19k where now its 40-60k for 21 months Depending on school.
My first choice was to go back to Pittsburg I knew the Le Cordon Bleu had bought the school in 2003 2004 so it wasn’t the same school but it was what I had missed the area and all
But when I found out LBC was closing there Campus in PA I figured I’d check out the Miami Campus.
One of the first things I really liked about this school was when I called up and spoke with and first visited with the Admission Department it was the first of 4 schools that did not try to trash talk the other school in the area yes other school would come up with trash talking of all others in the areas to get you to come to them LCB didn’t do that. I liked the tour I didn’t get to see all the students at work I didn’t get to see all the hyped up possible phony stuff I just got a nice tour when the students where on break before classes started again and I liked that.
This was in Feb 2013 I choose I would come back and its been 13 months and I’m positive that I would be miserable right now if I had not chosen to come back.
 I would like to start out with I read many reviews from those who give schools a bad review because they want to blame the school for what was really their own fault
Some of them go like this the school didn’t do a thing to train me for the real world so I flunked my externship program yes I have read that from others and I don’t feel sorry for them or the ones who don’t have an externship why don’t I feel sorry for them?
because they aren’t doing anything for their education they probably are just like some of the students I see in school that just come in for their 4 hour class and can’t wait to get out and go home not because they have a job but because they have a tv and a video game waiting at home for them.
So this then gets to the next point why bring this up?. Because you only get out what you are willing to put into school. Yes the curriculum seems short I feel that 6 weeks is not nearly enough time to learn what they want you to learn in each class. Sometime we don’t even get to finish a full set of curriculum if where in a gen ed class I have had a few where we never make it even threw the entire book so I feel a little cheated yes but as a student spending my good money to be there it’s my job to bring this up and I do. When I say you get what you put in I mean it when I have the time I stay I have stayed until 10pm before when my class is a 10am class I try to get in to school around 9pm and I try to stay as much as I can some of the staff mess around and joke with me about how I don’t have a life outside well this is my life and that’s why I am here and I’m going to stay till I’m told to leave. The staff most of them are really awesome. I would say that at least out of all the chefs I personally have interacted with a very large majority of them are there for US the Students not for the paycheck. The Pay helps yes but truly they are there for the students to help us I have never been told no when I have asked for help If there is anything I need I ask and the Instructors will always take their time to help you just have to show that you are here for real and not just to pass time you show that this is who you are and they help why? Because they know what they have to teach is priceless its knowledge.
Sometimes there are issues with students some are not so respectful especially towards the chefs I see this a lot and it really pisses me off. And then how much some of them put up with disrespectful students that sucks. I get ticked off about one thing I think corporate tells them in a not officially way that students are not supposed to feel because you hear all the time every class the beginning of the first day of class how students hardly ever feel unless it’s for attendance issues see we automatically fail a class if we are more than 4 days absent to school in that 6 week period unless its an approved excused absence then we can make up that day. But then I see some students that pass classes and I feel they shouldn’t just because they show up I think this might be because the school doesn’t want to lose the students and the revenue so they are told to at least pass them with a C now here is the catch you can’t go on externship unless you have a 2.5 GPA or maybes its now a 2.0 so even if you squeak by with all C grades you won’t be able to graduate from school without your externship and you can’t go on externship with that low GPA so this is the one thing I don’t really like about the way the school operates but one small thing just goes back to you get out what you put in and if you show what you want they give it to you in ways no one will know until it’s too late.
this is why I know I’m in the right place because if I wanted to stay later after class I can walk up to some of the chefs and ask them can I sit in your class today and help out does your class need an extra hand will you help me with this will you teach me more you know what they say 90% of the time Yes sure your welcome any time we can help.
everyone has an open door all you have to do is walk up to it and let them know your there.
The chefs that know me know I plan on coming back in 10 years after I have been out in the industry I am coming back my plan is I will be where they are and teach and help others where I am now.
I am Full of Pride of my Bleu school J

Ross Goldstein
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