Orlando Culinary Academy or Valencia?

waz

10
10
Joined May 1, 2002
I'm looking at attending culinary school. Have to stay in Orlando so my choices are Orlando Culinary Academy which is a CEC school afiliated with Le Cordon Bleu or Valencia a local community college. Both seem like great places to learn.
  • OCA is a lot more expensive
  • OCA has the Le Cordon Bleu program
  • I can finish sooner at OCA
As you can tell, I'm leaning towards OCA. I'm 40 and this will be a total career change. I'm a programmer by education and an entrepreneur at heart. Thanks to the Internet boom I can afford OCA. Not sure what I'm going to do when I get the degree. I just know I love cooking and want to continue to learn. I paid for college (the first go around) waiting tables so I've spent considerable time in restaurants, getting totally in the weeds, yelled at by the chef, and generally enjoying it all the same. Not quite the same as working in the kitchen but I'm not entering this having no clue what it's like.

I've read every post here I can find about culinary schools and expectations when graduating so I'm set there. Mainly just interested in folks thoughts about the OCA or community college route.
 
131
10
Joined Aug 9, 2000
From what I know both are newer programs so that is kind of a minus as far as the length it would only be like 6 months difference and a big diff. in money but as you say you have the money so that is a plus at your age plus even though it is a new program there I think the LCB name would get you better placement cheers.......
 
846
11
Joined Nov 29, 2001
Isn't there some kind of Disney-related cooking academy that's been around for a while??
 
3,853
12
Joined May 26, 2001
Waz, those two programs look VERY different. The Valencia one seems geared toward MANAGEMENT skills, based on a culinary foundation. OCA seems more straight culinary. Which do you want to do -- cook or manage? Your choice of outcome should dictate choice of school. Obviously, I don't know you, but from the way you describe yourself (age, work background), you might actually be happier with the training and future employment possibilities at Valencia. (We seem to be somewhat alike, so if you want to discuss this more, you can PM me.)

Chiff -- I think those are just short, recreational classes they offer as a part of resort packages there.
 

waz

10
10
Joined May 1, 2002
Good point. I have the management skills, started a company and grew it to 50 employees. It's the cooking side I want to learn well.
 
3,853
12
Joined May 26, 2001
Okay, but this is an industry that suffers mightily from the belief that it is totally unique, and that any skills gained elsewhere -- no matter how successful you were with them -- have NO VALUE here. The "not invented here" philosophy is dreadfully widespread. And as much as I don't like to admit it, there ARE a lot of management issues that are not found in many other businesses.

As long as you can stop yourself from saying, "Well, at the dot com we would handle this problem this way..." you'll be okay. And as long as you also keep your mouth shut when you are being managed badly by someone who doesn't know how. Remember, in a lot of places the ONLY answer is "Oui, Chef." To ANYONE.
 
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