Saturday, August 28, 2010

Top 10 Culinary Schools In Europe

So far we have covered the best in the US and Canada but we haven't touched on Europe yet, so here it is. Hope this lists helps narrow it down in your search for a culinary arts education.

1. Menfi
Cookery writer Maxine Clark happily admits she loves Sicily more than any other part of Italy and it shows in the enthusiasm and wealth of local knowledge she brings to the courses she teaches in Menfi. Sicilian food is an earthy and exotic mix of European and Arab influences . Staples such as pizza and home-made pasta are also tackled, with Maxine exhorting her students to 'knead the dough from cellulite to a baby's bottom'.The week-long course takes place in the romantic setting of the eighteenth- century Villa Ravidá, the private home of a grand Sicilian family who now produce award-winning extra virgin olive oil. Early evening cocktails are served in the villa's elegant drawing room, which is decorated with faded frescoes and meals are eaten outdoors with unlimited supplies of Sicilian wine.

2. Finca Buen Vino
through Pata Negra cooking schools
Pata Negra are the cooking schools to go to in Spain. They run a whole tranche of courses featuring Sam and Sam of Moro fame to Michelin chef Luis Irizar, who holds his school at the northern Spanish town of San Sebastian.
However, I went high up in the mountains of Andalucia to the beautiful, comforting home - Finca Buen Vino - of Sam and Jeannie Chesterton, for their week-long cookery course. It all takes place in the Chestertons' house. You sleep there, eat there and cook there, round Jeannie's kitchen table. Included in the trip is a day out to Jerez to drink sherry and eat, and many trips into the local pretty towns. We went to a jamon festival but the finca also produced its own Serrano ham, chestnuts, olives and scented honey.

3. Le Marmiton
Avignon, France 
Right next to the Pope's palace in Avignon is the hotel La Mirande, an austere building in a quiet cobbled square. Throughout the year the hotel runs intimate cookery classes in their nineteenth-century kitchen, where noted local chefs pass on their tips to beginners and serious food appreciators. Le Marmiton (a chef's assistant) puts on morning, afternoon and evening classes for a maximum of 12 people. I was booked in to a morning class. The smell of the wood-burning stove filled the kitchen and around a table sat 12 local food fanatics salivating at the thought of being trained by Christian Etienne, a Michelin-starred Avignon chef. I was lucky to be in a class with Christian because, although he spoke no English and my French is less than perfect, his charisma communicated everything. Christian's speciality is tomatoes. He loves them, and our starter, main, and even our pudding included tomatoes (green ones, on a tart). Our task was mainly to watch and appreciate a master at work, but we all helped out (there was a lot of de-seeding to do). The meal was accompanied by fine wine and a chorus of 'Ooh la la' from all the particpants. It was one of the best meals of my life.

4. Vallicorte
Tuscany, Italy
This is exactly what you need from a course: a good group of people (the organisers try hard to match age groups, nationalities etc), a charismatic, enthusiastic instructor (the wonderful, dark-haired siren Ursula Ferrigno) and a pair of hosts who should be given their own television show (no one comes as amusing or as informative as John and Berenice Bonnallack). As soon as I got there it was as if I had reached paradise. The sun was shining, the garden was full and plentiful and Ursula could reach parts of you - cooking wise - that you didn't know could be reached. Most students stay in the ancient villa (fully modernised inside) and then gather at the former barn-turned- cookery school for a morning session, then lunch and a siesta, followed by an afternoon session. Ursula, being Ursula, does not stick rigidly to the recipe pack we were given. That is not how she cooks. 'Ooh,' she'll say, 'let's make rosemary and apple cake!' and off you go. I made pasta! I even learnt how to chop properly. But more than that, I learnt how easy it is to love Tuscany and wish to remain in its beautiful sun-dappled hills for the rest of your life armed with a good bottle of oil, some fresh tomatoes and a bottle of Vino Santo.

5. Gualtiero Marchesi's Gourmet Cookery School
L'Albereta, Italy
Marchesi is a three-star chef so, if you wish to learn from a master, then this is the right course for you. There is no way that you, I, or anybody - apart from Gordon Ramsay, Raymond Blanc, Marcus Wareing, Marco et al - could ever learn to cook to the standard of Marchesi's three-day course.This man produces food I can barely pronounce, let alone emulate. But that is not the point of the course. It is a lesson in which you look and learn but do not necessarily do it yourself. In the meantime, between watching the maestro and feeling depressed at your own incompetence, you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the hotel (a spa is opening soon) and drink copious amounts of their Bellavista 'bubbles'. Gualtiero is the consummate chef and he immerses you in the heart and soul of Italy. Included in the course are two guided tours of local vineyards, three nights, breakfast and lunch and three dinners.

6. L'Ecole de Cuisine
Bordeaux, France
L'Ecole de Cuisine is run from the bowels of one of France's most historic and celebrated restaurants, Le Chapon Fin. Owned by the Cazes family - proprietors of the Lynch-Bages wine estate - the cookery side is designed and overseen by Michelin two-star chef, Thierry Marx. Run in English and French, it is open to amateurs and professionals alike. A sommelier is on hand to demonstrate wine and food harmony, and the course concentrates on typical south-western cooking, with a bias towards Marx's terre et estuaire (land and estuary) cuisine. It takes place at Le Chapon Fin from Tuesday to Saturday. Lunch or dinner are included.

7. Cooking with Stavros
Symi, Greece
Stavros Gogios is chef and owner of Mythos, the best restaurant on the small Greek island of Symi which specialises in traditional medézhes (essentially a Greek version of tapas) with a modern twist. Persuaded to share his recipes by holiday company Laskarina, Stavros now runs week-long cooking demonstrations in his restaurant kitchen.
On the first morning of my week Stavros took us for a walk through the picturesque harbour town of Symi, introducing us to his father-in-law Yannis, who sells dried herbs gathered from the local hills, and then showing us the greengrocer, baker and butcher where he buys his fresh produce. He taught us how to make stifádho (beef stew with tomatoes and onions), spanokópitta (spinach and cheese pie) and baklava (a layered filo pie with honey and nuts) as well as the other, more experimental dishes he's become known for - feta mousse, squid in basil sauce and courgette parcels stuffed with mushrooms. 'I think that cooking is a bit of fantasy - a way of expressing yourself,' said Stavros as he filled everyone's glasses up again.

8. Casa Ombuto
Tuscany, Italy
High in the hills of the Casentino valley, 50km south of Florence is Casa Ombuto - an amazing house with a swimming pool and views to die for. Michele, interpreter and frontman, and his wife Carla, one of the most respected chefs in Tuscany run the inspiring seven- day cookery course, held in the cave-like cantina of the villa.
I tried everything from basic pasta-making to a delicous wild boar in tomato and herb dish. I had a day's excursion which ended in the most stunning restaurant for dinner, and a day free to view the surrounding wildlife or visit Florence. The other five days are for cooking, which starts at 3pm.This course suits those who are keen to learn with little experience to those established cooks looking to broaden their tastes and techniques.

9. Promenades Gourmandes with Paule Caillet
Paris, France
This is a non-residential cookery course designed to be slotted into a weekend, or long visit to Paris. You could just about do it on Eurostar for the day. It's a terrific way of discovering the food underbelly of the city, as the Cordon Bleu chef and guide, Paule Caillat, leads the class round markets, butchers, the kitchens at the Hotel de Crillo, truffle and herb shops. You then return to Caillat's kitchen in the Marais and cook up your shopping. Katie Lee

10. Refúgio da Vila
Portel, Alentejo, Portugal
'The richness of our food comes from the poverty of our people,' says Miguel Amaral, head chef at the elegant Refúgio da Vila hotel in Portel, in southern Portugal. The Alentejo is one of the most traditional and poorest regions of Portugal, a land of wheat fields and olive groves - two of the ingredients which form the basics of the region's cuisine along with herbs, rabbit, pork and eggs. As Miguel says, local recipes, such as coelho á carvoeiro (rabbit and tomato stew) have been improvised to turn staple foodstuffs into tasty meals. Polly Roger Brown

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Review of Le Cordon Bleu

So out of my own curiosity of what others had to say about this prestigious school, I took it upon myself to do a little research and share with you what I came across. I believe like with any other major decision in your life you should really research and find out if the is truly what you want to do and if it's the right decision for you. With all that said let me now fill you in on the juicy findings.

I am sure everyone and his brother has heard about Le Cordon Bleu culinary school and how awesome this is school is suppose to be. But is it all its cracked up to be?

First let me answer the burning question I am sure all of you are thinking right now, how much is this going to cost me? You will be surprised to hear the answer as was I.
Average tuition: $24,541 of course this number will fluctuate depending on where you will plan on attending.  One student wrote and said "Everything needed to pursue my cooking is provided by my school. From uniforms to all cooking necessities." which lets be honest, should be provided. I mean if it's not, what's all that tuition money going towards, am I right? Anyways, more brownie points for Le Cordon Bleu. If you are looking for real life cooking situations then this is a great place to find yourself. Le Cordon Bleu has a restaurant that is ran by the students. If you are considering attending Le Cordon Bleu and you live near one of their restaurants or find yourself traveling close to one, you should stop by and have a bite to eat, check it out, see how the food is, and see how its ran. You will have a better idea of what to expect by doing so. When eating at one of the restaurants you can expect to pay around $20.00 for a three course meal. Not bad right?

Wondering some famous names that attended? Well, here goes the list.
Julia Childs attended in the late 1940's

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Getting On The Right Track To A Culinary Career

Along your journey through life you had a desire to be a chef of some sorts whether it is a pastry chef, head chef, sou chef, restaurant owner or manager, or maybe just to attain the knowledge to be the best cook, or maybe you just really love food but need to know how to create it yourself. Whatever your reasons are the only way to get to that point will be by attending a culinary school to get to be one of the best chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali to name just a couple, you will need to attend a top notch culinary school.

The greatest way to learn about food is by traveling to different countries and trying and seeing  the different variations and cooking methods of the particular countries food and by tasting the flavors of that countries food. If you don't have the opportunity to do that, you will learn a lot of great things by attending a top culinary school. Some of the best places to train to become a great chef can be found in France, Italy, Canada and the United States to name just a few.

When attending a culinary school you will learn knife techniques, food preparation, you will learn a lot about meat such as the cuts and proper cooking temperatures, cooking vocabulary, the attire you need to wear and why you need to wear the attire, you will learn the art and the science of preparing foods. While attending culinary school  you will learn all the necessary skills you need to help you succeed. Another great thing about culinary schools, and also a very important thing you will acquire while attending are the connections by networking with the right people.

If you have what it takes to stand the heat of the kitchen and not get burned along the way so to speak, you will definitely succeed in whatever direction you decide to take yourself in your culinary career, whether it's working at a top notch restaurant or bakery, owning your own restaurant or bakery, or maybe you just would like to make fabulous meals for your friends and family, whatever direction you take yourself in, with the right education at the right school you will surely do great.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Top 10 Culinary Schools

top 10 culinary schools,top culinary schools 

So you want to be a master at the art of food? Whether you want to become a sous-chef, head chef or a pastry chef, you will have to attend a culinary school of some sort. So we are going to look over the Top 10 Culinary Schools in the United States and Canada. You don't want to attend just any old school because you are setting out for success at being the best chef possible and you cannot do that without the proper training. Going to a top culinary schools will surely set you in the right direction. Becoming a chef is a career that will always have work available to you. Like being a doctor, nurse,or lawyer someone will always need a doctor, a doctor will always need a nurse, and in a lot of cases a patient will need a lawyer. Do you know what all these have in common? All of them need to eat at some point every single day. Why shouldn't it be you to provide them with your delightful dishes? If you don't get proper training from a good culinary school then your dishes may not be delightful and you more than likely won't have people coming back for more. 
So, let us now take a look at the top 10 culinary schools out there.

1. Culinary Institute of America - Hyde Park, New York
Landing in the number one spot for our Top 10 Culinary Schools in the Culinary Institute of America. 
Here you'll develop a broad base of knowledge, a confidence in your skills, and the fluency to move successfully into the career that's absolutely right for you.

2. The French Culinary Institute of New York City - New York City, New York
 Train with the best, you can start classes almost anytime you would like, you train at in one of the best cities in the world for cuisine, the classes are small in size which allows for more hands on and intense training, you can expect to graduate within 6-9 months, you will cook in a real restaurant, you will acquire some powerful connections, accredited.

3. Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute - Ottawa, Ontario 
Specializing in the French cuisine and offering short classes and evening demos you are sure to learn great things here. It was the first school to have opened outside of Paris, France in 1988. You will certainly get great recognition going to such a prestigious school.

4. Johnson & Wales University - Four Campuses to Choose From
Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University is a non-profit school offering four campuses around the United States. Class sizes are kept small, so you’ll learn one-on-one from accomplished chef-instructors in modern production kitchens.You will also learn integrated front-of-house curriculum, you’ll learn the practical and managerial skills to run your own food-related business.You will also have hands on training working in local hot spot restaurants. 

5. New England Culinary Institute - Montpelier, Vermont
At this school, restaurants are the class room. Students are expected to perform under real life working conditions. New England Culinary Institute will give you the hands-on experience you need and a professional degree to kick your career in the right direction toward success.

6. Le Cordon Bleu California Culinary Academy - Many locations to choose from
Train with professional chef instructors, managers, and other culinary professionals. You will use modern current equipment and techniques, and get a hands-on education from an accredited school designed to help you prepare for a professional career in the culinary field.

7. L'Academie de Cuisine - Gaithersburg, Maryland
Learn how to apply classic French techniques to world-wide cuisine from renowned professional chefs. Founded in 1976 by Francois Dionot. As a result of his culinary experience, Dionot became firmly convinced that simple technique and dedicated practice are the true keys to the success of kitchen professionals. L’Academie is divided into two schools: one for students pursuing a professional culinary or pastry arts career and one for recreational students who simply enjoy cooking and want to improve their culinary skills.

8. Tante Marie's Cooking School - San Francisco, California
Most of the classes offered are Participation Courses where you cook with the other students; and, a few are  Guest Chef Demonstrations where you watch the instructor do the cooking. In addition to offering Professional Courses for people wanting to begin a career in Culinary or Pastry, Tante Marie's welcomes interested avocational students in the Evening Series, Weekend Workshops, One-Day Workshops and Cooking Vacations. At Tante Marie's the students cook every day under the guidance of the Chef and taste the food they have prepared. The emphasis is on mastering the important techniques, understanding the theory, and learning how good food should taste. If you are looking for a school that has small classes so there is more one on one training involved then Tante Marie's is a great choice.

9. Kendall College - Chicago, Illinois 
Attain the real-world skills it takes to succeed in an exciting career in Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry, Hospitality Management at Kendall College.  At Kendall College you could be on your way to earning an Associate or Bachelor degree or a certificate in Baking and Pastry, Professional Catering, Professional Personal Chef and Professional Cookery. You will also receive customized career counseling for your needs and learn the interviewing skills, job negotiation tactics, resume writing, and other skills to help after you have graduated.

10. George Brown Chef School - Toronto, Ontario
Our Top 10 Culinary Schools list ends with George Brown Chef School. You can work toward qualification at the apprentice, certificate, diploma, and post-diploma level. Special Culinary Connect certificates and workshops offer convenient opportunities for lifelong professional development. The Chef School also offers specialized industry certificate programs for those currently in the workforce seeking upgrading or further training. 85% of the graduates of George Brown Chef School were employed within 6 months of graduating the course. The Chef School focuses on creating the best cooks, chefs, bakers, and pastry chefs.

With all of these prestigious schools in mind there is something here for almost anyone's budget, location, desired class size, and these Top 10 Culinary Schools provide some of the best training to be found. 
I hope you found the information in this blog useful in your search towards a culinary education.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

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