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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.