Ferrandi,Notter or J&W - WHICH ONE?

Joined Oct 15, 2010
OK so i have been doing some research lately. i am a culinary enthusiast. i have been cooking for a while now and i love it. I am 25 years old and i already have my first bachelors degree so for me, this culinary thing is more for me to gain knowledge and skills on french baking and pastry. and then in like 5 years open up a pastry shop.Now i want to start culinary school next year and i have been reading  some of cheftalk's blogs and i am not lazy, i did some research. so in the end it comes down to Notter pastry school,J&W and the ever so talked about Gregoire Ferrandi. i wanna more than anything go to ferrandi simply because the program is five months and a paid externship for 6 months. trouble is its 15,000 euros plus living expenses which is about 20,000 dollars which is almost the same as going to notter or J&W. plus if you check out Ferrandi's application, it says you have to pay that 15,000 in installments of three. so that's 5000 per installment. Notter on the other hand takes 7 months which is not bad and you start working right away. J&W is a really good school, four campuses across the country and good baking and pastry program.

i would really appreciate everyone's advice both from the culinary students perspective and culinary instructor's perspective. Is a certificate just as good as a diploma or a degree? and has anyone actually gone to Ferrandi , Notter or J&W and what were your experiences? I honestly dont want to learn with celebrity chefs in their restaurants, i would just rather get hands on experience with a humble pastry chef. 
Joined Oct 8, 2010
Truthfully if one of your priorities is to "get hands on experience with a humble pastry chef" then I would consider seeking out someone who fits that category and asking if you could work for them for a little while. This could be a very valuable experience for you and help you narrow down a culinary school because you'll know exactly what you're looking for from a program. Although going straight to school will nevertheless also give you the chance to learn from seasoned pastry chefs, you may get more attention (and thus learn a whole lot more) from a personalized internship.
Joined Dec 17, 2009

I recommend that you consider the Baking & Pastry Arts programs at: GRCC, and Schoolcraft College. Both programs are taught by CMPCs. GRCC's Pastry course is taught by CMPC, Gilles Renusson. Schoolcraft College's Pastry program is taught by CMPC, Joseph Decker.

However, if you can afford it, consider: Notter School of Pastry Arts, French Pastry School, and PCI. CMPC Bo Friberg is the Pastry instructor at PCI. If finances are an issue, then consider to two aforementioned community colleges. You can also check ShawGuides for a community college program near you. Finally, read the Cooking Schools interview.

Good luck.
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