The French Culinary Institute
A preeminent New York cooking school
The French Culinary Institute was founded in 1984 in New York City’s trendy SoHo district. Today, it’s considered by many to be one of the top cooking schools in the world. Graduates of the French Culinary Institute are employed at some of the nation’s most prestigious restaurants.
Students at the French Culinary Institute get an education that’s broken down into four basic levels. First, students are taught what the institute officially considers to be the 250 main competencies required for success in Western cuisine. Next, students practice these competencies by working in a kitchen environment, preparing food that’ll be eaten by the school’s faculty and staff. After this, students move on to complete their final two stages working at one of the six locations of the official restaurant of the French Culinary Institute, called "L’École" (which, accordingly, translates to "the school").
In addition to a culinary arts program, the French Culinary Institute also offers programs in pastry arts and bread baking. The school has recently expanded the scope of its course offerings, now offering students the chance to take courses in Italian cuisine (including the opportunity to go on an exchange to Italy). Single courses and clinics are also offered for students not interested in pursuing a full certificate program.
Low cost housing that’s only a short subway ride away from the school is available for students from outside of New York City who need to relocate in order to attend classes. Apartments on Roosevelt Island and in Brooklyn Heights are available on a first come, first serve basis.
Those who wish to enroll don’t need to wait long before they can begin, since new classes start every six weeks. Prospective students don’t need anything more than a high- school education in order to apply. Previous culinary experience is an asset, but isn’t required.
Classes have an average student to teacher ratio of twelve to one, so each student has plenty of room to practice his or her skills. It’s possible to graduate in a mere six months, or nine months if you choose to work during the day and go to school at night.