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Culinary School Help! [moved from General Chowhounding Topics]


I am going to be graduating this year and I was looking for a culinary school to go to that is not so expensive. I live in New York City but unfortunately I am not rich at all and all the schools here are to much money and I would like stay in the North East like Vermont, New York, Boston, Pennsylvanian, Connecticut and Maine. I had looked at places like The French culinary institute, CAI, and New England Culinary Institute. But they were all way to much for what I can pay. Since I was 11 I knew I wanted to be a chef once I found out how hard it was to be a Baseball Player :( but I just don't know where to look anymore.

Thank you

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  1. Try the Culinary Institute in Pittsburgh (no laughing allowed!) They have a great program and rank up there with the best.

    Also, depending on your financial situation, check out Johnson and Wales University; they have a great culinary program and various campuses all over the country. Their financial aid program is great, as is their internship program, and since they are all over the country, they aim for "geographic diversity."

    Good luck on your endeavors. Perhaps we'll be dining in your establishment one day! Keep us posted.

    1 Reply
    1. re: beccaboo

      Thank you very much I will check it out.

      I really wish I could have my own restaurant.

    2. You might reconsider culinary school and just start working in kitchens. Not only will it give you an idea if this is a career path you really want to follow you will also save yourself money. If you haven't read Heat by Bill Buford I'd suggest picking up a copy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: KTinNYC

        I must agree with the idea of working in kitchens. Jackp and I have a nephew who worked for years as a line/prep cook in restaurants while he was a skateboard/snowboard bum before he went to culinary school in Fall River, Mass. He says that often, people working for him who have gone to culinary school without actually working in restaurants for an extended period don't have the know-how necessary to really work well with food. For example, they might have spent one week in culinary school learning how to clean and fillet a fish, but don't really have a feel for the meat and what can be done with it and how to get the best flavor from it.

        You might find that working on the line is the sort of experience that points you in the right direction.

      2. Have you checked out Sullivan University in Louisville, KY? Don't laugh... it's one of the top 10 culinary schools in the country....

        1. Check out L'Ecole Culinaire in St. Louis. Muuuch cheaper, though definitely a trek.

          And we're a big baseball town to boot.

          1. Definitely work in a fast-paced kitchen before culinary school. A friend of mine was on the cusp of graduation (internship) and switched from a relatively low-stress kitchen to a top tier kitchen. He is a reasonably talented cook. It broke him within a week and he decided to switch career paths.

            J&W used to be located in Charleston and we currently have AI and a wonderful technical school program. Many of the people I knew who graduated J&W did not get the optional business degree. The business degree in conjunction with the culinary degree will give you a much higher degree of job flexibility. Chefs have a tremendous amount of responsibilities that have nothing to do with cooking. A culinary degree by itself is not a guarantee of good employment.

            1 Reply
            1. re: CharlestonChow

              Agree dual degree is a good idea. My son attended J&W in Charleston, but I was referring to the Providence location. His culinary/hospitality management degree has opened many more doors than just a culinary degree would have.

              And you are certainly correct about different kitchens affecting your perception of what it means to be a chef.

              Once again, best of luck to the OP

            2. The ACF accredited, Culinary Institute of Charleston, at Trident Technical College is a school not to be overlooked if you are looking for value in tuition. Although Charleston, SC., is a city with a high cost of living, that high cost of living is a result of the fact that Charleston is a hospitality/culinary destination.
              The Culinary Institute of Charleston offers a culinary arts and hospitality management curriculum that sets the standard, for similar programs anywhere in the United States.
              While researching culinary arts and hospitality schools in 2005 I was drawn to the Charleston area for the opportunities it offered culinary/hospitality professionals.
              The faculty and staff at the Culinary Institute of Charleston where interested in me and my goals as an individual and have followed through with support, encouragement and academic opportunities beyond what I had expected.
              As a resident (residency is based on the states criteria) students' tuition is partially funded through the South Carolina Education Lottery. Even out of state tuition is affordable and well worth the expense if the culinary arts and hospitality management is the field you are pursuing.
              Some of the perks of this program are the many volunteer opportunities to perfect our skills while serving the community providing labor and support for major events such as, The Chefs Feast (benefiting the Low Country Food Bank), The Taste of Charleston (showcasing the many restaurants in the Tri-county area), The Charleston Food and Wine Festival ( a celebration of the businesses that have made Charleston famous for its culinary and hospitality attractions), and countless other events in which planners and organizers request the services of the talented students enrolled in the Culinary Institute of Charleston.
              Trident Technical College offers many other programs that are just as respected nationally as its culinary/hospitality courses. It is recognized as one of the 1200 two-year colleges in the USA that has had its honor society student association(Phi Theta Kappa) attain the first place ranking more than once and has competed with the best of the best in the United Nations model competition earning top honors in the process.
              The Culinary Institute of Charleston's students are represented by the Hospitality and Culinary Student Association that offers its member a venue in which they are able to network with potential employers, serve the community and earn respect from the movers and shakers that offer scholarships in our chosen field. The HCSA provides financial support for educational trips in the states and abroad. The HCSA is an active organization that earns top honors regularly and is an association that promotes professionalism and by association its members gain respect in the community.
              All colleges whether public or private have positive attributes, but as a student enrolled in the Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College I can honestly say that I am satisfied with the education I am receiving and consider the transition from another state to be worth the cost in the long run.

              1. Before all else, have you checked out the financial aid programs at the schools there in NYC? I live in the Dallas area, and Le Cordon Bleu here does have a financial aid program.

                This would work even better if you find a university that offers both culinary and business degrees. In all liklihood, they even have scholarships and not just student loans. (What could be better than that?) As that Ramsey guy says so often, "A restaurant IS a business!" Gird your loins!