FCI: Beyond an Appetizing Presentation

Hello, and welcome to my first post on Chef2Chef! I'm currently in Level 4 of the Classic Culinary Arts Program at the French Culinary Institute, and only two months from receiving my graduation toque. For more about me and my culinary background, please check out my bio.

If you're one of the readers of this blog other than my mother (who may be the only reader), you're probably considering the FCI. In an attempt to be helpful, I want to write about a serious question I had when applying to the school. Most of the research I did about the program was done online from my office in the Virgin Islands. It was a painful process, but only because fire ants invaded my keyboard to find warmth in the AC. The FCI’s website was actually a pleasure – clear information, easy to navigate, and fun animation. The only sticker was, it was a bit too good. I wondered, does the FCI live up to its own hype?

For those of you that have visited the FCI's web page, you know that the school can market itself. For one, it conveys star allure. A mini Marcus Samuelsson, Dan Barber or Donatella Arpaia pops up on the home page and begins praising the school. You figure they must be right, as images of smiling students in their very white whites are abundant on the site. And then there is the claim that you emerge "fully-trained" in 6-9 months. I felt the same way I did about the AbTronic ("tones without any effort on your part!"). I wanted it to be true, but was skeptical of anything that good.

As it turns out, the FCI isn't the AbTronic of culinary schools. I knew that the school was even better than its web image after my first visit, and certainly after my first class. I have yet to see Marcus Samuelsson, but the school's own culinary stars like Deans Jacques Pepin and Alain Sailhac are frequently in the class kitchens mingling with students (not to mention all of the great chefs featured in demonstrations). The students are a little scrubbier after 6-hour classes than those on the site, but the majority of them are genuinely happy to be here. And most importantly, the assertion that graduates are kitchen-ready by the end of the program is accurate. Of course, it depends upon the student, his abilities in the kitchen and commitment to learn. But between the high quality of the chef instructors, the thorough curriculum and the school's amazing connections, one is set up for an exciting culinary future.

As for the AbTronic, I'm still waiting for a refund….

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
            • Has student housing available.
            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
            Show more [+]
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            4 Program(s) Found
            The Chef's Academy , Morrisville
            • Listed on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
            • Offers intern and externship placement assistance for real-world experience.
            • Offers programs in culinary arts, pastry arts, and hospitality & restaurant management.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF).
            • 2 campus locations in Indianapolis, Indiana and Morrisville, North Carolina.
            Show more [+]
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
            Show more [+]