Which Culinary/ Pastry/Baking Schools in Canada, France, Switzerland?

Joined Oct 12, 2009
Hello all you cooking aficionados,
I'm new on this site & I'm finding it very exciting , especially that I'm 39yrs old guy, pharmacist with managerial corporate professional experience ...However , I've been thinking lately of taking a very courageous step towards changing my career path ..I hope it's not too late , I wish I had done it ten years earlier ! But what's nice on this site , I've read about many people who changed their career & took up cooking at 40 yrs of age & even older, so , I don't feel alone anymore !
Anyway , I hope that you can help me in regards of culinary schools choice , especially pastry schools , up to 6-9 months courses .
What are the most renowned ones in Canada & in France, Switzerland ? Can anyone tell me ?
I've been checking online many schools & course options & until now I cannot decide on any !
There's the Ecole de Boulangerie/ Paris-Bercy , sounds like a good one, as well as George Brown in Toronto.
Any other ideas?
Thanks in advance.
Have an excellent cooking/baking day :peace:
Joined Oct 3, 2006
Save yourself alot alot alot of money and find a decent community program, my advice
Joined Oct 12, 2009
Thanks guys for your replies.
RAS I'm afraid I currently live in a region of the world where no such community programs are readily available ( do you mean like special courses , or evening cooking/baking classes )?
Cape Chef , Le Nôtre is great, I've checked their website many times before, but really the fees are one of the highest around !
Was checking Ecole de Boulangerie de Paris & Ecole Française de Boulangerie d'Aurillac , they could be a cheaper option. Some Canadian schools also are cheaper it seems.
Don't know though about Switzerland, any feedback?
Joined Feb 21, 2009
Dear Vagabundo:
Not sure if you have found "The Culinary School" for you or not yet
I'm 40 yrs (but look 30, seriously) and I'm also landing on Restaurant-Chef territory, I have done enormous research on Culinary/Baking courses and I'm afraid to inform, unfortunately Culinary/Pastry arts courses are highly commercialized and charging hefty tuition fees.
If you ask me then I like to advice you, if you hard worker and brilliant you don't need to go to world most renowned with unbelievable price tags schools, just go to your community school (if possible)
If you like to spend some reasonable (make sense kinda) money, then
1) George Brown College. (CAD$7000+Living expanses, If you are Canadian Citizen)
2) École GRÉGOIRE-FERRANDI 28 rue de l'abbé Grégoire 75006 Paris - Tél.: 01 49 54 28 00
(Euro15000 tuition + Living expanses
Ecole Ferrandi is highly recommended (if you can afford)

You might wanna check :
First Gourmet Academy
Capitol Greenstreet, Capitol Hills Drive
Old Balara, Quezon City 1119

+63 (2) 951 9655
(a school in Manila)

And if you like to learn on service & business side of restaurant then I guess AH&LA distance learning is your best bet with very affordable price ($US 1500 to 1800 approx)

Please avoid at any cost
Arts Institutes (throughout N.America) they don't teach you any thing but merely Art of dishwashing
And Cordon Blue a big NO NO

All the best

(We want to hear from you which school you pick and what was the reason to picking this school

Joined Oct 12, 2009
Dear Khurram,

Thanks for your reply & advices regarding which bakery / pastry school to choose.
I'm curious to know where did you chose to study & when did you start ? I'm 39yrs old & me too still look in my early thirties, but still on paper it shows the real age ! Not so young !

I am a Canadian citizen , but currently living in Middle East. I know about George Brown in Toronto . It has some good reviews. Seems like the best in Canada, although I do not like Toronto itself! How about schools in Vancouver ? Like the Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver & the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts , any idea about them ?

& Why NOT Le Cordon Bleu ? I was considering the one in Ottawa actually. Looked good to me ( not the cheapest of course).

As for Grégoire Ferrandi & Ecole de Boulangerie de Paris & de Rouen , they all seem great , but the fees are exorbitant.At least while in Canada I could possibly work on the side while studying.

Awaiting your feedback again , thank you so much .
Joined Feb 21, 2009
In Vancouver no one can compete Vancouver Community college in affordable tuition and very good out come after the graduation, but a bit lengthy program and quite a wait to get seat average 3 to 6 months.
Northwest Culinary is also affordable around CAD$8000-10000 seems not bad but its very basic program most probably you’ll find basic pay after this program their curriculum comprises on On-Baking by Sarah Labinsky (you can read this book and practice your own as well)
Pacific Institute or Arts Institute are same category institutions with harsh and rude chefs (racism exist as well ….. yeah unfortunately) they are expansive and not worth it, honestly.
LCB Ottawa is really not what compare to be Paris or London yet most expansive among all other branches.
If you spending so much money please don’t work during study period, focus on learning and curriculum, you have rest of your life available to work, you need good grades to show your efficiency to employers, seriously
If I have to pick I go to G.Ferrandi with my close eyes, they offer 6months apprentice (which no other institute offer, possibly with top class pastry arts chefs), and european Pastry arts is really different than N.American programs
If you wanna make a life-time-golden-rewarded-carrier go G.Ferrandi you’ll glad what you did, you may apply student loan, I know its expansive but very fruitful, I swear, I have done my research.
You have my blessings and hopefully (God willing) you’ll find the best path for you.
BTW I'm Middle-east origin Candian citizen:smiles:
Joined Feb 21, 2009
Hey age is just numbers, don’t ever let age come into your way, 39 is old do you really think? O! hello? Common ……..
But WTF we paying tuition to get education so who cares about age ……
Anyways I had partial scholarship to attend Arts Institute of Vancouver, what a money-suckers we broke our bones to do dishwashing and cleaning at least 2 hours after each class, average class ratio was 1:24 (teacher: students) with only 3 stoves and 1 fryer with very limited supply (one onion/one reddish/one potato & quarter chicken per student per class) while being charged CAD$500 per person extra per month.
I quit after 2 semesters and spending CAD$16000, (which I will regret rest of my life)
Job offers were around 10 to 12/hour (can you imagine)
What I’m doing now (non-culinary job) making atleast double compare to restaurant job offered.
I searched very intense this time with top class chef meeting, visiting whole Europe, restaurant entrepreneur meetings, job market search, and keeping my future goals in mind and I’m so ready for G.Ferrandi Pastry arts program while ending my Post graduation from George brown college by next year.
Wish me Luck
Joined Oct 12, 2009
Hey Khurram,

Thanxx again for your valuable tips on what bakery school to attend. So, what program did you attend @ George Brown? I heard they're one of the best in Canada. Did they have any pre-requists?
Northwest Culinary of Vancouver seemed good enough to me since they offer bakery/pastry program of 4 months only @ 8000.00CAD, which is quite reasonable. I heard that many of the schools over-charge anyways & you don't need to spend so much money in order to get the appropriate culinary education.
Again G.Ferrandi looks so good & professional with excellent program , but still too pricey & they're not so flexible with the dates . They only have two sessions , one is too early for me (Jan2010) & the 2nd (Sept2010) too far ! Should I wait till Sept? But I've waited too long & I feel I 'm finally ready.
Btw, would you know anything about the French Culinary Institute of New York ? looks good to me & quite affordable as well.
In all cases, frankly , I dunno what the career opportunity will look like whether it was a very well renowned school or less famous & less expensive school? I mean, who'd want to hire a 40 yrs old pastry graduate ? I think what I'm hoping for after graduation is to try to find some bakery/pastry shop that will accept to have me work for them for free about 6 months to obtain some experience ( perhaps an internship thru the college) & then most probably I will be looking to open my own bakery shop, because , I don't see how one can start a career @ the age of 40?
So, you Middle-Eastern as well, from what part I wonder?
Thanxx again ....Good luck with your study & work.:thumb:
Joined Feb 21, 2009
:mad:Please Please Please, if you go for fight you don’t tell your enemy what you are lacking in your defence, you just stand against them to win, no mercy, no excuse:laser:

If Pastry-art is your passion then grab it with your teeth, NO EXCUSE.

You already told me you look younger than your age (like me:look:) so as long as you are knowledgeable, Tidy and handsome in look, and got an ability to face all type of pressure (& can kick buns) then NO QUESTION ASKED.

If you want basic to intermediate knowledge of Baking in short time without any highly-pay expectation then NW Culinary is perfect they are at the corner of Main & 12th, very very easy excess through public transport and if you have to rent a condo then kindly come after Winter Olympics other wise get ready to be ripped by home owners.

G.Brown offer several courses comprises on two Semesters to 2 yrs, Its depend on your previous experience & educational back ground, I like their Post graduation programs in Italian, French, and coming up Middle-eastern/E-Indian Culinary Diploma.

FCI NewYork is affordable? Ummm Since when? But school has balls no doubt; they also have several categories in Baking certificates,

My advice (one more time) don’t be soooo confused, seek, read, fully understand or ask what exactly Institute is offering and how their provided knowledge will help you to build your foundation for reasonably secure future. And if its also match your budget then what are you waiting for? Start rolling your dough …..

N’thin is better than opening your own confectioners shop, Bakery is really good business and you can start at any street corner of any town in this world and of course pastries will not tell chicks this baker is 40yrs old ….. lol ….

I have Pak-Iran & Arab ethnicity but proud Canadian, ehn

What ya doing in Abu-Dhabi? Enjoying hot water without geezer?

Let me know if you come to Vancouver, I’m more than glad to discuss further about your carrier path.
Don’t worry about jobs there are plenty I might be able to provide you some lead after your course (hopefully).
Final words: Its better to do and repent rather not doing and repenting whole life for not doing.

Good luck
Joined Feb 21, 2009
I still say If you can wait and lucky enough to get accepted in G.Ferrandi September intake then don't miss this train ..... you should definitely learn French in a meantime, You'll amazed yourself with your success after graduation and internship
BTW their internship is paid
French Culinary Institute in NYC is modeled after le Ferrandi
My understanding is that Dorothy Cann Hamilton was negotiating with French government officials (the school is organized under the Paris Chamber of Commerce) to open a branch of Le Ferrandi in NYC, but then the plans fell apart. She did go on to open FCI and modeled it on Le Ferrandi. However, the program at FCI is much more compressed.
Joined Oct 12, 2009
Dear Khurram,
Thanx again for your valuable advice.
Can I have your e-mail plz?
Mine's :
[email protected]
Lets talk there; or if you want on private messaging over here , which I'm trying to figure out still!

Joined Feb 17, 2010
I don't want to sound like an advertisement, but I work at the Ecole Nationale Supèrieure de la Pâtisserie.  There are some things that you may want to know. Ferrandi has a very good reputation. It is a very large school in Paris.

Were you thinking of doing a program in French or English.  If you want one in English, be aware that you will only get a certificate as French schools can not give you a state diploma if the test isn't given in French. This doesn't really matter if you go back to your home country, but if you want to continue studying in France, you really can't.

George Brown is an excellent school. I have worked with their chefs and students for several years. Chef John Higgins keeps the place dynamic and the renovations and building in the past few years are very considerable.

The ENSP has a 5 month program in English that is followed by an internship. We have a great advantage in that our chefs come from all over France and we have a lot of contacts for internships. Our classes are limited to 12 and in general the students work at least 30 hours a week in the pastry laboratories.

You can find out more online at www.ensp-adf.com

Good luck with your search !
Joined Feb 21, 2009
I’m glad to see this thread is still alive with some more fresh info.

Dear Thea:  ENSP or GF doesn’t really matter both charge tons of money (like any other well renowned institute could charge)

Our basic focus was most affordable short period packed with practical knowledge carrier builder type Diploma (if its exist anymore)

I’ve found another baking institution in France  www.gastronomicom.fr  it seems very affordable but really doubtful about their curriculum or any positive educational out come, if some one else have any more info please feel free to inform others BUT there’s something pinching me about this school …… what is it..... W.H.A.T  I.S  I.T?

Let see what other are saying ……

Any one? Pls
Joined Feb 21, 2009
Dear Thea:  I like to ask you what is the criteria to receive at least minimum 6 months paid internship in France after finishing 5 months Pastry arts diploma from your school, which is ENSP?

Does age really effect on Class + internship, as you know Mr Vagabundo (creator of this threat) has/had age concern. 
Maximum how old your students are?
Joined Apr 14, 2010
Hello everybody

Im am joining this conversation after quite some time the thread has been opened now. Nevertheless, I found that that Vagabundo is in a similar position as my own. I am 39yo and looking for a training to become a trained baker. First, I was doubting if I would be too old for this, but after reading your posts you made me more comfortable with the thought (and your excellent advice, khurram and the others).

I must add to this that I have worked in two bakeries before, as a non-skilled worker though and only several months. Well, for me long enough to find an answer to the questions why I liked baking and get a feel for the job. As far as I know, in Switzerland one can only learn the trade of a baker in a 3 year programme, usually not possible in a secondary education curriculum (you need to find a bakery willing to train you, and frankly, 3 years is not the time I want to invest into it at a minimum wage - and not my motivation, either).

So I am very happy to learn there are other ways, where you actually learn in school the basics of this profession. Switzerland has always been very lame on people wanting to learn another trade.

My question is: Where are you standing at the moment Vagabundo? Did you manage to start training already? I like the Ferrando school very much 15000 Euro seems quite some money but I think it would be worth it with the goal in mind to get a job with also a decent salary afterwards.

Cheers hope that someone still reads this thread
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Joined Mar 16, 2005
I think if you don't have the time or will to invest 3 years into your career at the lowest level then perhaps you may wish to reconsider your career change decision.  Even after school (which will take you a couple of years) you will be extremely lucky to get a pastry chef's job... and even if you get one do you think you will have the experience and technique to be up to the task?  Besides, I'd rather do that apprenticeship and earn a little money on the way than to pay big bucks, saddle yourself with debt and have a fancy diploma.
Joined Feb 21, 2009
Just a question:  picking Ecole Gregoire Ferrandi how you can go wrong?

To share my information with others:

It’s a Paris chamber of commerce institute

World recognized and well known

And after spending one year (study and practical) with working knowledge of French If some one cannot find a job as a pastry cook then who will get a job? I seriously don’t believe this …….

If it will happen with me then I think it’s a bad luck of Bakery Industry not to hire well educated, fully committed, mature, and sober Candidate

If I have courage to change my carrier at the age of 40 then definitely I’ll find the courage and strength to build my own idol against other fake idols

I will start my own business even it’s a small Cup cake business …… and trust me God will not let me down ……….. Because God help those who help themselves…

Purpergurk Its not only 15000 Euros, you need atleast six to ten thousand euros more to cover your living expanses as well, and once you finish one year program and THEN attempt Paris Chamber of commerce exam you will entitled to work in France providing you speak French and have a job offer (which is not difficult), minimum wage in France 1142.00 euro per month, you may continue your apprentice several years (depends on your circumstances),

Now do you believe when you return your home after (lets say) 2-year education and apprentice will you not find a reasonable job? Or will not able to start your own business anywhere in this entire world?

But yes its very expansive to start and having enough MONEY is the most difficult part of this journey…….

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