Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hmmmmmm, interesting

Yesterday, I went to talk with the admissions representative at another culinary school in the area.  And it's a very different school from Le Cordon Bleu.

First, it's a much smaller school, easily a third the size of the LCB campus although there are two new kitchen classrooms being added.

The tour was also very different, I got to go into the kitchens to watch a practical class in action and taste the soups they were working on.   It also gave me the opportunity to ask the chef instructor what she liked about the school.

When she was telling me how she preferred the smaller class sizes she referred to LCB as "the other school".  She compared their classes to learning via Food Network since the students at LCB watch the chef's demonstration on a TV screen and then try it on their own, only getting feedback at tasting.  She pointed out that with a maximum class size of 16, she can directly supervise the students as they make their dishes, a good amount of one-on-one instruction.

I asked a couple students, when they had a second to answer my questions, they were cooking after all, and their replies were the same.  They like being able to work closely with the chefs.  In the second kitchen, the chef instructor was going in between the students giving feedback on techniques, asking questions of them, making corrections.

There also seemed to be a nice amount of good natured back-and-forth between the chef and the students.  The students were all focused on their tasks but didn't seemed stressed or on the verge of a freak out.

Lastly, I was allowed to watch the tail end of a student presentation about her restaurant concept.  One of the last projects is this presentation where the student outlines what kind of business they would open, where, what they would call it, bring a sample from their menu and discuss the costs and challenges.

There were only five students making presentations, they all told me what the names of their dream place would be and the instructor asked me which program I was interested in and what I was hoping to learn.

Being able to watch the classes and speak briefly with the students and instructor was great.

When the admissions representative asked me what it was that had made me come down to tour their school after visiting LCB I answered that I had some concerns about their parent company.

My new friend nodded his head and said "Oh. Yeah."  He went on to tell me that he used to work there but didn't like how it seemed that he pushed the student loans financed by the school, so he sought other employment.  He also explained that offering an Associates program didn't make any sense, because students wouldn't be able to transfer the credits,  rendering the class credits worthless.

As a matter of fact, I was able to sit down with their tuition coordinator that day.  I paid a $25 admissions fee that is refundable if it turns out we just won't be able to make this work.  The $25 puts me on the waiting list for January and locks in the tuition, which makes me wonder if LCB will change the costs to me when I go back to meet with them.

Why am I still considering LCB?  Because they offer a couple of classes not offered at CAA.  Because the certification program at LCB is less expensive, but I need to compare the class lists and program outlines, there may be fewer classes.

And, I'm somewhat ashamed to say, because it's Le Cordon Bleu.  However, I'm mostly going to see the tuition planner there to verify my suspicions about their financing/costs.

Scott and I are going to need to crunch some numbers and talk to some friends about watching my children the mornings that I am in classes.

But, I need to make sure that my priorities are in order.  First on the list:  make pie.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If you want to learn to do any specific hairstyle, search for it on Youtube.  The video site is a treasure trove of hair and make-up tutorials.


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