The American Side of FCI

There are many things about The French Culinary Institute that are very French. The cooking terms and techniques are French, many of the instructors are from France and most dishes contain "a little bit of butter," as one chef liked to say as she added an entire stick to the pan. Yet I didn't realize how American in nature The FCI was until I was interviewed by Veronique Radier of the popular French weekly magazine, Le Nouvel Observateur.

I was interviewed by Ms. Radier when she visited The French Culinary Institute over the summer, and remembered our conversation when someone pointed out that I was quoted in Le Nouvel Observateur ’s article, "A la 'Chef Academy' de New York." The article features The FCI as a training facility equal in price and prestige to an American business or medical school, and emphasizes much of what has become un-newsworthy in an American publication: the celebrity status of cooks in America, the lofty dreams of culinary students and the financial success of culinary schools. In the article, I was described as a "petite brune petillante," a.k.a "a small, brown-haired, effervescent girl," who is getting a master's degree from Columbia University and has dreams of being a food writer. A student like myself probably wouldn't interest an American magazine. But in France, attending a costly culinary school with two academic degrees is still news.

As Ms. Radier and I talked in FCI's comfortable, brightly lit student lounge, she explained that the attitude towards cooks, and of cooks, is entirely different in French culture. She said that cooking was widely viewed as a secondary profession, a job that someone would do if they didn't have the smarts to be a lawyer or doctor. The current American mentality towards cooks is often one of respect and even reverence. In comparison, it lacks the celebrity appeal in France, a fact that fails to attract young people entering the profession or applying to French culinary academies. Because of this, Ms. Radier worried about the future of French cuisine in France without a new generation of leaders.

I'm grateful for my degree from FCI, and as someone who loves to cook, for the American mentality towards cooks. It's often a profession of social misfits and debaucherous party persons, but among those, there are many hard workers and even artists. We’re lucky to be considered among the ranks of the creative, eccentric work force that gives color (and taste) to our society.

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            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.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • 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.
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            • Received the 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).
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            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
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            • First opened its doors in 1980 as the Academy of Medical Art and Business.
            • Students can choose from a variety of diploma or degree programs, as well as continuing education courses.
            • Provides programs in massage therapy, dental assisting, criminal justice, cake decorating, and more.
            • 7.5 acre campus is located in the foothills of Blue Mountain, north of Harrisburg, PA.
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            L'Ecole Culinaire , Saint Louis
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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            • A contemporary, career-focused institution of higher education dedicated to excellence since 1902.
            • Has academic advising that provides students someone to answer questions and provide guidance.
            • Offers scholarships for qualifying military members, adult learners, as well as program-specific scholarships.
            • Provides tutoring services to help students master any assignments that give them trouble.
            • Gives students the option to study online, at one of the 12 campuses in Indiana or Ohio, or a combination of both.
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            • Accredited
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