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Terrasanct

Culinary School in Seattle/Everett area

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My daughter is planning to attend a culinary school in the area soon. Does anyone have information about the alternatives?

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When I looked at area culinary schools, I decided to go to one of the community colleges because they were SOOOOOO much cheaper, and still had knowledgeable teachers and good programs.

South Seattle Community College has a huge new facility, but they focus on mass production and crap products. They have one of the only good wine-making programs in Seattle.

Seattle Central is focusing on local ingredients and sustainability. They even started a farm in Skagit Valley that the students will be bussed to. They use alot of organic ingredients, and the pastry program is excellent...if she's interested in that. The facility is much older and smaller.

Good luck! And make sure she works in a restaurant before she decides to enter this line of work. Line work is a lot less romantic than Anthony Bourdain makes it seem. Look at any cook's hands and arms.

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Thanks for the info. I think her plan is to go to culinary school, get restaurant experience, and eventually open her own place. She's 25 and has been cooking since she was a kid--she is working for a catering company right now and does some catering privately, too. She even helped me out when I was catering years ago. She has enough experience to know that it's not going to be easy. She's a tough chick--she can handle a lot.

Seattle Central sounds good--I think that would interest her.

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I'm not in the biz, but have been told that The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts in Vancouver is a very good option for those that want a program that takes less time than a community college and offers lots of real-world experience. Obviously, it's much more expensive as well.

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My wife attended the Seattle Art Institute's Pastry Chef program. She thought that the program was good, some of the chefs excellent (and some a waste of air), and that they were very focused on placement of students after graduation.

Some of the students were annoying as they were placed there on a job-retraining program. She didn't think they were really interested and it was a hassle to get partnered with them. Some of them had significant problems scaling ingredients -- so much so that with one person she had to double check on all measurements. She also wasn't impressed that they treated students like they were in high school -- miss a certain number of classes you automatically failed.

She thought they were more expensive than CC, but she wanted to get her degree faster. Good idea too -- she was 6 months pregnant by graduation. If she had her wish, she would have gone to the Cordon Bleu in Vegas or Ottawa (or Paris :), but she forgot to wish to unlimited $$ as part of that :huh:

They were not very happy with her because she was about to 'take a break' for a few years to help raise our family and that reduced their post-grad placement rate. She had to promise them that she was going to be researching and opening a private catering business (which is the eventual plan).


Edited by daves (log)

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I live in the Everett area, and I am pretty darn sure that there are no stand-alone culinary schools up here in Snohomish county. I have also heard good things about the local community colleges in Seattle and the Art Institute. Everett and Edmonds community colleges do not have much in the way of any culinary arts programs.

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I live in the Everett area, and I am pretty darn sure that there are no stand-alone culinary schools up here in Snohomish county.  I have also heard good things about the local community colleges in Seattle and the Art Institute.  Everett and Edmonds community colleges do not have much in the way of any culinary arts programs.

Hey - I'm a product of the Edmonds Community College Culinary Arts program and I can tell you it definitely exists!

Many students and graduates are working all over the greater Seattle region as as cooks, chefs, or own their own restaurants. A graduate of the program made it to the finals of that PBS cooking show competition a year or so back. The Edmonds program is definately worth it for your daughter to check out.

Has your daughter been to the different culinary school's student run restaurants? Senior students write the menus and manage the restaurants, all other students cook and serve the food. A visit to these restaurants - aside from being a wonderful deal - give an idea of the "feel" of the school, which is really important.

Final note - you get out of culinary school what you put into it.

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not sure if your daughter has already made a decision, but i am just finishing up at seattle central and would be more than happy to give her (or anyone interested) the rundown. overall, it is a great program that will only get better. the dean (new in the past couple of years) is amazing, and the chef-instructors are all very dedicated and talented. in the next couple of years, they are planning to add another kitchen, a wine and cheese program and a greenhouse. i'm very proud to have been a student there. *however* culinary school at central will not prepare anyone to open a restaurant...the program is simply not long enough to learn all aspects of the business. the associated classes (managment, resume writing, etc.) are simply not comprehensive or targeted enough.

just my $0.02

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my son went to South Seattle CC ...loved it ..did very well ..it was a very good school and when he was done he was hooked up with a duel degree (business and culinary arts) that translated to a direct transfer to WSU ..no questions asked...

it gave him the perfect option and what he says is the best education for the money in this area...not to mention even though he is not currenty cooking he is making over 100k a year now 2 years out of college because of his culinary education and experience ..

bottom line my son is very proud of his SSCC education and I hear him brag that he made it through there more often than he talks about WSU!

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I'm in a similar boat as herself. I'm a couple month shy of 25 and I'm looking for a culinary school.

My bottom line was to have fully rounded (Business and cooking) education. I don't know what she is looking for but I wanted a bachellor's degree, and there is nowhere in Seattle that offers one. It seems that different schools around seattle focus on different thing but noone offers the "whole picture". Which is why I've applied out of state, CIA actually.

That being said, the best locally schooled cooks that I've worked with have come out The Art Institute. The most knowledgable have come out of SCCC.

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I'm in a similar boat as herself. I'm a couple month shy of 25 and I'm looking for a culinary school.

My bottom line was to have fully rounded (Business and cooking) education. I don't know what she is looking for but I wanted a bachellor's degree, and there is nowhere in Seattle that offers one. It seems that different schools around seattle focus on different thing but noone offers the "whole picture". Which is why I've applied out of state, CIA actually.

That being said, the best locally schooled cooks that I've worked with have come out The Art Institute. The most knowledgable have come out of SCCC.

Your last sentence is intriguing - can you expand on it? Both are local schools - so what is the difference between best cooks and most knowledgeable - who's food you'd want to eat and who you would ask a question of regarding food preparation, history, business?

And good luck with the CIA application (I hope you had someone proofread it for you, btw.)

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I'm in a similar boat as herself. I'm a couple month shy of 25 and I'm looking for a culinary school.

My bottom line was to have fully rounded (Business and cooking) education. I don't know what she is looking for but I wanted a bachellor's degree, and there is nowhere in Seattle that offers one. It seems that different schools around seattle focus on different thing but noone offers the "whole picture". Which is why I've applied out of state, CIA actually.

That being said, the best locally schooled cooks that I've worked with have come out The Art Institute. The most knowledgable have come out of SCCC.

Your last sentence is intriguing - can you expand on it? Both are local schools - so what is the difference between best cooks and most knowledgeable - who's food you'd want to eat and who you would ask a question of regarding food preparation, history, business?

That's pretty much what I mean. If I wanted an explanation on practices of a foie gras farmer I'd ask an SCCC grad. If I wanted to sample a decent bearnaise I'd ask a Art Institute grad.

In my experience it seems that SCCC grads know more about food, where Institute grad know more about how to cook.

Does that make sense?

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I'm in a similar boat as herself. I'm a couple month shy of 25 and I'm looking for a culinary school.

My bottom line was to have fully rounded (Business and cooking) education. I don't know what she is looking for but I wanted a bachellor's degree, and there is nowhere in Seattle that offers one. It seems that different schools around seattle focus on different thing but noone offers the "whole picture". Which is why I've applied out of state, CIA actually.

That being said, the best locally schooled cooks that I've worked with have come out The Art Institute. The most knowledgable have come out of SCCC.

Your last sentence is intriguing - can you expand on it? Both are local schools - so what is the difference between best cooks and most knowledgeable - who's food you'd want to eat and who you would ask a question of regarding food preparation, history, business?

That's pretty much what I mean. If I wanted an explanation on practices of a foie gras farmer I'd ask an SCCC grad. If I wanted to sample a decent bearnaise I'd ask a Art Institute grad.

In my experience it seems that SCCC grads know more about food, where Institute grad know more about how to cook.

Does that make sense?

interesting...

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To answer the OP, the best thing to do is to visit the schools themselves, take tours, speak to the faculty, and eat meals at the restaurants. And of course, talk to the students too.

Beware the places that tell you your progeny will become the next TV star, or that they can expect to become sous chefs upon graduation, or if they basically avoid any mention of the realities of the hard slog, pay, and working conditions. We just let an extern go because they worked with our crew while wearing those assumptions.

I'm a SCCC grad, class of 2005. If your daughter is still trying to decide, I'll be happy to answer questions about my time there.

Also, it really is true about success ultimately lying with the fire in one's belly. It has to in our industry, it's too hard not to love it. Being curious and self-motivated about learning will go a very long way no matter which school she chooses.

Pat

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I'm in a similar boat as herself. I'm a couple month shy of 25 and I'm looking for a culinary school.

My bottom line was to have fully rounded (Business and cooking) education. I don't know what she is looking for but I wanted a bachellor's degree, and there is nowhere in Seattle that offers one. It seems that different schools around seattle focus on different thing but noone offers the "whole picture". Which is why I've applied out of state, CIA actually.

That being said, the best locally schooled cooks that I've worked with have come out The Art Institute. The most knowledgable have come out of SCCC.

I've heard that SCCC is is about to - or has just begun a bachelors program. Also, that in the works is a CWU bachelors degree at the Edmonds CC campus.

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I'm in a similar boat as herself. I'm a couple month shy of 25 and I'm looking for a culinary school.

My bottom line was to have fully rounded (Business and cooking) education. I don't know what she is looking for but I wanted a bachellor's degree, and there is nowhere in Seattle that offers one. It seems that different schools around seattle focus on different thing but noone offers the "whole picture". Which is why I've applied out of state, CIA actually.

That being said, the best locally schooled cooks that I've worked with have come out The Art Institute. The most knowledgable have come out of SCCC.

I've heard that SCCC is is about to - or has just begun a bachelors program. Also, that in the works is a CWU bachelors degree at the Edmonds CC campus.

That would seem to conflict with the charters for the schools - and really piss off the University system. As it is, they are complaining about the lack of quality transfer students. But here is an article confirming the possibility:

Oct 2005

Very interesting.

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For many years, CWU has run the University Center on the Edmonds CC campus that offers the last two years of various bachelor's degrees through CWU. A student can take the first two years at Edmonds CC and then complete the degree at the University Center. It is entirely possible to earn a CWU degree without ever setting foot in Ellensburg.

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I'm in a similar boat as herself. I'm a couple month shy of 25 and I'm looking for a culinary school.

My bottom line was to have fully rounded (Business and cooking) education. I don't know what she is looking for but I wanted a bachellor's degree, and there is nowhere in Seattle that offers one. It seems that different schools around seattle focus on different thing but noone offers the "whole picture". Which is why I've applied out of state, CIA actually.

That being said, the best locally schooled cooks that I've worked with have come out The Art Institute. The most knowledgable have come out of SCCC.

I've heard that SCCC is is about to - or has just begun a bachelors program. Also, that in the works is a CWU bachelors degree at the Edmonds CC campus.

That would seem to conflict with the charters for the schools - and really piss off the University system. As it is, they are complaining about the lack of quality transfer students. But here is an article confirming the possibility:

Oct 2005

Very interesting.

I just heard the other day that South Seattle CC might be starting a program where you could get your BA in Culinary Arts.

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I am a chef instructor at the art institute..and find the question intriguing.

I personally went to the CIA, and believe if you want to go to the best culinary school in the country, then go there. However if staying close to home if priority 1 as well as saving on costs then go to a comm. college. If you are going to spend the money on the art inst. then go to the CIA..your resources will be far greater.

I don't buy into the notion of one school producing knowledgeable cooks and the other producing cooks that execute. That is ridiculous..

One guy said it..culinary school is what you put into it..yes there are good and bad teachers and good and bad programs, however if you love food, want to learn and most importantly want to work hard...then you will be fine..

but don't be under any illusion that culinary school is the way to go...I think that is just one small step..the next one is to work for at least 3-5 years for as many great chefs as possible...that would give someone great footing into the industry..

best.

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I didn't realize there were more answers on this thread, thanks everyone.

She decided to go to the Cordon Bleu in Portland and has been enjoying it. She's one of the top students in her classes, because she works hard and knows what she wants.

I never quite understand how the scheduling works, but she has a different set of courses every six weeks or so, I think. She told me that she will be looking for an externship in Hawaii since that's where she wants to be working and open her own place down the line.

When I visited a month or so ago, we had lunch at the restaurant. It was an interesting experience, mostly because half of the students were out with the flu and so was the instructor. They had borrowed students from the business administration part of the school to be waiters, and our poor waiter was so nervous, he was shaking. He said it was the worst day of his life, poor guy.

Lunch took four hours, but we had met some family there and had a good time.

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I'm in a similar boat as herself. I'm a couple month shy of 25 and I'm looking for a culinary school.

My bottom line was to have fully rounded (Business and cooking) education. I don't know what she is looking for but I wanted a bachellor's degree, and there is nowhere in Seattle that offers one. It seems that different schools around seattle focus on different thing but noone offers the "whole picture". Which is why I've applied out of state, CIA actually.

That being said, the best locally schooled cooks that I've worked with have come out The Art Institute. The most knowledgable have come out of SCCC.

I've heard that SCCC is is about to - or has just begun a bachelors program. Also, that in the works is a CWU bachelors degree at the Edmonds CC campus.

That would seem to conflict with the charters for the schools - and really piss off the University system. As it is, they are complaining about the lack of quality transfer students. But here is an article confirming the possibility:

Oct 2005

Very interesting.

I just heard the other day that South Seattle CC might be starting a program where you could get your BA in Culinary Arts.

Central Washington University is indeed going to start offering an applied Science BS degree in Food Service Management at their Edmonds CC Campus starting in January 2008 if all goes according to their plans.

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I'm in a similar boat as herself. I'm a couple month shy of 25 and I'm looking for a culinary school.

My bottom line was to have fully rounded (Business and cooking) education. I don't know what she is looking for but I wanted a bachellor's degree, and there is nowhere in Seattle that offers one. It seems that different schools around seattle focus on different thing but noone offers the "whole picture". Which is why I've applied out of state, CIA actually.

That being said, the best locally schooled cooks that I've worked with have come out The Art Institute. The most knowledgable have come out of SCCC.

I've heard that SCCC is is about to - or has just begun a bachelors program. Also, that in the works is a CWU bachelors degree at the Edmonds CC campus.

That would seem to conflict with the charters for the schools - and really piss off the University system. As it is, they are complaining about the lack of quality transfer students. But here is an article confirming the possibility:

Oct 2005

Very interesting.

I just heard the other day that South Seattle CC might be starting a program where you could get your BA in Culinary Arts.

Central Washington University is indeed going to start offering an applied Science BS degree in Food Service Management at their Edmonds CC Campus starting in January 2008 if all goes according to their plans.

Yes, SSCC (South Seattle Community College) is going to be offering a B.A.S in hospitality ~ first class starts this fall.

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