T Nation

Quick Culinary Questions

  1. What sort of price range are we talking about, per year, for culinary school? From say, middle of the road to high quality schools.

    2. Does financial aid apply toward it? (Okay, one can wish! :wink:

    3. How many years? 2, or 4?

    4. What’s a general class/weekly schedule look like?

There is an infomertial for Le cordon Bleu at Brown College that plays every day. According to that, finantial aid is available and there is houseing as well. If you want to go to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park expect to shell out a LOT. Finantial aid is always available for any educational pursuit.

Western Culinary, which is now part of Le Cordon Bleu, is 25k and a 1 year program. it is monday-friday, with most classes being 6-8 hours long. The first six monthes, classes are in the morning, and the the second six in the evening. You also have to do a 6 week, unpaid internship. Financial aid applies just like any other college, and there are some grants and scholarships out there, as well as cooking contests for students.

Last I heard, the CIA was 25k a year, and a 2 year program, and same for the New England Culinary Insitute.

Johnson and Wales is the only school that I know of that has a four year, bachelors degree program.

In my opinion, culinary school gives you the basic tools, but does not really prepare you for the real kitchen. It will however get your foot in the door. Once there, it's sink or swim, and I have seen many graduates from all the various schools sink. It's a tough business to get into, with lousy pay and benefits (if you even get them), but if you if you have a passion for cooking, it will eventually pay off.

If you seriously want to be a chef, you can go to any culinary school and get the 2 yr degree. Although the big boys are the CIA and andy school with Le Cordon Bleu a degree from another ACF accredited culinary school will work. Most community colleges offer the 15 month degree for 2k or so, which is a hell of a lot cheaper than 25k a year. I went to AIFL and the 20k a year was why I didn’t finish. And Ko is definitely right about graduates not being prepared for the real kitchen operation. Although you have a cooking practicum in some schools most perform very poorly in the real world, at least initially. If your still young look into the ACF apprenticeship program, for people with little or no experience it can be more beneficial than just the degree as you will get 3 yrs of guaranteed hands on training under an ACF qualified chef. I guess what I’m saying is think very carefully before spending the kind of money high end culinary schools charge now. I’m definitely with Ko on the shitty work environment, no benefits and good luck going on any kind of vacation that lasts longer than 2 days if your in a chef management position especially Exec Chef and Exec Sous Chef.

I totally forgot about the community college programs, in fact LBCC has a culinary program. I got lucky, and went to Western Culinary before it became Le Cordon Bleu, so my tuition was only 14k, same education. The graduates coming out now are no better, no worse. For anyone considering culinary school, get a job cooking. That way you will get some experience working in a kitchen, and be better prepared when you graduate.

The Army [Active] is handing out $16,000 bonuses (in writing no less) for culinary arts.

The deal is sign up for 5 years and get $8,000 after AIT and the other $8,000 spread out evenly during the first year. Sounds like a good deal. After you finish the five years you have the $30K to help you with the rest.

There were 6 guys that signed up for that when I went to MEPS last week.