Le Cordon Bleu, J&W, or CIA?

Discussion in 'Choosing A Culinary School' started by bc89, Jun 9, 2005.

  1. bc89

    bc89

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    Hey everyone, im bryan and im 16 years old, i have a 4.0 GPA and im considering to be a chef, and restaurant owner someday. But, i first need to start with an education, a culinary school (obviously). However, i have narrowed it down to the three i want. after rigorous search and travels I have Johnson and Wales, Le Cordon Bleu, and CIA as the lucky three. Therefore, i need advice, opinions, and probably some experiences that you might want to share, so i can come up with a decision. If you currently are enrolled in one f these schools i would definitely like to hear from you, but don't be a propaganda machine please.

    Merci
    Bryan C.
     
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  2. madgoose

    madgoose

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    i've been attending the le cordon blue in orlando (oca) for 6 months now defintely not trying to sound like a propaganda machine and i have no reason to be since i will owe them 35,000 when i am done. i'm in the baking and pastry arts program, but i know the culinary is 40,000 which includes your uniforms, knife kits, books, all the products used in the kitchens, and best of all doctor's visits for the whole 15 months (definitely a big plus when they require a dr.'s note if you're absent). i really enjoy both the school and the chefs, granted admissions will tell you anything you want to hear to get you to enroll so i took it with a grain of salt and had a pretty good idea what i was in for which will help you out. i dunno if you're the same but in high school i found myself becoming bored very easily and procrastinating because there wasn't much of a challenge, but each class is only 3 weeks/5 hours a day which keeps the pace quick, but not enough so that you couldn't understand what you're supposed to be doing. they try to alternate kitchen classes with classroom classes so it's not too much of one or the other. as i said before the chefs can't do enough to help you, actually just today the chef stayed an hour after class just so my team and i could work on some chocolate work for our practical tomorrow and would of been happy to stay even later until we were finished practicing. my biggest worry is the money, but i said this in another thread if you're really that worried i went to community college got my general education courses taken care of transfered the credits with no hassels and that took my tuition down to 28,000. i explored the same schools as you did and out of my choices i feel this was the best one.

    hope this helps you out
     
  3. jbyl

    jbyl

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    Im enrolled in Le cordon Blue portland, Western Culinary Institute. So far it has been great. Im in my first month. All the instructors seem to be more than helpfull and knowledgable. Like madgoose said, we can go to class an hour and a half before class, and stay two hours before class. The kitchens and equipment are top class, everything is new. You move through the classes pretty quick, and Portland is a cool city. That said, it's really expensive. 42,000 right now for culinary arts. Make sure you are going to be able to pay the money before you start school. I've heard some stories about people getting to school and not being allowed to continue after the first few weeks because they dont have the money. It is a for PROFIT organization, and the admisions reps will do whatever it takes to get you in school, the are salesmen. So far I like Western Culinary, but CIA and J&W are great schools. I think the most important thing is to take as much as you can out of whatever school you go to, and the places you work. You can go school and slide by and learn next to nothing.
     
  4. newbiecook

    newbiecook

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    Hey there
    Well I don't go to any of the schools that you are looking into, and I'm also from Canada, and I was wondering if you looked into a apprenticing program at all.
    I know that up here by apprenticing I save tons of money it only cost me 600 bucks for all my school and then I get paid at school and when I work.
    Maybe its another option you might want to look into

    Newbie
     
  5. ekraterf

    ekraterf

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    i go to JWU and i love it, though sometimes i do feel as if the program dosnt move fast enough...they have an excelerated program which gose twice as fast if you feel up to it, but classes are from 7:00 am till 7:30 pm which makes working in the industry simultaneously a bit tricky . over all i love the school ( i was one of those HS over acheavers ) and compared to other majors i have been in their is a lot of fast paced work, like the cordo n blu youll have one class a day for 9 day (7 hours)....definantly worth it
     
  6. c.butler

    c.butler

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    I attend CSCA in Pasadena, a LCB school. I have attended several colleges and a university in my time, but this school really out does itself. The administration is always helpful, whatever your needs. You actually can leave a message and someone DOES call you back. I've had needs met at all hours and on weekends which says a lot. I was afraid that I was going to pay 45,000 and that once I was enrolled they would give me the cold shoulder since they had my money already. This is not how it went down. They actually seem to care about my career, along with every other student in the school. The chefs are out of this world! My last chef was a CMC, not too shabby I'd say. Just this past Friday a chef stayed an hour after class to write me a letter of reference. It was very nice of him, since I knew he wanted to go home to his weekend as much as I did, but he stayed anyway. I am currently taking an academic class along side my culinary class. My classes are 6 weeks long, but I hear that they are changing to a 3-week program in July, without increasing the hours. I feel lucky that I am in the 6-week program because this means I'm going to learn twice as much as the 3-week program students. But, I also hear that it is standard to have only 3-week classes and 6 weeks is not the norm.

    I don't know anything about the other schools you are researching. $45,000 is mucho dinero, but I figured it could cost you that much at a big-name university too.

    There was an event at the school a couple of weeks ago where there was a cook-off between high school students who wanted to attend a culinary school when they graduate. Three students won the cook-off and they are recieving a small scholarship to assist them in attending CSCA. Maybe something like that is occuring in your area too when it comes time for you to graduate too. Check around.

    Good luck in whatever you decide. I'm sure you'll do great.
     
  7. sarge

    sarge

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    Go to CIA, CIA CIA CIA CIA
     
  8. benrias

    benrias

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    I am posting this because I know that another Chef talk poster mentioned the NECI a few times and has almost convinced me of that school. I LOVE the idea of the small class sizes--a definite plus in any major you pursue. So don't hesitate taking a look at NECI either--you may be pleasantly surprised at what it offers as I was.
     
  9. chefoncall

    chefoncall

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    Hi, I am a International Chef. Future Chefs it is more than just what school do I attend!Le Cordon Bleu and CIA will give you the right skills to function in any kitchen almost. Then I would seriously go to CIA's continuing education courses if I were working in the states. If I were new today in the career I would line it up that way.

    The two schools do a Michelin Star on giving quality educations to the best chefs that "work" in most kitchens. If any student wanted to better him or herself ultimately. Go to a Le Cordon Bleu campus abroad Paris, or London and do the real rich culinary history involved in the European countries.The worlds top restaurants are within miles from each campus.Do yourself that favor if you are planning on being a lifetime Master Chef, and are involving yourself in cooking for the love of cuisine. We need great quality chef's that want to work because they love kitchen life.

    I would also get myself a resume started before I left for Europe. Find a ACF chef or American based kitchen set up for you to be able to get your feet wet before you leave for Europe.Most of all have the best time of your life. Be willing to mop floors,scrub pots etc. This will give the chef the idea you are serious about staying in the workforce.

    If money seemed to be a problem, start working now. Nothing should be able to stop you if you want it bad enough.
     
  10. aznative332

    aznative332

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    I attend the Le Cordon Bleu Program in Scottsdale (SCI) and I tell you the classes are great, and all the material you go over. And another reassurence is that the majority of my Chefs so far are graduated out of CIA. I don't know how the other Cordon Bleu's are, but SCI supports you with everything you need, there isn't a thing you can't ask them for help. Of course you should also check the surroundings of the school and see if thats any good. Well I wish you luck in making a decision.
     
  11. tripnastic

    tripnastic

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    I'm just wondering, did all of you pay your tuition up front, some of it, or is it all in the form of student loans. Thanks!
     
  12. madgoose

    madgoose

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    psh i wish i won the lottery so i could pay the tuition up front. i paid mine with majority of student loans, a little help from pell grants, and just received a scholarship which will help out. the way it works at oca you take out loans for the first half of the tuition and 6 months later new loans for the rest.

    hope this answers your question
     
  13. mikefly

    mikefly

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    go work 60+ hours a week all on your feet with a knife in your hand sweet pouring out from everywere people yelling all around you customers mad wait staff with no clue owners complaining theres to much being spent on the kitchen and food
    sorry but this life and this job arnt for everyone so make sure its what you want and not what you see on the food network before you spend that much!!!!!!
     
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  14. headless chicken

    headless chicken

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    If tuitions is a concern, you could look up here in Canada as most colleges and universities are subsidised by the gov't. I attended George Brown College for $4000(can) plus say nother $1k in book, uniforms, and tools. I don't know how much more international students would pay but I don't think it would be too much. Stradford U has a reputable culinary program and they charge $12k. The Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa, last I heard, went for $10k.

    I myself paid the whole wad myself out of my pockets with no financial aid from the gov't or even family (they'd probrably scald me if I even asked). Mind you I'm in a little debt right now but it'll be easy to pay off with just over $600 every 2 weeks.

    But if you want to restrict yourself to those 3 options, the chefs at school would only talk about the CIA. Some trained there and taught there, not that I can remember who they are.
     
  15. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Be aware that the CIA is top notch... Also top COST, and they to my understanding WILL NOT accept those who have not worked in a restaurant already. (But truthfully, I would HIGHLY recomend doing so before you drop a few thousand on a culinary school anyway.)
     
  16. barudey85

    barudey85

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    I am currently enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, Texas and I am in my second month.  I have enjoyed the classes thus far, especially the lab.  The lab classes are quite large (34 or so students) but we have two instructors in the course which are both equally qualified.  Both of my instructors are very knowledgeable on both technique and history.  I am very impressed with the explanation of WHY things happen as opposed to "do this and this will happen."  Both chefs are incredibly approachable and both live by the "Not asking the question, is the only bad question" philosophy. I actually saw my chef in the on campus library after my class, sitting with previous students of his discussing the scholarship opportunity they were pursuing. This is a man who could have gone home after our class yet stuck around to chat with students in an unprompted open discussion about how they could earn credibility and save money for school.  As for the BEST culinary school? Who knows?  Not many people can afford or have any reason to experience two schools or more.  From what I have read, NECI (New England Culinary Institute) might be the best as it has the lowest Teacher:Student ratio, and requires 2 externships.  Also from my reading I have found that most chefs who have had an intern from NECI have been more than satisfied.  However it is more expensive, although a longer program than most from my understanding.  I have no way of truly knowing however.  All I know is that I do not regret my choice of LCB, as so far it has been been worth my time and money I could be wasting in another semester for a degree I don't care about.  The facilities are top notch, the faculty is excellent and approachable, and the student clubs and activities are plentiful.
     
  17. I am currently in my first six-week session at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, which is a Le Cordon Bleu school.

    I have loved it since I started. I, like most who think about attending, have been warned against it, as well as encouraged. I chose to trust my own judgement, and I suggest you do the same.

    What I would suggest is to book an appointment with your admissions rep. and have them physically walk you around the campus while classes are in session. This is what finally decided me. When you look into a classroom and see people cooking, getting consistant and helpful feedback from an instructor, you can pretty much believe that's how it is all through the program.

    Anyone disagree with me?
     
  18. cahaddad

    cahaddad

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    I am studying at LCB in London and it is really great and well worth it. The teaching here has been amazing and its great to see everyone in my class improving so much after only one term. You should look into the possibility of studying in other countries because from whats been said so far the fees on the UK course seem to be less. Trying not to be bias towards LCB, but in england there are a lot fewer choices than in the US. All I can say is that the school has exceeded my expectations so far 

    If you want to read more about studying here I am writing a blog about it 

    http://whiskitforabiscuit.blogspot.com/

    x
     
  19. ljokjel

    ljokjel

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    Escola Joviat outside of Barcelona.

    One of the areas in the world with highest density of Michelin restaurants. El Bulli is/was located not far from it. Hardcore diciplin.
     
  20. mrphantuan

    mrphantuan Banned

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    I don't know anything about the other schools you are researching. $45,000 is mucho dinero, but I figured it could cost you that much at a big-name university too.