School opinion please??



Im 19 years old and really interested in becoming a baker/pastry chef and would like to attend culinary school. I currently live in tampa and their are only 2 schools in the area I know of that have baking and pastry programs. The Art Institutes here in Tampa and Le Cordon Blue in Orlando. I was wondering which of the two would give me the best education being that I know both schools arent that cheap. If anyone has went to LCB or AI  and did baking and pastry I would like to know how your experience was. I want to make sure I go to a school that Im going to like.

Any and all advice is GREATLY appreciated!!!!
Joined Sep 18, 2008
... I want to make sure I go to a school that Im going to like.
IMHO, if you "like the school" you probably are not learning what you could!

If the:
  • Classes are too long and complicated, or
  • there is a LOT of homework, or
  • the instructors/professors/chefs are mean, overbearing, and unforgiving, or
  • the schoolwork is HARD
you might possibly have a chance of being exposed to enough to learn a little.

If you think the:
  • class schedule doesn't interfere with your social life, or
  • homework is really light, or
  • the instructors/professors/chefs are laid back, easy going, and really cool, or
  • the schoolwork is a snap
you are wasting your parents' money or incurring far more than you should for student loans, get the h3ll out of school and get a job!

Have you seriously looked into working for or apprenticing with a local bakery?

Do you REALLY want to spend $40,000 or so for a piece of paper that might help you get a job paying $10/hour (remember, that's a hair over $20,000/year, $1,733/month, for a 40 hour week)?
Joined May 4, 2010
you need to go to each campus and look around - don't believe what the contact at the school is telling you (they are on commision and earn money based on your decision to sign up at their school - ask the questions you really want to ask and get the answers you really want, not what your parents or your high school counselors want to hear (because that is what the people you're talking to are trained to respond to. and will tell you)... and they make their living off of selling you on that.

 look around at each campus and pay attention to the instructors (chefs) you find and base your evaluation on the quality of them and their students which are visible.
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Joined Apr 3, 2010
They all teach about the same, starting with basics. I say to all future students," It is not the school,it's the student ' Success is geared on what effort you put in, for the final result one cannot blame the school only yourself.
Joined Dec 17, 2009
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Joined Dec 16, 2008
I would practically echo what Unknown Cook is saying. Check out the community colleges he recommended and if you should decide spending 50K on an education, work in the industry first. If you should decide you want to look into any schools, read over this  - There's a few other articles that could help you on the site too. Good luck and keep us posted.
Joined Oct 28, 2010
I used to work in Orlando, and Valencia's program has a pretty good reputation- I'd spend my money there before OCA- I heard nothing but bad things about that school.

And like somebody else said, you'll get out of school what you put into it. Just don't expect for this industry to hand you anything once you get your degree, because it doesn't happen that way.
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