WanaBe a Chef........AND WHILE I'M AT IT

The Old WanaBe a Chef Forum

Looking for a Culinary Arts Program?

If you live near any of the programs listed below(or are interested in living these areas while in school)click on the link to get free, no obligation information on the programs.

All the Best,

Atlantic Culinary Academy (NH)
California Culinary Academy
International Culinary Academy (PA)
The Cooking & Hospitality Institute of Chicago
Western Culinary Institute (OR)
California School of Culinary Arts, Pasadena, CA
Texas Culinary Academy, Austin, TX

WebFoodPros.com: WanaBe a Chef: ........AND WHILE I'M AT IT
By Shyjarf (Shyjarf) on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 01:53 pm: Edit

Just another question (I'm the indentured servant for 7 months until classes start - see other question)

How important is it R E A L L Y to attend a CORDON BLEU school versus any other programs that are offered. I know the programs quality is going to depend on facility, instructors, etc..but is CORDON BLEU (and the money it costs) worth it versus going to another school that is less "prestigious?" Initially I'd considered a school in CANADA, ruled that out because it wasn't CORDON BLEU, but now, after spending A LITTLE time in a kitchen and researching, I have to wonder..does the CORDON BLEU name open THAT MANY more doors?

Again, thanks for the comments and direction...I appreciate all that you have provided so far.

By George (George) on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 02:43 pm: Edit

The Cordon Bleu name makes little difference. It might have in the past but now they are just a chain of for profit schools. A diploma might get you in the door for your first job but after that it's what you do when your there and after that matters.

If anything a program being ACF Certified has more meaning, to me at least.

The exception is a CIA or J&W diploma. Then have such a large alumni base that they can help. But then again folks refuse to hire grads from them because of problems with previous grads.


By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 04:43 pm: Edit

Cordon Bleu is franchising itself now like any other Chef pumping, $$$$$ grubbing school.
Here in FL. they opened in Orlando and their salary offered to me was....don't laugh!!!!
28K...to start, I asked?. No that's the salary until an evaluation in a year!!!! Then it can go up 2% I think they said.
Tuition? 26K a year!!!!!!! So one student pays my salary and, the other 31 make the school a tidy little profit.
I should have known though when the beginning of the interview was a financial overview of the "corporation" and how it was growing by like 28% annually...blah, blah, blah!!!!!

By George (George) on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 05:53 pm: Edit

Manny Manny Manny, I would have thought you would have realized by this time that the exorbitant salaries paid to instructors in programs, paid for by millions of dollars of TAX MONEY isnít something you should let out.

Unfortunately private programs have to raise the money to pay the bills from the students that attend, instead of pigging out at the public trough, on the TAXES paid to the school districts.



By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 07:15 pm: Edit

Thanks G, I almost forgot! I hate my job! I hate my job! I hate my job!
What another raise, nooooooooooooo I'll pass, I'm making too much money now as it is! Give it to the poor Chefs!!!!!!!
They need the flour!!!!!

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 07:18 pm: Edit

To be honest, our program only pays the
teacher salary.
All other production costs are paid fully by sales from the program. So, the program pays for itself, literally!

By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 08:12 pm: Edit

Back to your question Shyjarf---
Cordon Bleu should give you a fairly good education in the craft of French cooking. But-- only the French discipline. If you plan to work nowhere else but in say, France, or a French restaurant, it will probably do you just fine.
However, if your ultimate goal is to be marketable to an array of potential food service venues here in the states and elsewhere, you may want to attend a school that offers a more comprehensive program.
My reasoning? Just try to imagine the face of of french chef when he encounters a serrano chili, a taro root, a sweet potato or an okra pod. Mystified would not be far from an apt description.
Try your best to define for yourself what you want to do once you graduate from your program, then let that dictate your choice.

By Flattop (Flattop) on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 08:57 pm: Edit

Shyjarf you could save some money and really become an apprentice. You're going to have to put in a lot of anyway to gain the work experience points to get your CC. Why not get paid to learn in the first place. It's the most logical course for me. but I would recommend that you look into it before commiting to a school that you will have to fork over a ton of cash to. Look into all of your educational options.


By Steve9389 (Steve9389) on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 09:57 pm: Edit

Shyjarf, I go to a Le Cordon Bleu School. George is right on many fronts -- the LCB on the diploma probably won't do much for me when I'm looking for jobs, and all the LCB schools in the US are indeed owned by Career Education Corp., which has the US franchise on it (though all the US LCB schools also are ACF certified). And Manny's right, they pay their wonderful chef-instructors like crap (then again, so does every other culinary school, I'm afraid).

However, I do believe it does add some value. Le Cordon Bleu sends its top culinary people from London and Paris several times every year (sometimes unannounced) to make sure everything is up to their standards. And LCB required that over the course of a degree program instructors certify that every student complete something like 450 different competencies, and the chefs really do take them seriously. Miss a competency and you fail. They range from cutting a medium dice to properly preparing and piping Italian merrangue (I'm a culinary guy, so I'm sure I spelled that wrong). Probably 95% of those competencies would have been taught anyway, but to me it ensures that an instructor won't blow off a skill that I could really use because it wasn't important to him or her personally (several times I've heard "I wouldn't have you do this, but it's a competency").

And I have to take issue with George on one thing: While LCB obviously is rooted in classic French cooking, that's far from all we do. While we learn the mother sauces, for example, after we've spent one day each on bechamel, espagnole and veloute in Soups and Sauces, we concentrated on things like reductions, coulies, compound butters, vinaigrettes, and we had an assignment where we had to research and make four non-European ethnic sauces. And at my school, the last class you take is International Cooking, which is about as non-French a class as you can take.

To summarize my way too long post, LCB is not worth paying a huge premium for (if, for example, you live near a really good community college culinary program), but all else being equal, I think there is something to it.

By George (George) on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 10:25 pm: Edit

"Though all the US LCB schools also are ACF certified"

Nope, not even close, here's where to check-

"However, I do believe it does add some value. Le Cordon Bleu sends its top culinary people from London and Paris several times every year (sometimes unannounced) to make sure everything is up to their standards. And LCB required that over the course of a degree program instructors certify that every student complete something like 450 different competencies, and the chefs really do take them seriously."

Tough to believe but hopefuly true.


By George (George) on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 10:28 pm: Edit


Teachers salaries and ALL FIXED COSTS. The meals are lucky to pay for foodcost and utilities.

Show me da numbers!!! ;<0

I'm not saying it's bad, just the real world vs taxpayer money.


By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Saturday, February 08, 2003 - 07:00 am: Edit

True G, we pay for food, chemicals, supplies, equipment, repairs, ect. No rent, or utilities!
We don't get that much money from the district though, Vocational Education is on the down cycle of education at the moment. Everything in education goes in cycles, Vocational Education was it 5-8 years ago, today for 19 high school kids I have I received a grand total of $413 for supplies, for the year.
Also, our Vocational school was self standing until 2 years ago, we got a high school built next to us, we now teach high school kids (19) plus 31 adults. We have the same two teachers, one for cooking one for baking as when we were just the Voc Ed. school.
The killer part is we asked the high school administrators when we were going to get a teacher for some kids to spend time in the classroom before they come in the kitchen and they outright told us that they HAD money for a Culinary Arts teacher but they used it for something else!!!!!
I proceeded to tell them about "liability" in the kitchen with all these minors who never really get a formal orientation on Safety and/or Sanitation it's basically learn as you go in a production shop like ours.
Sort of the tail wagging the dog type of deal!
Next year we'll have another 9-11 students high school students plus an undetermined amount of adults, they TOLD us we would have a classroom instructor next year......I won't hold my breath!!!!

By Steve9389 (Steve9389) on Saturday, February 08, 2003 - 11:05 pm: Edit

Right you are, Geroge. I see that about half the Le Cordon Bleu schools are ACF certified. Mine is, which might have thrown me off.

By Shyjarf (Shyjarf) on Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 11:27 am: Edit

GEORGE - You asked what sort of certification the school should have when considering one to attend. I am specifically inquiring now about
PACIFIC CULINARY INSTITUTE located in VANCOUVER, CA. http://www.picachef.com

The program for culinary arts "seems" alright, but being a WANABE i'm having a hard time distinguishing something that actually is reputable between a fly be night establishment. I contacted the institute and was told they are certified or have been accredited by the following:

* Accredited by the Private Post-Secondary Education Commission (PPSEC) of British Columbia
* National Career Colleges Association
* BC Career Colleges Association
* BC Chefs' Association
* Tourism Vancouver
* International Association of Culinary Professionals
* BC Restaurant Association
* Better Business Bureau
* Canada Education Centre Network

Also, because it's a short program (6 months - full time) there isn't a degree that is earned, but a diploma. What sort of weight is that going to carry?

GREAT INPUT SO FAR, KEEP IT COMING EVERYONE! Realistically, what I gather from the collective here will most likely determine where Wife and I move in September! If you'd like to forward your opinion to my confidentially, please DO!

By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 12:07 pm: Edit

My hunch is that if you go to school in Vancouver BC after living and working in Cincinnati, you will never want to leave. Members of the IACP are very fond of this school and give it very high marks. I was unaware that it is associated with LCB.

By Shyjarf (Shyjarf) on Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 10:42 pm: Edit

THANKS KINGLEAR! Can you tell me any specifics (i.e. selling points to the wife) about what you've heard? And forgive the ignorance, but what is IACP an acronymn for (Internation Association of Culinary Professionals - a guess.)

Anyone else know anything about the school in question?

By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 11:11 am: Edit

Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities I've ever been to. For being so far north, the climate is relatively mild due to the warmth from the Pacific. Beautiful gardens, friendly people, fabulous cultural activities (theater, opera, art, etc.), great outdoor activities (like hiking, skiing, mountaineering), well -funded public schools and a tolerant, open-minded society. There is also a good deal of film production work going on there-not a bad setting for opportunities in film catering ($$$).
I really don't know much about the school, but the location can't be beat. I'd move there if I had the connections to continue my freelance work there.

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