Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Hip Housewife further explores culinary education

Have you ever had a day where your emotions went up, down and all around before settling in a way you never would have predicted?

As you know, I went to speak with an admissions representative at Le Cordon Bleu yesterday.  It's a spacious, sparkling clean facility that has many students and classes that I'd be excited to take, but the costs are very high for the Associate's program, which is the one I'm most interested in.

My excellent friend Mrs. K sent me a heartfelt email telling me that Le Cordon Bleu is owned by a company called "Career Education Corporation", very similar to the companies that own University of Phoenix and other colleges that offer college degrees via online but deliver a substandard program, leaving the students with a worthless degree and a massive amount in student loans.  She gave me a link to a New York Times article specifically about culinary schools and how for-profit education is a big player in food schools now.

I think that I would receive good instruction at LCB, but, as I said, the cost is huge and I would need to pay the admission fee before I could sit down with a tuition planner.

"Wow!  I could go to Le Cordon Bleu!"  "Wah! the Cordon Bleu is too expensive. Boo hoo!"  "Hey!  Those fuckers!"  Up, down, all around go my feelings about it.  

I'm not a big fan of what Scott calls "Dollars for Diplomas" schools.  There is one in California where you attend classes one weekend a month and walk away with a Master's or Doctorate in psychology, which really frightens me.  I don't want a counsellor who went to graduate school on the National Guard plan!  There are stories starting to trickle out where people are completing nursing programs and successfully becoming RNs but can't find jobs because they lack the hands-on, practical experience that would make them employable.  They talk of pediatric rounds being done at a day-care center and psychology rounds consisting of visiting a Museum of Scientology.

I don't think that I'm NOT going to learn how to cook at LCB, but I don't want to get taken advantage of by their parent company.  And if I'm going to have a metric assload of student loans it might as well be for credits I can at least transfer.

After sleeping on it, I'm going to research the other programs in the area.

I got in touch with another culinary school in the area, where the tuition is half of what LCB is asking, they've invited me to meet with the admissions representative, take a tour and I can spend an hour in one of the kitchens observing a class.  They did include the applications for federal grants with the package they emailed me, but that's not a student loan through the school and I can meet with their financial advisors for free.

I'll be visiting them tomorrow and wee what they have to say.  The admissions requirements are somewhat different at this school than at LCB, where they only require tuition and paperwork. The Culinary Academy of Austin needs potential students to meet with the director, two letters of recommendation and an application essay, maybe these are just window dressing to make it look more like a 'real' school.

I'm also going through the steps to enroll with the Austin Community College culinary program, which is about 20% of what LCB is asking for their Associate's program, and I can transfer the core credits should I decide to pursue another field.

I'm also going to get back in touch with LCB about their next most intensive program, the culinary arts certificate, to get the breakdown of classes and costs.

There's a line in the movie "Waitress" where she says "I just want to make pies.".

I'm finding myself saying "I just want to learn to cook! I just want to do knife drills and learn to make radish roses and be able to point to a cow and say which cut comes from the shoulder!"

Meanwhile, my children beg for macaroni and cheese from the box and tomato soup from the can while I wade through the possibilities and try to not get scammed all in the midst of the this big pile of laundry that's not going to do itself.

Where's the coffee?

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  When Revlon says 'Colorstay', they mean color STAY.  If you are going to use any of these great products be sure you get it exactly where you want it, or you'll be stuck looking like Joker for the day.  

1 comment:

Cyndee said...

Due diligence is always in order. Good for you, processing all possibilities before making that delicious decision.