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Culinary Schools


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If I could only afford one and I was going into the hospitality industry on the cooking side I would opt for the Culinary Institute of America (CIA).

The fact that Cornell associates itself with the CIA says much of their faith in this institution.

"And in the meantime, listen to your appetite and play with your food."

Alton Brown, Good Eats

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Tuition is an obvious factor when it comes to the Hotel Managment Degree from Cornell. If you can afford it, I would say go for it. Keeping in mind that if you are planning to enter the culinary feild, you will not be making that much money when starting out. If you are paying for school yourself, than this is something to be aware of.

As far as comparing the CIA to the Ivy League schools, it is not even close. Sure the CIA is very good at what they do, but the addmission standards at say, Harvard, Yale, Cornell and so on, are much, much higher than that of the CIA.

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If you can work out the requirements for having enough time, money and energy to do the dual program then go for it. One of my childhood friends wanted to be a chef from a relatively young age. She cooked at home, started doing part time work in the kitchen at a local country club at age 15 and entered CIA at 18 to become a pastry chef.

Two years of working in her chosen field at relatively low pay with long demanding hours prompted her to rethink her long term future and options. She entered the Cornell program.... graduated and went straight to a job with Rich Foods in Buffalo.... and recently retired - before the age of 55.

In short - if you want as many options as possible open to you in the future and want the possibility of a good "corporate job" (no for everyone to be certain) - the Cornell "brand" on your resume will make a huge difference.

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the Cornell "brand" on your resume will make a huge difference.

Yes, that is correct. Long term career opportunity-wise a Cornell degree will go much, much, much further.

To say that the CIA is "Ivy League" in what it "does" misses the point. Cornell is an Ivy League school, and a very hot one at that if recent news stories are to be believed. The hotel school is very unique. Although I'd encourage students to pursue a liberal arts education and eschew specializing in their undergrad studies, if one wants to get into the hospitality business, Cornell is a great place to start.

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Cornell. Hands down. Not even close.

Look at it as a degree from an Ivy League institution vs. a degree from trade school. Sure, CIA is greatly respected and admired, but it's still trade school. Either way you go you're still going to graduate with insurmountable debt, but at least you'll make a decent living with a degree from Cornell. If you have a degree from CIA you're probably going to be working the line while pulling in a whopping $10 bucks an hour when you start out.

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Harry91, if you want to cook, CIA. If you want to manage and can possibly swing it, Cornell -- especially if you want to manage, oh, a Ritz Carlton or Marriott-type place.

Ivy League guarantees nothing but debt (unless you're broke to begin with). Don't ask me for examples; I could fill a book with them. What it does, is what the CIA does -- gets a notice.

I've not done my homework on the part of Cornell that includes the Hospitality school, but there's certain colleges within Cornell that are public. Liberal Arts undergrad is great if you intend to go into banking or law, but if you want to do be a biologist, a chemist, or a cook, I'd suggest studying bio, chemistry or food as an undergraduate.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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I get a laugh everytime I come back and see what people are writing about the CIA v. Cornell. First off they are two different animals and slamming either one shows your ignorance to either one. I have a bachelors degree from a small school in NC, not an Ivy League, but I did ok and I graduated and I was sucessful and at the top of my game after 10 yrs when I decided culinary schools - yes the CIA. WHY - well I chose it for what was said above - name recognition and I am not young enough to work the lines to build my way up the ladder like most. BUT I also did not and still do not want to work the line. But you guys are comparing apples and oranges. Both schools are affiliated with each other - both are considered to be top notch. Now I am not slamming other culinary programs or colleges and universities anywhere - I think it is all what students make of the situation. I have met people in the real world that have no degree that are making tons of money because they are in the right place at the right time - I know cooks that are amazing that have no piece of paper from anywhere. But to say people should go to Cornell over the CIA becasue it is better - just is not right. They both offer unique programs that are not simalar in many respects. If I was just starting out again I would get a Associates from a program (CIA) or other wise and look into Hospitality Management programs - the one that fits my life goals...do chefs make lousy money to start YEP - do people right out of college make less money - yep and the people with a degree from somewhere end up moving up and up - so consider school - any school that fits your need!

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Cornell = Ivy League institution

CIA = Definitely not

If for some reason the biz doesn't work out for you, you can do a lot more with a degree from Cornell than from the CIA.

The School of Hotel Administration at Cornell offers one the finest bachelor level general business educations in the country - and probably prepares one for entrepreneurship as well as any bachelor level program. When I graduated and I am sure it is the same now, a hotel school student could graduate with enough accounting courses to pursue a CPA.

Also Cornell is a top all-around university. Courses are available in all the arts and sciences, industrial labor relations, architecture and, for the masochistic, engineering.

Besides which, Cornell's football team would destroy the CIA's.

The Cornell/CIA combined degree is a wonderful opportunity, especially if someone intends to focus on the back of the house. However, if the goal is overall management, my prejudices suggest four years at Cornell would probably be a better bet.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Cornell = Ivy League institution

CIA = Definitely not

If for some reason the biz doesn't work out for you, you can do a lot more with a degree from Cornell than from the CIA.

The School of Hotel Administration at Cornell offers one the finest bachelor level general business educations in the country - and probably prepares one for entrepreneurship as well as any bachelor level program. When I graduated and I am sure it is the same now, a hotel school student could graduate with enough accounting courses to pursue a CPA.

Exactly right. I know a number of people that have business degrees from reputable hotel schools that went into entirely different industries and did exceptionally well. Some did this without even entering the HRMA industry after graduating. I'm not specifically speaking of Cornell either.

My point is that with a degree such as this you are ultimately studying business. Sure the focus is on HRMA, but you still take classes on accounting, finance, insurance, marketing, legal, etc. A degree in the program is marketable outside of the industry.

A degree from CIA is completely different. Right or wrong, you are still limited to marketing yourself as someone that can cook. I am aware that the program now includes classes on business and media, but the perception remains that the CIA only teaches a trade. Sure, it's the best in the country. If you want to be a chef, go to CIA. If you want a degree with the most career flexibility then head off to Cornell. If you can afford both then by all means go to both. Like the previous poster stated, it's apples and oranges. I couldn't agree more.

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Cornell is not a cooking school and does not pretend to be one. The public college division within the private university include the Colleges of Human Ecology, Agriculture and Industrial & Labor Relations.

My position is that the dual degree program is a huge plus for someone who wants their options as open as possible. And you won't save money by looking at enrollment in one of the public colleges in their system.

I agree that Cornell and CIA are different beats but if you can have some of both and have both Cornell and CIA on your degree / resume? Go for it.

I worked for Cornell for four years and believe me - that name on my resume as a past employer opened some doors for me down the road. It almost made it worth the four years of long hours and crappy pay :wink:

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You said -

A degree from Cornell is one of the most valuable lifetime assets one could have. A diploma from CIA means that one still doesn't know how to cook.

Funny I can cook and cook pretty well - it is that jello thing I still wonder about - comparing 2 different programs - both are extremely valuable - a degree from anywhere is valuable. I have a degree from UNC Chapel Hill and a CIA degree - funny how I consider both to be lifetime assets and everywhere I have interviewed in the past or cooked for competition or a job I have done well. What is all of this hostility towards the CIA or really culinary schools? People that don't have a school diploma seem to pick on the ones that do and the ones that do seem to pick on CIA and JW - can't we all just get along - we are food people for crying out loud

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Ok, I've read the posts and threads but I will ask again.

Which school should I enroll at?

CIA - for AOS in Culinary Arts ($55K+)

French Culinary Institute - Certificate in Culinary Arts ($38K)

Le Cordon Bleu (local culinary school here) - Certificate in Culinary Arts ($22k)

My short term goals are to learn, learn, and learn, build a solid foundation, work in every station in the kitchen (even dishwashing).

I already have a Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality Management.

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Any of the schools will do you fine - especially if you want to work for a place that requires a culinary degree - one curicullum is not necessarily better than another. One concern that does make a difference is where you go to school. Attending a school in San Francisco, New York, or here in Austin does allow you to live in a "foodie" area with lots of local culinary assets, much better than doing it in Cincinnati or Fort Lauderdale...

By the way, I have a Cuisine diploma from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, 1979.

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Ok, I've read the posts and threads but I will ask again. 

Which school should I enroll at?

CIA - for AOS in Culinary Arts ($55K+)

French Culinary Institute - Certificate in Culinary Arts ($38K)

Le Cordon Bleu (local culinary school here) - Certificate in Culinary Arts ($22k)

My short term goals are to learn, learn, and learn, build a solid foundation, work in every station in the kitchen (even dishwashing). 

I already have a Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality Management.

What sort of food prep courses did you take while earning your degree in Hospitality Management? Any back of the house experience summers while at school?

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

Twitter

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In every kitchen I've worked in, everyone had to prove themselves. Culinary school grad, or kid off the street. (I was the kid off the street, living in the housing projects, coming to the most expensive, luxurious fine dining restaurant in this part of the country)

The problem with culinary school grads is, they think they know how to cook. They learn to cook classic French food at school, that's all. You try to teach them, they talk back, you fire them... That's how it goes. In restaurants, in the REAL world, we use modern cooking techniques, not to mention, each chef is trying to push their own style, so they need 100% cooperation from their cooks. Not some wannabe TV chef strait out of culinary school (yes I've seen it).

I've worked with plenty of great cooks that would be stumped if you asked them to make a béchamel or a true demi-glace (and even if they did know how to make it, they'd tell you it's a waste of time because no one uses those sauces anymore), but can make a very nice cream sauce and meat 'jus'... Or how about foams, do they even teach that in school?

Anyhow, I could go on for hours about the industry, my own personal experience training culinary school grads at the restaurant, but I'll cut it short for now.

Edited by Mikeb19 (log)
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If you really want to "cook" for a living skip both schools, save your money for living expenses and go work in restaurants.

If you want to do other things in the hospitality business, go to Cornell.

-Mike

-Mike & Andrea

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Ok, I've read the posts and threads but I will ask again. 

Which school should I enroll at?

CIA - for AOS in Culinary Arts ($55K+)

French Culinary Institute - Certificate in Culinary Arts ($38K)

Le Cordon Bleu (local culinary school here) - Certificate in Culinary Arts ($22k)

My short term goals are to learn, learn, and learn, build a solid foundation, work in every station in the kitchen (even dishwashing). 

I already have a Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality Management.

If money is the driving issue, do the cheapest. If education is, do the CIA.

Edited by FabulousFoodBabe (log)
"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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Hey -- you wouldn't be Chef Corky Clark in real life, would ya?  :wink:

Nope. But, I've heard stories. I love this line from a bio (soooo damn funny):

"Jason particularly appreciated his time with Chef Corky Clark—an exacting teacher who taught him everything he knows about fish butchery." :laugh:

http://www.ciachef.edu/admissions/spotligh...asp?iSpotID=540

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  • 3 months later...

... I have been gifted with a carte blanche 1 week (or 3-7 day) cooking program that has to happen this year. I've already scouted out both the CIA and Greystone. What other suggestions do you all have? Does F+W or Gourmet do anything worthwhile?

While I do want to "get my feet wet," I consider myself somewhat of a seasoned cook and baker - I'm beyond knife skills and pastry crusts. I want something comprehensive, lots of hands on, in-depth, and interesting, and preferably small; one-on-one would be amazing, but I doubt I'll find that.

While I don't think an international destination is do-able, I wouldn't be opposed to suggestions - especially if it is relatively close to the continental U.S. My constraint is more (vacation) time rather than $ at this point.

If this is the incorrect forum for this discussion, I would appreciate some direction. Thanks!

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I was in exactly in the same situation a couple of months ago (although pretty much constrained to Europe) and had trouble finding anything worthwile. If I were living in NY, I would have opted for the French Culinary Institutes evening program. Doesn't fit your specs, but looks like a very good option for the committed amateur cook.

Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons in Oxford has week long courses. Expensive of course. I have no idea how much you will actually learn (probably depends a lot on the level of the other participants), but you will definitely eat a lot of good food.

Personally, I decided to go all out and will take Basic Intensive Cusine for six weeks at Le Cordon Bleu in London this spring. Yay! :blink: I will get the knife skills and pastry crust, but I'm sure both my skills and crust will be much improved...and that I will learn a lot of other things!

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I was in exactly in the same situation a couple of months ago (although pretty much constrained to Europe) and had trouble finding anything worthwile. If I were living in NY, I would have opted for the French Culinary Institutes evening program. Doesn't fit your specs, but looks like a very good option for the committed amateur cook.

Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons in Oxford has week long courses. Expensive of course. I have no idea how much you will actually learn (probably depends a lot on the level of the other participants), but you will definitely eat a lot of good food.

Personally, I decided to go all out and will take Basic Intensive Cusine for six weeks at Le Cordon Bleu in London this spring. Yay! :blink: I will get the knife skills and pastry crust, but I'm sure both my skills and crust will be much improved...and that I will learn a lot of other things!

Thanks Swede, I wish I were on your side of the puddle.

I actually thought about approaching some restaurants - either in New York or California. I dont' know if any of those chefs would be willing to sit down with me for a few days - I shudder to think what that might cost!

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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If you want to explore your interest in sweets further with this wonderful gift, I would recommend The Notter School. Either that or the pastry school in Chicago.

Edited to add that I found this program featuring Pierre Herme at the "French Pastry School". If I only could afford that, what an experience

Edited by joiei (log)

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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