FCI's Italian Culinary Academy Is it worthwhile?

Joined Feb 8, 2010
Has anyone attended this school or know anything about it? I am considering going and have not found any program that compares as far as italian cuisine. It is very expensive ($38,500) but includes about 4 months in Italy. They do a great job at selling the program and it seems to be pretty good and in depth but I just want to make sure I am not buying an overpriced vacation.

Any input would be appreciated
Joined Feb 15, 2010
I'm afraid I can't answer your question about it being worthwhile, but I have to say, it does look amazing. I have a huge passion for Italian food, so when I heard about their program, I couldn't believe how perfect it seems. But you're right... $40,000 is so much money... plus I don't live in New York, so I'd have to pay for an apartment for the time of the New York classes.

You might also be interested in a World Endeavors program... it's a culinary internship in Florence, the cost ranges from about $5000 to $8000, depending on the time you would want to spend there. For the first month, you have intensive Italian language courses. After that, you continue the language courses and they set you up at a restaurant to work in. However, the cost doesn't include housing (although they do have housing assistance), the flight, a visa, or any other personal expenses. (you can find it all on the World Endeavors website)

I'm considering either that internship or the ICA program. I'd love to hear other people's opinions on whether or not you think either program is worth the cost. I'm wondering how much it would help my career.
Joined Mar 14, 2010
I've been wanting to go to the Italian Culinary Academy for some time now, but never could find out if the $40K was worth it. But after reading about World Endeavors internship, I am now strongly considering it. My question is, would an internship of 6 months be able to get me a good job back in US? 
Joined Feb 8, 2009
I would say in 6 months you will have a great deal of passion. as far as a good job, I don't think so. But, it does depend on what you think a good job is. This would be a good stepping stone, on a long path of skills, you will need to succeed as a Chef..............Chef Bill
Joined Oct 9, 2010
I have also been looking into the World Endeavors internship program. I have no Culinary experience, except for cooking meals at home and always experimenting. I LOVE to cook, but have not been convinced that culinary school is worth the time and the money. From what I have heard from friends that are Chefs and restaurant owners (none of them have a Culinary degree) and they are very successful. I was just wondering if anyone knows if you need any experience to attend these internships?  It sound very exciting and a good life experience too.
Joined Dec 17, 2009

I would advise against wasting $41,000 to attend FCI's sister school, ICA. That's not including living expenses in NYC. Do you really want to pay back that loan for years to come?

According to Shaw Guides, AISH  appears to be the only vocational school in Italy. I think that you would enjoy that program, and learn much more as well.

Zwilling Henckels' list of cooking schools in Italy:

List 1

List 2
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Joined Feb 1, 2008
Move to NYC and work for Micheal White... that will save you 38K. 

In all seriousness the Italian program seems well worth it..

I'm currently about to finish up at FCI and from what I can tell the students look very happy.. 

5 months in NYC, 4 months in Italy...... Priceless!
Joined Jun 13, 2008
I am beginning my class at the Italian Culinary Academy on March 14th. I am already experienced in the kitchen, but I am hoping this formal training and European experience will put me into another level of my career. I will make a thread as my time there progresses and document how it is going. 
Joined Mar 23, 2011
I am a current student at the ICA and am about to graduate to Alma in Italy. I have to say I was unsure at first of the cost and gained experience. After the first week and a half it was almost too intense and is definitely a struggle for anyone expecting to breeze through and have a good time. The time spent in the kitchen is definitely enjoyable but still intense. The chefs are friendly and encourage you to do better while working with your class helps you to push your own limits. I have learned some skills I had no idea were out there along with literally all the Italian that’s possible to learn in a ten week period. The price is definitely high for any 7 week program but the experience and connections made are the best you can get out of this short of a time. For anyone looking to get the best dive into Italian cuisine and culture I would highly recommend this program. I commute so i’m paying around $325 a month but living in the city would be around $1500 more so it is hefty but most of my class does it and they don’t seem to mind. Good luck with future school hunting it’s definitely a tough choice. 
Joined May 6, 2011
Too bad there is no date for these posts. I can only see the join date so I don't know if I joined this group to respond to an outdated post. However, I really appreciate the response from whhj2. Thank you. I agree this is an expensive program especially considering the average salary of a chef. I am considering this program as we speak. And I must say that this is THE institution to get your culinary education if you want to be a serious chef. This school is brilliantly created. Top quality. And the connections for the best jobs can be had. I have a home team advantage being a NYC native but housing is included in Italy. If you haven't been to college yet the federal grants (and possibly state) are available as this is a recognizable institution. And student loans are available. The statement from whhj2 claiming the program is intense actually brought a smile to my face because the only thing I was worried about was that it wouldn't be enough of a challenge. Go for it.

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