On Chang and more

One of the French Culinary Institute's most well known alums (and definitely the most popular in New York at the moment) is David Chang. His three restaurants (Momofuku Noodle Bar, Ssam Bar and Ko) and a recently open dessert shop are all food writers can seem to talk about these days. They rave about the Asian dishes delivered with French sensibilities and techniques coming out of Chang's kitchen at (relatively) affordable prices.

Last night a friend visiting from Texas and I decided to try out Ssam Bar.

For my friend it was culinary bliss; she could never eat as well in Houston on most days. For me, I was more intrigued by the menu as we noshed on oysters with a kimchi consomme, fried Brussels sprouts (with mint, scallions and a fish sauce vinaigrette), poached cod and of course, Chang's popular steam buns (full of slabs of pork belly).

I dissected the dishes with what I've learned so far in three months of culinary school. The scallions were perfectly julienned, the consomme was obviously clarified a few times over and the French techniques the FCI emphasizes were on obvious display.

It made me wonder: how far am I from being prepared to work in a professional kitchen? Some days it seems completely plausible and on others, I wonder if I want to be on my feet for 12 hours a day in a cramped kitchen.

But sitting on our high top stools in Ssam Bar at 1 a.m. on a Saturday with a packed restaurant overlooking the East Village crowds, I knew the guests enjoyed the food and dining experience. It's just another reason I love food.

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            Culinary Arts (AS)
            • Program areas include Culinary Arts, Culinary Management, and more
            • Students are taught cooking styles from around the globe, including Classical European, Asian, and Latin cuisine
            • Curriculum designed to prepare students for a career as a chef, with course topics that include Culinary Techniques, Management by Menu, and Nutrition
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Intensive Sommelier Training
            • 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
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            Culinary Arts
            • 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.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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            Culinary Arts Specialist
            • A part of the Select Education Group (SEG).
            • Offers several scholarship and financial aid opportunities for students who qualify.
            • California campuses accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), and accreditation for the Salem campus from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
            • 4 Campuses located in Clovis, Modesto, and Redding in California, and Salem, Oregon.
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            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits