Help!!! How to decide on a culinary school??

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by beccas, Oct 8, 2001.

  1. beccas


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    Can anyone help me?? I am a student at the University of GA and have decided on going to culinary school. I've been talking with a lot of people in the industry and have a lot of advice on the "best schools" to go to. However, I'm still not sure about where I should go. Currently, I'm looking at J&W, Western Culinary Insitute and CCA. If anyone has some helpful advice, it would be greatly appreciated! Thanks alot!
    Rebecca Stephens
  2. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Professional Chef
    Hi Rebecca,And welcome to cheftalk.
    You have come to the right place.

    First I would advise you to read as many posts on in this forum as you can,Theres a great deal of imfo in them.

    There are so many Culinary schools out there these days it can make your head spin.

    I am a big fan of J&W as well as the N.E.C.I in vermont.

    Rebecca,What is the driving force behind you wanting to go to Culinary school?

    If you are looking at the C.C.A in California I would suggest you also check out C.I.As campus in Napa Valley.

    They have a fantastic program and the perfect enviorment for study.

    Hey Greg..what do you think?
    PS Greg moderates this forum.
  3. theloggg


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    I recommend a school that has a
    restaurant(s) servicing the public and/or a school in an area populated with good restaurants. I'm finding a lot of my experience will come from what I learn outside the classroom.

    Also, I'm finding there is a balance between tuition and education that I am finally ok with. I'm at J&W in the "GArnish" program (for those who already have a degree) and I'm finding myself a little disappointed in the amount of a la minute cooking we do. I wish there were more of it instead of following a recipe and tossing it into a steam table. But at the same time, the program is $22,500 ($16,200 for me after grants/free money) and I don't see the value in paying $32,000+ to go to the CIA, CCA or NECI to have the experience of working for a couple weeks in a public restaurant. I'm getting that same experience outside of school.

    FYI, as far as I know, the CIA in Napa offers only a pastry/baking certificate, not a culinary arts degree/cert. They only offer continuing education classes.

    Hope that helps...
  4. lovesherfood


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    Hey Rebecca!
    Choose one that can give u real hands on experience in kitchens such as work experience out of the school itself. One that has tutors that have real experience in the cheffing industry. One that encourages u to push yourself, such as entering competiotions. And one that has the best reputation for that area. I chose my school for those very reasons and I've nearly finished my first sucessful year, have a brilliant job and have one a culinary competion :)
  5. greg


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    Professional Chef
    I agree with Cape Chef, J&W and NECI are my top two picks. Cape Chef and myself are a little biased, however; we both are J&W grads. NECI's edge is in their low student-to-teacher ratio (7:1, gauranteed) and the fact that most, if not all, of your "classrooms" are open-to-the-public foodservice outlets. Also, the NECI program features two externships; most programs only do one.

    The plusses of J&W are a quality culinary education, the shortened "garnish your degree" program that thelogg mentioned and their many locations. I attended the Charleston, SC campus; I can definitely recommend at least that one location for it's facility and instructors.
  6. elcheffie


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    Hi Rebecca,
    I'm new to Chef Talk and noticed your inquiry about culinary schools. Are you looking for a degree program necessarily. I am affiliated with the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City (formerly known as Peter Kump's New York Cooking School.) We offer a 6 month diploma program which includes a 6 week externship in a New York City Restaurant. If you are interested in more information about our school, let me know!:bounce: