The New England Culinary Institute
Small classes and hands-on experience
The New England Culinary Institute is a cooking school based in Montpelier, Vermont. It was founded in 1980 and has grown from an initial enrollment of only seven students to become one of the top cooking schools in the nation. Today, more than 500 students are enrolled in a program at the New England Culinary Institute. A second campus, located in Essex Junction, Vermont, started operating in 1989.
The curriculum at the New England Culinary Institute is centered around the idea of "learning by doing." Students are placed into situations that mimic those in a real life kitchen environment. In fact, the New England Culinary Institute operates several restaurants, bakeries and catering services in the Montpelier and Essex Junction areas, and students have the chance to get hands on experience working in them. Up to 75 percent of each student’s class time is spent preparing and cooking food for public consumption in one of the Institute’s production kitchens.
Classes at the New England Culinary Institute are kept very small, ensuring that each student receives ample personal attention. The ratio of students to teachers is roughly seven to one, which is far better than most other cooking schools in the country. There’s a limit of ten students in each production class at the New England Culinary Institute.
The New England Culinary Institute offers certificate and Associate’s degree programs in culinary arts, baking & pastry arts, and hospitality and restaurant management. Graduates of these programs have the option of continuing on into the Institute’s one and a half year Bachelor’s degree program in Hospitality and Restaurant Management. The Institute also offers some courses online, including classes in cooking theory and food science, history, flavor and culture, nutrition, sustainable harvest and sanitation.
Financial aid is available for students who meet minimum qualification standards.
The most famous person to ever graduate from the New England Culinary Institute is probably Alton Brown, a commentator on the television program Iron Chef America. His background is actually in film, and he attended the school as a means of learning the culinary skills necessary in order to produce a truly great cooking show for television.