Why Attend C-School in NYC?

A friend of mine who is considering culinary school recently asked me a question that I think passes through the minds of many perspective students: should I go to culinary school in New York? In short: yes. But let me tell you why.

There are, of course, cons. New York is an expensive place to live, and even if you're eating $1 slices and pilfering peanuts during happy hour, the cost of rent alone will put a dent in your pocketbook. Culinary schools themselves tend to be more expensive here for the same rent reason. And it's a competitive place, which is a reality check to those used to being the top dog in the kitchen. But overall, it's a fabulous place to be a culinary student for the following reasons (and any other NYC culinary students or grads, please add your own thoughts!)

It sounds like I'm parroting The FCI website, but it's true: living and learning in America's culinary capital is a great advantage. You may not have the money to dine at Jean Georges, but there's always the more important opportunity to stage there (or in whatever restaurant you admire). New Yorkers live and breathe food, so there's the opportunity to learn wherever you go. You can peruse gourmet and green markets for exciting foodstuffs, check out expansive kitchen stores, go to a lecture or demonstration by a well-known chef or attend one of the many food-oriented events that occur weekly (check out Time Out New York for listings). While some of this involves spending extra cash, there are many that are free and open to the public.

I mentioned that New Yorkers are passionate about their food, which means they are also picky about it. Whether it be haute cuisine or hot dogs, Manhattanites don't settle for mediocrity. For a culinary student, this means top notch foodstuffs to practice with. It also instills a strong kitchen ethic if you're working at a culinary school restaurant like The FCI's L'Ecole. If you're cooking food that's good enough for New Yorkers, you're cooking food that's good enough for anyone.

Testing the Waters
The New York culinary scene is an exciting place to be, but it's not for everyone. Once you're a culinary student here, you get a glimpse into what it's all about by talking to chefs, fellow cooks and even working or interning yourself. Working in a respectable NYC kitchen provides tremendous experience and a little star appeal, but the hours are longer and the pay less than, say, the best restaurant in Orlando. By going to school here, you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want to join the Manhattan cooking brigade.

Once you decide you want to work in a New York kitchen after graduation, it's much easier since you're already here. This may sound obvious, but it’s a truth that some overlook. You can go do a stage in a kitchen to see if you'll fit well in the environment. You can eat in the restaurant to see how well the front of the house operates. And most importantly, you'll have an in through your school. The French Culinary Institute is fantastic for networking, but I've heard similar things about the other NYC culinary institutions. Beyond the stellar career services office, most of my chef instructors made their careers in the NYC restaurant scene, and could give advice or make recommendations about the various spots. And if you're an impressive student, they may be willing to help hook you up with a job.

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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.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • 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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            • 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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            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
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            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

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            • 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.
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            • 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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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Transferable Credits