Community College, Le Cordon Bleu or other

Joined Oct 9, 2003

I've only recently begun looking into culinary school again since I first considered it roughly 7-8 years ago. I had a few questions I was hoping some people might be able to help me on.

First of all, when I started looking a few years ago, it was at the community college I was attending in Santa Barbara. The program seemed like a strong experience, and considering it was only the price of $13 per credit, it seemed like quite a bargain, too.(I think California CC's are even cheaper now, maybe $11). This gave you an AS degree from an accredited school in California, and I was assured by the program director that the school was in the top 10% in the nation at the time(whatever that equals out to be).

Still, with specialized schools like California Culinary Academy, CIA, etc, I'm wondering what, if anything, I would be missing by not attending one of these schools. Does anyone have insight into the differences? The CC route seems like a good deal, but I'm really looking for the most rigorous and professional training I can afford, and I'd like it to be from a well regarded school.

Also, another question, if I do select a CCA, TCA or CIA education, does anyone have any sort of experience with the financial aid packages available to culinary students? I'm very interested in TCA(Texas Culinary Academy), but for a one year program, in a field that does not garuntee the highest pay in the world, 36,000 seems like an awful big chunk of change to have to pay off. I would be a 25(26 by enrollment) year old student, and I'm just wondering if it's worth my time to apply. 20K is about the max I could see myself paying for any program.

I'm sure I have more questions, but that's all I can think of for now.

Joined Jan 21, 2002
If you have set a cap on spending for school (which is fine) then go to that CC and throw your heart ans soul into every second of class and you can come out on the same level as anyone from anywhere else. I too have favorite schools but money and time have not I plenty of. It may not be of importance to some but find a school that is ACF accredited in your area. click here for a listing of such schools. Not to get you into the ACF but I think that since there is a minimum standard for the institutions to follow then it would stand to reason you'd get a decent education for your $$$. That's not to say you couldn't get one from a non-ACF school. You can. Like I said I do have my favorites. Any other questions just e-mail or IM me. If I have the answer I'll give it to you.

BTW, myself (a 28-year old) and others on this board are students and they are high-quality sources of information. :)

Good luck in your search, and if you haven't yet GET YOURSELF A JOB IN THIS INDUSTRY BEFORE YOU COMMIT YOUR DOLLARS!!!

PS: To the best of my knowledge nobody actually ranks culinary schools like US News & World Report does undergraduate schools. Anyone that says different, please request the source of their info. Then look it up.
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