established school or a new one?

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by cynful, Jan 14, 2002.

  1. cynful

    cynful

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    After a lot of thinking and planning, (though I've yet to get a job in the business) I am looking into going to school. I basicly have my mind made up on Kendall College in Evanston,IL. As it's close to home, yet close enough to Chicago. I also belive it has a good reputation.
    As the price tags send one into sticker shock, I looked at a scholarship site and somehow Il. Institute of Art got my name. They have just graduated their first class and the admissions person said they were all placed in the Culinary field. He said that the same person who set up Kendall & CHIC (another school) set their's up and they let him plan the curriculum the way he wanted for their school. I had read other threads on this school, but then this one is brand spankin' new. I have no idea what they are turning out. Is it even worthwhile to look at the facility?
    I would be a transfer student and both schools will take 24 credits. Kendall just started an "accelerated" program where I can finish in 1 year because I have all General Ed out of the way including Nutrition. Any thoughts?
    Thank you for your time,
    Cindy
     
  2. chiffonade

    chiffonade

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    Given price is an issue, some fact finding is in order.

    * Is there job placement after graduation at both schools? This can help you get your foot into a reputable restaurant for your practical experience.

    * Tour both facilities. It's definitely worth it because you can make all the judgments you want based on facts and figures...there's nothing that compares to viewing the classrooms.

    * Is it possible to observe a class? Just to gauge what the teaching style is like?

    Established vs. new is an age-old battle similar to the no-experience/no-job phenomenon. If the new school doesn't get any traffic, how will it become established. Yet, it's not up to you to single-handedly take on reputation-building for the new school either.

    After your visit to both facilities and a close examination of what they look like "on paper" you should be able to make a confident decision on where you want to learn.
     
  3. cynful

    cynful

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    Thank you for your quick answer! Price isn't really an issue any more than the quality of education. I figure you get what you pay for, actually, the one closer to me looks like it would be more cost effective as I can get done in 4 quarters as opposed to 6. I have appointments at both this week. They both have placement programs. One of the points I checked one is Kendall is accredited by the ACF and the Art Inst. isn't.
    Cindy
     
  4. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Well you could try Joliet College. $50 per credit hour and not a bad program. Accredited by ACF even :)

    Kuan
     
  5. cynful

    cynful

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    Well, just came back from the tour of Kendall. It looks really good. Everyone seemed nice. I was surprised or maybe they were stroking my ego that when they "dumbed things down" to explain things, I knew what they were talking about before the "dumbing". My daughter got a little sorbet to sample from one of the chefs. He was brave! I never give my kid sugar then let her near my kitchen! :p They have a program where I can attend 1 day to see what it's like. I think I'll do that, but I also think I'll start the admissions process now. The other college I just don't feel good about, the fact it's only 2 years old is just one of the reasons. The thing with Joliet college is I'm certain that 50/credit is for in district. I'm waaaaay out of district. So it looks like I've made my choice. Thanks for all of the advice, now I'll need prayers!
    Cindy
     
  6. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Not sure if I spelled his last name correctly, is a chef instructer at kendell collage. The reason I bring this up is the founder of cheftalk, Nicko salhas is very good friends with Chris, In fact Chris was a real pioneer in the early days of cheftalk. You can do a search in the archives for his input.

    Nicko is from Chicago as well, you should maybe private message him and get a dialouge going with him.

    Good luck and keep us posted
    cc
     
  7. suzanne

    suzanne

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    If it's not too late, I'll chime in with one more point to consider: who are the instructors at each school? What are their backgrounds, and how close are they to the restaurants and institutions you aspire to? In other words, can they help you once you've finished the program? How accessible do the teaching and placement staff seem; that is, do you feel you could ask any of them a question without worry of being pushed off unreasonably? People are such an important part of this business, you'll want to study with the ones who make you the most comfortable (even while they make you work your a** off!).
     
  8. cynful

    cynful

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    Well, so far the instructors seem approchable. I met a few on my tour. Like I said, one even fed my kid. She now refers the him as the "Ice Cream Man". I'm sure he'd love that! Several of the instructors are past alumni, who have risen through the ranks. The wine educator is currently at a prestigous place downtown, named "Best Sommelier" in Chicago and in Food and Wine. Not that I'm interested that much in the wine/food thing other than the proper pairings. Chef Koetkke(sp?), though I haven't met him, seems approchable from his posts. There is a Master Baker from Germany. I'm more interested in the sweet side and bakery, so this is someone who's brain I'd like to pick. From what I understand, there are usually more job offers than students to take them. Also, there is an alumni placement program. I have a list of where some alumni are and the year they graduated, they seem to do well for themselves. I'm sure there is a lot of propaganda with what I'm told. I plan to take the "day as a student program" as well, to make sure about this program.
    Thank for the input,
    Cindy
     
  9. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Cynful, there have been a lot of good points brought up, to consider, but I think that there is 1 more very important point. That is your lack of experience in a professional kitchen

    Before you consider spending any kind of money to attend culinary school, I suggest that you work in a restaurant for awhile first. There are two reasons I feel that this is very important. #1 being that you may hate the restaurant business. As I have said here many times before: "the love of cooking does not neccessarily translate into the love of the restaurant business." This is not a career for everyone, even if your favorite thing in life is throw dinner parties and cook for friends. It is a world of difference. #2 is that you will get so much more out of your culinary education if you have some experience in your background. Even just a few months experience will give you a basis for starting your education. It will also give you a chance to see how a kitchen runs and give you more of a feel for what area of cooking you want to specialize in such as pastry or baking or breadmaking or just an overall culinary education. This will help considerably as I have found that most schools usually have strength in one or the other, but rarely both.