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Cordon Bleu Alum Wins $217,000 Settlement Against Culinary School

Cordon Bleu Alum Wins $217,000 Settlement Against Culinary School

A private arbitrator awarded a former student after she claimed the school committed fraud

The famous culinary school will have to pay more than $200,000 to the former student.

The first of more than 1,000 lawsuits filed against Pasadena's Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts has been settled, awarding claimant Anna Berkowitz and her father Martin $217,000.

According to Pasadena Now, arbitrator Samuel G. Jackson found that Le Cordon Bleu committed fraud when recruiting Berkowitz from high school, convincing her to borrow some $40,000 to pay for tuition. Berkowitz claims the school told her the degree would make her a "shoe-in" for a job as a pastry chef, with a starting salary of $75,000.

Berkowitz is the first of the lawsuits to be settled; other claims allege that Le Cordon Bleu was running a fraudulent scheme convincing students that if they borrowed between $30,000 to $50,000 and completed the school, all students would immediately find a job as a chef upon graduation with annual salaries between $40,000 to $80,000, thus easily paying off their student loans.

The claimants allege that the school knew these advertising claims were false; upon graduation students would only make $10 to $12 an hour and have to work their way up to $14 and $15 an hour, making it difficult to pay off their loans.

LA Weekly reports that Le Cordon Bleu has issued a statement, intending to challenge the arbitrator's award and claiming that $150,000 of the $217,000 was given to Berkowitz's attorneys, which is not permitted. The school also claims it "never misrepresented potential career outcomes to our students," also claiming that Berkowitz and her father signed "multiple documents affirming that no representations of any kind were made to her regarding salaries or job outcomes."


Culinary Students Vie in Culinary Clash

Throughout the month of February and March, Michael Jordan&rsquos Steakhouse and Le Cordon Bleu Chicago partner for what is essentially the American Idol of culinary school competitions, the Culinary Clash. Said clash marks one of the most elaborate competitions and scholarship efforts to date for Le Cordon Bleu. The multi-tiered event that allows culinary students to vie for a chance to cook alongside Michael Jordan&rsquos Steakhouse&rsquos executive sous chef Craig Couper and have their menu featured at the Mag Mile restaurant.

As students submit menus and recipes through February, three finalists will be selected to cook at the meat-tastic restaurant at some point in March. Students&rsquo meals will be judged by Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell a panel of hotel execs, food writers, local personalities, and guests at the restaurant. There are no losers in this competition, except of course for the ones who don&rsquot proceed to the Ultimate Culinary Clash in San Francisco on May 15. But regardless, participating finalists receive cash prizes for scholarships, so no one walks away empty-handed. The one who wins the whole prize, competing against four other students from across North America, earns additional scholarship cred and their school receives a monetary donation.

For now, submissions from students are judged on relativity to Michael Jordan&rsquos Steakhouse&rsquos style and cuisine. Couper picks out the top six contenders to throw down in a culinary challenge, Top Chef-style. The top three move on to cook at the restaurant, while the runners up serve as sous chefs.

Michael Jordan's Steakhouse
505 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
(312) 321-8823
Website


To School or Not To School? That is the (Culinary) Question - Part Three

(Editor's Note: This is the third installment of Jenny Agnew's series on the culinary industry. The first two segments were published in Relish here and here.)

If you’ve read about for-profit schools like The University of Phoenix lately, you probably know something about the growing controversy surrounding such institutions. For-profit culinary schools, which are often referred to as “factories,” are plagued by the same issues. Part of the problem has to do with accreditation (how it was acquired, and, with online classes in particular, where the accreditation originates) and another part stems from funding. According to Andrew Leonard, writing for Salon, “around 70-80 percent of for-profit revenues are generated by federal student loans.” Moreover, a larger number of students who attended for-profit schools default on loans compared to their not-for-profit-graduated peers. In the last few years, for-profit culinary schools have come under investigation for misleading potential students and the public alike regarding graduation and job-placement rates.

In his Lucky Peach article, Wilson summarizes some of the controversy surrounding for-profit culinary schools, many of which are owned by two Fortune-1000 companies: Career Education Corporation, which owns the Le Cordon Bleu schools in the US, and Education Management Corporation, which owns the Art Institutes. “For these corporations, culinary schools are a gateway into federal aid dollars,” Wilson writes, illustrating how culinary for-profits in particular remain lucrative cash flows for their parent companies.

As Kris Janik discussed his experience at Le Cordon Bleu in Portland, he recalled that another Portland culinary school, the Western Culinary Institute, was on the radar for promising students non-existent jobs upon graduation. Several years later, in 2009, a class-action lawsuit was filed against the school by students claiming they couldn’t find the jobs promised them. Another class-action lawsuit filed in 2007 against the California Cooking Academy, owned by Career Education Corporation, settled last year for $40 million, with the corporation claiming no wrongdoing. Chronicle of Higher Education reporter Kelly Fields explains of the suit: “The college reported [job-placement] rates between 75 and 96 percent for its culinary-arts and baking programs, but didn't disclose that a majority of graduates were working not as chefs, as they had been promised, but as prep and line cooks—minimum-wage jobs they could have obtained without a degree.” While these students will receive up to $20,000 in refunds should the judge approve the settlement, according to SF Weekly writer, Matt Smith, “The reality is that regulatory tweaks and lawsuit nips won't do much to alter an industry that receives $20 billion in annual revenue, most of it in the form of federal grants and loans, and then spends much of it on deceptive marketing, as well as on campaign donations and lobbying to ensure minimal regulation and a continued flow of government funds.”

What’s a potential culinary student to do? The CIA’s web site offers one solution: go there because it’s not-for-profit. Since the school “directs the financial resources it receives right back into its education mission,” as stated on the site, its students purportedly reap the benefits of those resources and a transparent admissions process that does not rely on fraudulent promises. One cannot forget that near $50,000 price tag attached to the CIA, however.

Another solution, according to Ronald Holden, writing for Crosscut, is the community college, which he argues, “provide[s] a respectable, well-rounded culinary education, and not just ‘knife skills.’” Perhaps the greatest reason to attend a community college program, Holden claims, is the cost, which is often considerably less than other schools. That claim bears truth locally as was already expressed in part one of this series.

Locally, potential students will have another culinary school to choose from beginning in July when the The Art Institute of St. Louis, a for-profit, opens in St. Charles. When asked if the St. Louis area can support a fifth culinary school, David Hofmann, Campus Director, said yes. Hofmann went on to acknowledge that student debt for all students—not just those in culinary school—is at the forefront of people’s conversations, and the new school is prepared to advise students every step of the way on “having a sense of ownership in [their] education.” Moreover, Hofmann made an important distinction between job placement and job assistance: the school will help students find jobs but cannot place them in those positions. Finally, students will learn from professionals in the field that options other than owning a restaurant exist for culinary grads, ultimately giving them more avenues toward employment upon graduation.

Choosing a college or university is a decision that’s neither easy nor lightly made especially in this economy. For those in the hospitality industry, the choices prove even more difficult: seek out employment in a kitchen or go to culinary school? If school, which one? Regardless of which school one attends, the reality of beginning chefs’ low salaries means that one will be paying off loans for a long time. Betty Hallock from the LA Times, for example, reports that according to data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “the mean annual wage of a restaurant cook is $21,990.” Perhaps some of the scrutiny aimed at for-profit culinary schools should be turned toward the culinary industry in general and the media, which, in our current celebrity-obsessed culture, perpetuates myths about high salaries, fame, and instant success for beginning chefs.


Some up-and-coming chefs are skipping culinary school

Cole Dickinson, the chef de cuisine at Michael Voltaggio’s soon-to-open West Hollywood restaurant, Ink, got his culinary education the old-fashioned way: in the kitchen.

That might sound obvious, but it makes him something of an anomaly as the number of culinary schools multiplies, drawing legions of novice cooks with the promise of turning them into top chefs.

Yet the less-touted, less-glamorized path of working one’s way up through the restaurant kitchen ranks is starting to sound more appealing. At a time when for-profit professional cooking schools are coming under more scrutiny, some of L.A.'s rising chefs — like Dickinson — are succeeding without ever having stepped into the classroom.

For-profit schools across the country are facing a flurry of lawsuits claiming fraud they’re accused of misleading students about tuition costs, job placement rates and how much they’ll earn after graduating.

The cautionary tale of a would-be chef goes like this: A starry-eyed youth dreams of helming a restaurant kitchen and enrolls in a $60,000 culinary program but upon graduation still qualifies only for a job as a $10.50-an-hour line cook and struggles to work off crippling school loans that, with interest, can balloon to nearly $100,000. Dream crushed.

Meanwhile, Dickinson has a coveted gig at one of L.A.'s most hotly anticipated restaurants. He was a 17-year-old bussing tables for Charlie Palmer in Healdsburg, Calif., when he first considered culinary school. “I didn’t have the money. I had a single mom,” Dickinson says, “so I got it in my head that I’d ask Charlie if he’d sponsor me and I’d come back and work for him. He basically said, ‘Don’t be an idiot. Work for me for a couple of years and I’ll get you in wherever you want to go.’

In a year and a half, I’d worked my way around every station of that kitchen. I don’t regret not going to culinary school at all.”

Besides his time with Palmer, Dickinson, now 27, worked at the Fat Duck in England, for Laurent Gras at L2O in Chicago, then for Voltaggio at the Tavern Room in West Virginia and at José Andrés’ Bazaar in Los Angeles.

In interviews with a dozen chefs and restaurateurs, few recommended culinary school none said it was necessary. “We get asked all the time,” says Karen Hatfield, who, along with her husband, Quinn, owns Hatfield’s in Los Angeles. “Quinn and I don’t recommend it to anybody ever. It’s such a huge financial burden now.” (She went to cooking school he didn’t.) And yet all but one of the restaurant’s kitchen staff of about 15 attended culinary school.

Palmer, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., who grew an empire out of his Manhattan restaurant Aureole, isn’t so adamant. He advocates cooking school “if the person has the resources. But there’s an enormous range as far as the quality of cooking schools. It’s something especially younger students don’t really understand.”

Even at well-regarded not-for-profit colleges, such as the C.I.A., it might not make economic sense. A two-year associate’s degree program at the Culinary Institute of America costs $50,000. A bachelor’s degree is more than $100,000. According to the latest data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of a restaurant cook is $21,990. (That’s about one-third the cost of tuition for the culinary arts program at the for-profit Art Institute of California in Santa Monica.)

“Is it true that graduates [have to] pay their dues?” says Bruce Hillenbrand, vice president responsible for admissions at the C.I.A. “Absolutely, just like other graduates initially going into other careers.” He points out that a C.I.A. survey shows that its graduates can expect to double their salaries within the first five years.

According to the C.I.A., the student loan default rate among its graduates since 2008 is less than half the rate at for-profit schools.

There are now several hundred culinary programs in the U.S., many operated by for-profit companies such as Art Institutes and Career Education Corp., the parent of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, which has 16 locations in the U.S. More culinary schools keep popping up. Last year, Triumph Education Group launched the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Chicago and Austin, Texas, with plans to expand.

Enrollment in culinary programs at Career Education was 13,100 at the end of 2010, up 20% from 2009 — though new student enrollment was down 3% in the fourth quarter. The Pasadena Cordon Bleu is one of the company’s schools slapped with a class-action lawsuit alleging fraud. A $40-million settlement of a class-action suit against San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy, also a Career Education school, is pending.

“Learning the same foundational cooking techniques taught at the original Le Cordon Bleu in Paris affords opportunity,” says Career Education spokesman Mark Spencer. “But as with all education, it’s no guarantee of success.”

Regarding the lawsuit against the Pasadena Cordon Bleu, Spencer says that “the plaintiffs’ attorney trying to assemble a viable class-action case has met with several setbacks…. We’re confident the school will prevail on the merits of the case.”

Charlie Lucas, 22, has worked at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica, staged at the highly acclaimed Benu in San Francisco and now has a starting position at Daniel Boulud’s Café Boulud in New York. He also skipped cooking school.

Two years ago he wanted to try cooking professionally but had no experience and no money for school, so he went knocking on doors for a job. “I made a list of the best restaurants in L.A. from a 2004 Zagat and started handing out my résumé,” he says. He landed at Rustic Canyon because, executive chef Evan Funke says, “he had great heart.”

“I went home and practiced dices on potatoes,” Lucas says. “Funke gave me a lot of books to read. I was cooking out of Alain Ducasse’s encyclopedia for six months trying to understand the recipes, the flavor profiles. In my two years [at Rustic Canyon] I mastered every station.

“By the time I knew I wanted to be a chef, I had learned what people learned in school. And I don’t have student loans, and it’s a really fortunate thing.”

Funke, who is a former instructor at Pasadena’s Le Cordon Bleu, says, “In 10 years he’s going to be the guy to beat.”

Disillusioned by his teaching experience, Funke is no proponent of culinary school. “I don’t know what’s behind this meat-grinder mentality of cooking schools,” he says.

“I rarely hire culinary students right out of school,” he says. “It’s like buying a computer and doing DOS to tell it how to do commands. They’re missing information — knife sharpening or even how to hone a knife. They don’t know product ID, kitchen etiquette, meat, fish, chicken butchering. Ninety percent of this job is time experience.”

Meanwhile, schools are “doing the same thing to culinary students that they did in the housing market,” says Funke, pushing too much borrowing for what might be a mirage. “Nobody tells you that you’re going to be somebody’s prep monkey for a year picking parsley in some subterranean humid kitchen making minimum wage.”

Ronnie Chen, a 30-year-old onetime physics student who is working her way up the kitchen line at Mélisse in Santa Monica, looked into culinary school. “I talked to people in the kitchen,” she says. “You come out of culinary school, you get paid the same and you’re short one to two years’ experience.”

She admits that it’s unusual to walk into a Michelin two-star restaurant like Mélisse and, with no professional cooking experience, get a job. She started with no pay and “worked like crazy,” chef-owner Josiah Citrin says. Within a few months she had a paying job on the line and a little more than a year later has outlasted most line cooks at Mélisse.

“Knife skills, working clean, working efficiently, we can train everybody in that stuff,” Citrin says. “We can’t train common sense…. If someone goes to school and is hard-working, they’re going to do well. And if they didn’t and are hard-working, they’re going to do well.”

Many hotels, hospitality companies and restaurants don’t have the time or budget to train employees with no culinary skills, says Edward Leonard, vice president and corporate chef for Le Cordon Bleu schools in North America. “Employers want culinary graduates who can walk in the door and understand as well as perform foundational skills needed in a kitchen.”

For Mario Alberto, everything he learned, he learned on the job. Now he’s chef-partner of the recently opened Peruvian restaurant Chimu downtown and the coming Red Hill in Echo Park. He started cooking at 29 after pursuing a degree in film photography and in the last few years has worked at Gjelina, Mo-Chica and Lazy Ox.

He started working in a restaurant kitchen at Sai Sai in the Biltmore Hotel downtown. “You learn through experience, by cutting 20 bunches of negi [Japanese onion] at a time for months,” he says. “And then cooking on the line. And food costs, ordering, inventory, labor costs, managing people…. I took what I could from cooking [for other chefs], and I thought about how would I make it my style.

“I thought about culinary school for a second,” he says. “I started kind of late. At that point I wasn’t going to ask my mom to refinance her house so I could go to school.”


Cooking For Victory: Chefs Who Stirred Up Food Network Wins

Cooking competitions on television entertain hundreds of thousands of viewers each week. The time clock stress, colorful personalities and culinary problem-solving on such shows as “Beat Bobby Flay,” “Chopped,” “The Great Food Truck Race,” “Food Network Star” and “Guy's Grocery Games” are now the staple of the Food Network.

A 2014 article in The Atlantic examined the growth of cooking competitions on the Food Network. A study reported the number of shows had increased from two in 2005 to 16 in 2013. Tasha Oren, an associate professor of English and Media Studies and director of Film Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, conducted the 2013 study.

Benefits of Reality Culinary Shows When the Cameras are Off

Programs on the Food Network, Bravo, Fox and TV channels that pit celebrity chefs, home cooks and restaurant staff against each other produce high drama, suspense and creativity for fans to consume. They also demonstrate what it takes to prepare stand out dishes in a high-pressure atmosphere. Some winners of these cooking battles gain additional recognition and new opportunities from the publicity or cash prizes.

Winners of popular TV cooking competitions often include Blacks in various culinary professions. One of the most recent winners defeated celebrity chef Bobby Flay on his Food Network show. The victory has made a difference for chef Stephen Jones of Phoenix, Ariz. “It has helped in a very positive way,” says Jones. “I think it has brought a little more respect for me in the valley.”

Here is more information about Jones and four other black chefs who triumphed over competitors on the Food Network this year.

Photo credit: Facebook

Last December Jones took home $30,000 after winning the finale of “Guy's Grocery Games: Impossible.” He battled against two other chefs for the opportunity to face off against celebrity chef Robert Irvine. Jones plans to use some of his winnings to open a new version of The Larder + The Delta, the much-praised counter restaurant he operated at DeSoto.

He closed the restaurant in July to work on moving the concept to a stand-alone place. “The new location is coming along,” says Jones. “It's bigger, which means we can do more and complete our vision.” Food critics recognized The Larder + The Delta as Best New Restaurant, Best Southern Restaurant and Best Farm to Table Restaurant in Arizona when it opened in 2015.

Two other eateries Jones oversaw at the downtown market are still open. Jones' sous chef Jeremy Armstrong is now running the kitchens at Walrus & The Pearl and DCM Burger Joint.

Visit Jones on Facebook for more information and follow him on Twitter. The Food Network episode is scheduled to air again in November.

Chef de Cuisine Joe Johnson

Photo credit: Food Network

When Battle 2 of “Chopped Grill Masters: Season 2 got underway on Aug. 8, Joe Johnson had to work with something stuffed and something smoked for the appetizer round. By the time he was tasked to use beans in the dessert round, Johnson had already defeated two of the four competitors in live-fire cooking. His victory in Battle 2 qualified Johnson to move on to show's final on Aug. 29.

Johnson's skills on the grill helped him create winning dishes from a rack of boar and other unusual ingredients to eliminate the three other grill master champions. The $50,000 prize and Napa Valley vacation he won represent a sweet victory for the chef de cuisine at Charcoal Venice, a neighborhood restaurant in Southern California inspired by the backyard barbecues of chef/owner Josiah Citrin.

The restaurant celebrated Johnson's win on its website. The live-fire dishes he crafts at Charcoal Venice reflect his exacting standards. This quote from the restaurant’s About Us page explains the chef de cuisine's culinary philosophy: “I like to let the quality of the raw ingredients speak for themselves without too much manipulation. Although I may add complementary flavors to enhance the ingredient, I want guests to taste the purity of these fresh farmers’ market items.”

Johnson learned cooking basics from his grandmother, who employed classic French techniques in her kitchen. He landed his first job washing dishes at a hotel restaurant at age 16, and by 19 Johnson held the title of executive chef. A few years later, he left the hotel and his hometown of Petersburg, Virginia. The young chef moved to the Los Angeles area and graduated from the Le Cordon Bleu-affiliated California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena in 2012.

Johnson joined Citrin's two Michelin-star restaurant Mélisse and rapidly moved up the ranks there before becoming the chef de cuisine at Charcoal Venice. He is also co-founder of Cork District, a handcrafted apron line he created with friend Gary Nguyen.

Visit Charcoal Venice’s website and Johnson's Facebook page for more information. You can also follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

Pastry Chef Crystal Smith

Photo credit: Food Network

Her bourbon bread pudding became the most requested dessert at the BayviewYacht Club in Detroit when Crystal Smith joined the restaurant staff in June 2016. In fact, the pastry chef created all of the desserts on the menu, inspired by the cobblers, cakes and pies her grandmother and great-grandmother taught her to make when she was a child.

Those cooking lessons from age 12 and beyond guided Smith when she took on three competitors in the July 11 “Flour Power” episode of “Chopped” on the Food Network. The mother of three won $10,000 with her creative preparations of mystery basket ingredients.

The “Chopped” competition is one of the most grueling on television. Competitors create an appetizer, an entree and a dessert. They usually get 20 to 30 minutes to cook in each of the three rounds. Smith came out on top by creating a fajita flatbread, roasted chicken in mushroom cream sauce and a mixed berry shortcake.

Smith left the yacht club in September to devote time to her company, You Had Me at Cake 313 LLC. She plans to open a storefront where people can get her unique desserts and much more. The pastry chef says she wants to provide support and opportunities to others as a fixture of her community. “For me, that’ll give me a sense of fulfillment,” says Smith. “For me, that’s what being rich is about. It’s not about money it’s about being happy.”

Follow Smith on Instagram and Facebook to see what she is mixing up next.

Photo credit: Joshua Brasted

As an American-born chef with deep roots in his Haitian culture, Charly Pierre moved to New Orleans in 2015 with his soul mate Minerva (Eva) Chereches and a vision. They brought the flavor and soul of Haitian cooking to the city when they opened Fritai at St. Roch Market less than a year later.

By the next summer, Pierre had achieved another culinary accomplishment. He won the Food Network's Chopped competition on June 27 of this year. The “Snap Pea to It” episode pitted Pierre against three other chefs applying their skills to mystery baskets and a tight deadline. The Boston native mastered such ingredients as lamb kebobs, avocado toast, cornish hens, black rice, olive oil cake and kiwi to take home the $10,000 prize.

Today, Pierre and Chereches are enjoying the popularity of their restaurant, Fritai (a Haitian fried pork dish). The couple makes it a point to hire locals and focus on showing respect for employees, customers and the city. The menu offers dishes inspired by the cooking Pierre learned growing up in his mother's kitchen. The restaurants signature pork sandwich made with fried plantains is a twist on a traditional Haitian dish suggested by Chereches. They eventually hope to move Fritai to a larger space with a more extensive menu and a cool bar. They describe their future restaurant as “a hole in the wall” where people will dine on delicious Haitian-inspired dishes offered at reasonable prices.

Get the latest on Pierre from Fritai's Facebook page. You can also find him on Instagram and Twitter. Mark your calendar to watch the “Snap Pea to It” episode on October 24 and 25.

Photo credit: Food Network

Chef Lazarus Lynch
The story Lazarus Lynch tells about his journey as a chef makes it clear that he is immensely proud of his heritage, especially his late father Johnny “Ray” Lynch. After all, he followed in his dad's footsteps, building a career by branding himself as the son of a Southern chef.

Lynch accomplished a culinary achievement that most certainly would have thrilled his father. The chef claimed a $50,000 prize by becoming the Grand Champion of a Chopped tournament on Food Network. The year, the chef won his round of “Star Power: Web Stars!” on March 28. He then defeated three more tournament champions during the “Star Power: Grand Finale” on April 25. He showed off his culinary training and creativity with mystery baskets that included lobster tails, cinnamon toaster pastries, bitter melon, swineapple, soursop and drinkable yogurt.

The New York City native is gaining new fans as the host of “Comfort Nation,” a Food Network original digital series. The show takes viewers on a journey of NYC's comfort food from around the world. Lynch is fulfilling his dream of paying it forward by keeping alive the recipes of his father, grandmother and great-grandmother and sharing them with a new generation of food lovers.

Check out Food Network's exclusive interview with Lynch. You can also find out what he is up to on the Son of a Southern Chef website and Facebook page. Be sure to follow him on Instagram and Twitter.


Student Wins First Settlement in Le Cordon Bleu Mass Lawsuit

A student who alleged that Le Cordon Bleu fraudulently promised lucrative job opportunities upon completing their culinary program was awarded $217,000 in the first settlement agreement reached in over 1,000 lawsuits filed against the cooking school in 2008.

Anna Berkowitz and her father Martin Berkowitz had been led to believe that Anna would earn at least $75,000 upon completing the culinary program, allowing her to pay off the extensive loans she was encouraged to take out.

According to data presented in the mass lawsuit — being identified in some media outlets as a class action lawsuit even though the cases are being settled individually either out of court or through arbitration — the average salary of a restaurant chef-owner was $79,222 whereas a pastry chef received an average of $47,024. While these averages are inflated by hotels, the pay for independent restaurant chefs was significantly lower. A pastry chef with one year of experience earned an average salary of $28,333.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuits alleged that Le Cordon Bleu’s marketing strategy draws in students with its “become a chef” advertising and promising a high rate of placement for graduates of the program. The plaintiffs accuse the company of false advertising, claiming that the culinary school includes in these statistics graduates who attain jobs as line cooks and other positions that do not require a culinary degree.

Plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit include current or former students of Le Cordon Bleu, which is also known as the California School of Culinary Arts. They accuse the company of marketing Le Cordon Bleu to prospective students with “misleading statements, significant omissions, assertions of fact that the Defendants had no reasonable ground for believing to be true, and outright lies” to convince them that they would be better off financially and professionally by attending Le Cordon Bleu. The plaintiffs allege that they are now burdened by non-dischargeable student loans that they cannot afford to pay.

According to the class action lawsuit, Le Cordon Bleu’s marketing materials suggested that students of the culinary program could forge ahead in their careers without spending years working up the culinary ladder. The advertisements suggested that graduates of the programs would be qualified to work as well-respected chefs. Prospective students were provided with placement statistics that indicated that as many as 96 percent of graduates were placed. Because all of the marketing materials implied that graduates moved on to become chefs, the plaintiffs interpreted this data to mean that the vast majority of graduates were employed as chefs or equivalent positions. As a result, they took out loans to help them afford the $22,000 to $50,000 required to enroll in the culinary program.

The plaintiffs filed their lawsuits after learning that graduates of the program are very rarely hired as chefs. The majority of graduates find work in entry level positions, earning between $8 and $12 per hour, an insufficient amount to help them pay back their loans in a timely manner.


History of Cooking

The following document is a chronological frame of events throughout history that have a director indirect influence on food, wine and related topics. It is by no means the be all and end all, and in no way pretends to represent every event. It is continually being updated as the author uncovers new facts, figures and subjects of relevance. Every effort has been made to cross reference, but I am only human and a mistake may have occurred.

“Cooking is the art and science of preparing food for eating by the application of heat”. The term also includes the full range of culinary techniques: preparing raw and cooked foods for the table final dressing of meats, fish, and fowl cleaning and cutting fruits and vegetables preparing salads garnishing dishes decorating desserts and planning meals.

EARLIEST TYPES OF COOKING
The origins of cooking are obscure. Primitive humans may first have savoured roast meat by chance, when the flesh of a beast killed in a forest fire was found to be more palatable and easier to chew and digest than the customary raw meat. They probably did not deliberately cook food, though, until long after they had learned to use fire for light and warmth. It has been speculated that Peking man roasted meats, but no clear evidence supports the theory. From whenever it began, however, roasting spitted meats over fires remained virtually the sole culinary technique until the Palaeolithic Period, when the Aurignacian people of southern France began to steam their food over hot embers by wrapping it in wet leaves. Aside from such crude procedures as toasting wild grains on flat rocks and using shells, skulls, or hollowed stones to heat liquids, no further culinary advances were made until the introduction of pottery during the Neolithic Period.

The earliest compound dish was a crude paste (the prototype of the pulmentum of the Roman legions and the polenta of later Italians) made by mixing water with the cracked kernels of wild grasses. This paste, toasted to crustiness when dropped on a hot stone, made the first bread.

ADVANCES IN COOKING TECHNIQUES
Culinary techniques improved with the introduction of earthenware (and, more or less concomitantly, the development of settled communities), the domestication of livestock, and the cultivation of edible plants. A more dependable supply of foodstuffs, including milk and its derivatives, was now assured. The roasting spit was augmented by a variety of fired-clay vessels, and the cooking techniques of boiling, stewing, braising, and perhaps even incipient forms of pickling, frying, and oven baking were added. Early cooks probably had already learned to preserve meats and fish by smoking, salting, air-drying, or chilling. New utensils made it possible to prepare these foods in new ways, and such dishes as bacalao a la vizcaina (“dried cod”) and finnan haddie (smoked haddock) are still eaten.

B.C.
The cultivation of soybeans in China predates recorded history and spread from there to other countries in eastern Asia before the modern period. So essential was the soybean to Chinese civilisation that it was considered one of the five sacred grains (the others being rice, barley, wheat, and millet). The popularity of soybeans in the Orient was due to their wide use as a food

11000 B.C.
Flint-edged wooden sickles are used to gather wild grains.

Bronze Age
Lentils from this period have been discovered at a settlement site found near Lake Biel in Switzerland
Almonds dating from this period have been found on the Island of Crete

9000 B.C.
Plant cultivation begins in the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East.
Sheep are domesticated in the Middle East.

7000 B.C.
Mesoamerican (what is now Mexico and Central America) peoples begin domesticating plants –gourds, peppers, avocados, and a grain, amaranth

6500 B.C.
Evidence suggests that peas were grown in Turkey

6000 B.C.
Cattle are domesticated about this time.

5000 B.C.
The Egyptians begin irrigating crops.
Sumerians using the herbs thyme and laurel as medicine
Dates cultivated in the Middle East
Evidence of avocado use in Mexico

4000 B.C.
Egyptians using yeast as a leavening agent

3500 B.C.
Bread making probably originates in Egypt about this time.
Sumerians using wild mushrooms as a food
Olives known to have been grown on the island of Crete

3000 B.C.
Farmers of Mesapotomia were growing crops of turnips, onions, broad beans, peas, lentils, leeks, radishes and maybe garlic. Probably breeding ducks at this time
The Chinese Emperor Sung Loong Sze ‘discovers’ the medicinal properties of herbs
Turkey from this era have been found in American Indian refuse sights

2737 B.C.
The origins of tea culture and the brewing of dried tea leaves into a beverage are obscure experts believe, however, that the tea plant originated in a region encompassing Tibet, western China, and northern India. According to ancient Chinese legend, the emperor Shennong (Shen-Nung) learned how to brew the beverage in 2737 BC when a few leaves from the plant accidentally fell into water he was boiling.

2700 B.C.
The Chinese had a herbal listing 365 plants

2500 B.C.
Corn (zea mays) is domesticated in Mesoamerica.

2000 B.C.
Water-treatment knowledge dates from 2000 BC, when Sanskrit writings indicate that methods for purification of foul water consisted of boiling in copper vessels, exposing to sunlight, filtering through charcoal, and cooling in earthen vessels
Onions mentioned as a food source by Sumerian Scribes

1500 BC
Coriander being used as a culinary herb in Egypt

1450 BC
Egyptians using cinnamon as a spice

1100 B.C.
Chinese making soy sauce

1000 B.C.
The Incas were freezing potatoes in the snow for preservation
Geese known to have been popular in Germany
Chinese thought to be producing a type of alcohol spirit from rice

800 BC
Cultivated tomatoes used in Mexico

776 BC
According to the earliest records, only one athletic event was held in the ancient Olympics–a foot race of about 183 m (200 yd), or the length of the stadium. A cook, Coroibus of Elis, was the first recorded winner.

700 B.C.
Aubergines being cultivated in China

600 B.C.
Assyrian king Sardanapalus, said to have introduced the first cooking competition with the prize of thousands of gold pieces

500 B.C.
Sugar cane cultivated in India and bananas

206 B.C.
Flour milling introduced into China during the Han era, thus allowing the onset of Chinese noodle making

200 B.C.
The vending machine was probably invented about 200 BC when Hero of Alexandria described a coin-operated device designed to vend holy water in an Egyptian temple.

5 B.C.
Palm sugar being used by the Chinese
Woks being used in China
Tofu being used in China
Broccoli being cultivated in Europe
Pepper (corns) introduced to Java by Hindu settlers and into Europe by Arab Traders

4 B.C.
Archestratus, a Greek, wrote the first cookbook, Hedypathia (Pleasant Living), in the 4th century BC.
As early as the 4th century BC, the Chinese had codified the five basic taste sensations: sweet, sour, briny, spicy, and bitter. Around these elementary sensations, they built a cuisine of subtlety, variety, and sophistication.

3 B.C.
Athenaeus described the well-equipped Greek kitchen, which included such sophisticated utensils as a specially constructed dish in which the eggs of peacocks, geese, and chickens could be boiled together in graduated concavities.
Although the diets of peoples of the ancient world are well documented, little is known about their cooking techniques. In the Sumerian capital of Ur, street vendors hawked fried fish and grilled meats to passers by. In Egypt, small, raw birds were pickled in brine and eaten cold in the 3rd millennium BC, but excavations from the same period indicate that more sophisticated cooking methods were in use and that the rich particularly liked elaborate stews. Leavened BREAD seems to have first appeared in Egypt, although the time and place are uncertain.

1 – 1000 A.D.
Maybe the most famous of all meals is served and partaken of: the last supper of Christ
Oranges appear in India in the first century A.D. from China

25 to 200 AD
One of the first applications of metals was to build a stove. Cast iron was used for this purpose in China, through a process in which melted iron was poured into sand moulds.

97 A.D.
The most notable ancient water-supply and waste-disposal systems were those of Rome. In AD 97, Sextus Julius FRONTINUS, then water commissioner of Rome, reported the existence of 9 aqueducts of lengths varying from 16 to more than 80 km (10 to 50 ml), with cross sections of 0.5 to 4.5 sq m (7 to 50 sq ft). Such a system had an estimated aggregate capacity of 84 million gallons per day. In addition to this system, Rome had a great sewer known as the Cloaca Maxima, which drained the Roman Forum, and which is still in service

1st Century A.D.
Roman Emperor Traygon (Trajon), created a guild for Bakers

3rd Century A.D.
Mary or Marianne an alchemist of Alexandria lived. She is credited with the discovery of the properties of the bain marie, from whom the name is derived: Mary’s bath.

529
St. Benedict founds the Benedictine order and builds an abbey at Monte Cassino, Italy.

575
The coffee aribica first thought to be cultivated about this time

7th Century A.D.
The Patron Saints of cooks lived in this century: Fortunat a famous poet and Bishop of Poitiers is the Patron saint of Male cooks and Radegonde the patron saint of female cooks, founded a monastery that Fortunat became chaplain of

600
Windmills are in use in Persia for irrigation.

15th Century
Europe begin to use cast-iron stoves several hundred years after the Chinese
Haricots beans introduced into Europe from South America
In the middle of the 15th century chillies are being grown and used in Europe after being introduced from the Americas
Aubergines introduced into Europe
Christopher Columbus mentions the virtue of allspice in his journals in the latter years of this century

1404
The word ‘brioche’ first appears in use. Though the actual products history no doubt precedes this.

1411
Production of the spirit Armagnac recorded

1416
The French Butchers Guild that had reigned supreme for centuries was dissolved by Royal Decree, they lost all their privileges and their shops destroyed.

1432
Caviar is first mentioned as an hors d’oeuvres in Rabelais’ work Pantagruel. It was not to become famous in France for another 500 years.

1475
An edict is granted to allow the selling of prepared pork dishes sausages, pates etc. The start of what we now know as the charcuterie and the masters of the profession Charcutieres. The name is derived from the old French: chair, ‘flesh’ and cuit, cooked.

1488
Portuguese vessels reached South Africa by 1488 for purpose of spice trading

1489
Portuguese vessels reached Calicut in India by 1498 for purpose of spice trading

1493
Christopher Columbus introduces sugar cane into Hispaniola (Haiti-Dominion Republic)

1498
The toothbrush is invented by a Chinese dentist.

16th Century
Celery cultivated from the wild and poisonous variety in Italy sometime in the 16th century
Kidney beans, and vanilla pods introduced into Europe from the Americas
Rice and limes introduced to Mexico by Spanish Traders
Avocadoes ‘discovered’ by the Spanish in Mexico
Cashew and peanuts were introduced into Europe by Portuguese Traders from the Americas
Cauliflower is introduced to France from Italy in the middle of the 16th century.

1509
The first sugar cane mill is established in the Americas.

1513
Portuguese vessels reached Canton, China, by 1513 for purpose of spice trading

1519
Chocolate is introduced into Spain as a beverage. The term “chocolate” was originally applied to a drink similar to today’s hot chocolate. The Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes introduced the drink to Spain upon returning from his Mexican expedition, during which he was given some by the Aztec King Montezuma II. Gradually spreading from Spain through Europe and into England, the chocolate drink became increasingly popular.
Catherine de Medicis, born in Florence, Italy April 13

1520
Corn (Zea mays) is imported into Spain from the West Indies by Hernan Cortes and Christopher Columbus

1524
The Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes introduces the cocao beans to Europe

1533
Catherine de Medicis arrived in France from Florence with a retinue of master chefs. She brought Italian staples: milk-fed veal, baby peas, artichokes, broccoli, and various pastas. The French court tasted, for the first time, such delicacies as quenelles (fish dumplings), zabaglione (a rich egg yolk and wine custard), and scaloppine. With her arrival, French cookery embarked on a course that produced the most complex and refined cuisine in the Western world.

1554
Tomatoes from South America are cultivated in Europe.

1550
The worlds first Café was opened in Constantinople.

1553
Calvados is mentioned in the diary of ‘a gentleman’ of the Cotentin Gilles de Gouberville.

1569
A strange law in France is passed, forbidding Bakers to wear breeches other than on Sundays. Which meant they could not go out in public without being immediately identified, this law was passed to force them to stay at the oven all day. They were also forbidden to gather in groups, carry a sword or any other weapon. So was the importance of the Baker in those days.

1573
The potato is brought back from the Americas and cultivated in Spain.

1574
The Corporation of Pasta Makers is founded in Genoa, Italy.

1577
The ‘Regolazione dell’Arte dei Maestri Fidelari” (rules for the Pasta Masters Art Corporation) were drawn up in Savona, Italy.

1586: July 28th
First potatoes arrive in England from Colombia, brought by Sir Thomas Harriot

1589
Catherine de Medicis died at Blois 2 weeks after her husband, on January 5

17th Century
In the 17th century, chocolate houses were the social meeting places of the day
First made in 17th-century Holland, the manufacture and popularity of gin spread quickly throughout Europe, and variations of the Dutch formula began to appear. Gin is an alcoholic beverage made by distilling fermented mixtures of grains and flavouring the resulting alcohol with juniper berries. The name is derived from the French word genievre (juniper).
Jerusalem artichoke introduced to Europe from its native North America early this century
Parsley introduced to America by British colonists
Italy denounces coffee as “Satan’s Brew”

1600
British merchants formed the East India Company (1600-1858) and introduced teas into England and the American colonies

1602
The Dutch East India Company is founded
The Massachusetts Bay colonist are introduced to clams by the native Indians

1610
The first inn built in the original American colonies was the Jamestown Inn in Virginia, established about 1610. Lodging houses–called inns or taverns in the north, and ordinaries in the south–were soon established near seaports, canals, river landings, and post roads. An 18th-century Massachusetts law provided penalties for any town that did not offer lodging for travellers
The principle of vending did not emerge again after its first known mention in 200 B.C. until the 17th century, when coin-operated honour boxes holding tobacco were common in English taverns.

1615
Pierre Francoise de la Verenne born: (died in 1678) author of Le Vrai Cuisinier, published in 1651
Ann of Austria introduces drinking chocolate to the French Court

1620
Wild turkeys found by the Pilgrims in the New World

1627
Last known specimen of ‘aurochs’ (ancient breed from where domestic cattle were bred) recorded in Poland.

1630
Louis de Béchameil born, he was a French financier, farmer-general, and steward to the house of the Duke of Orleans. It is thought that Béchamél sauce is named after him.

1634
Dijon in France granted the exclusive rights to make mustard

1644
The drink COFFEE, was introduced into Europe in the mid-17th century, by a traveller named La Royne.

1647
A blast furnace at Saugus, Mass., was casting iron stoves. Many of these early stoves were jamb stoves, which were intended to make a fireplace more efficient and distribute its heat more effectively. The most common was the five-plate stove, made of five flat iron plates that formed a rectangular box with one open side. A hole was cut in the back of the fireplace completely through the wall to the room behind it, and the stove was inserted into the opening with the open end of the stove being flush against the rear wall of the fireplace. The remainder of the stove protruded into the room to be heated. When a fire was built in the stove, it served to heat both areas. Designers of these early stoves delighted in casting intricate designs into the visible portions.

1650
In English, spellings of coffee and coffy were established the former becoming the single standard by 1700

1651
Le Vrai Cuisinier published, the first cookbook to summarise the French Nobilities cooking practices. Written by Pierre Francoise de la Varenne.

1654
French writer Nicolas de Bonnefons publishes a work called, ‘Les delices de la campagne’, it was to prove a turning point in French cuisine. The book was responsible in the French turning away from the practices from the Middle ages of spice overuse and being concerned with the natural flavour of food.

1660
American cultivated strawberries introduced to Europe from the New World

1668
Coffee introduced to the Americas

1669
The Ambassador of the Turkish Government to Louis XIV Soliman Aga, popularises coffee at the French Court.

1670
Coriander being cultivated for the first time in the USA in Massachusetts

1672
At the Saint Germain fair in Paris an Amenian gentleman named Pascal set up a stall selling coffee, his success however was fleeting as coffee was yet to become a sociably acceptable drink.

1678
French botanist M. Marchant demonstrated that mushrooms grew from spawn, thus starting the cultivation of the vegetable

1683
The Café and coffee drinking is firmly established in Vienna, Austria after the invading Turks left behind hundreds of sacks of beans. Given to the victor Kolschitzky, it was he who created the now famous Vienna coffee.
Around this time the croissant was created in Vienna, Austria in celebration of defeating the Turks. The shape mirrors the Turkish crescent symbol.

1689
The English, who had previously imported distilled liquors, began to encourage the domestic manufacture of spirits from English grain and gin, which could be cheaply made and sold, rapidly became the solace and the scourge of the nation’s poor.

1690’s
Lloyd’s Insurance takes its name from the late-17th-century London coffee house of Edward Lloyd, where marine insurers met to do business.

1696
The first Parisian café was opened by an Italian Café Procope

18 th Century
Jean Naigeon a merchant from Dijon, France creates what is now known as Dijon mustard

In Naples pasta was made by mixing the dough by foot. Ferdinando II (the king of Naples) unhappy with this production method, hired the famous engineer Cesare Spadaccini who designed a (the) bronze machine that did this work.

1717
Thomas Twining opens the first Tea House for ladies in London

1718
Sandwich, John Montagu, 4th Earl of born November 3, 1718, d. A British politician, John Montagu, 4th earl of Sandwich, Apr. 30, 1792, was a leading member of Lord North’s administration during the American Revolution. His butler/cook is credited with the invention of the sandwich.

1723
The first glasswork to specialise in bottles for wine is set up Bordeaux, france by an Irishman. It was not until 1866 that the shape and size of the bottles for Bordeaux, Burgundy and Macon are legally defined.

1725
Giovanni Giacomo was born in Venice (died at Dux, Bohemia in 1798). A gastronome of his time, he sometimes went to great lengths and travels to taste certain foods. Better known by his pseudonym of Casanova.

1729
A literary, epicurean and gastronomic society founded in Paris by Piron, Gallet, Collé and Crébillon the Younger at Le Caveau on the Rue Buci. A famous restaurant at the time, where they were dining. A society that remained in one form or another until around 1834.

1736
Parliament passes the Gin Act to discourage public drunkenness in England.

1740
Venice issues a licence to Paolo Adami, so he may open the first pasta factory.

1742
Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius invents the Celsius scale for temperature.
The Franklin stove, invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1742, was made of cast iron, originally with a partially open front, and was designed to fit into a fireplace. It radiated more heat and burned less fuel than an ordinary fireplace and was widely used for heating
The first American cookbook is published in Virginia, entitled ‘The Compleat Housewife’

1748
The first recorded instance of cooling is credited to William Cullen at the University of Glasgow, who in 1748 evaporated ethyl ether under subatmospheric pressure to produce refrigeration. His process was successful but non-continuous and never advanced much beyond the laboratory stage. 1751
The Worcester Royal Porcelain Company is founded in England.

1754
French Chef Antoine Beauvilliers is born in Paris (died in 1817). Beauvilliers is credited with having the first real restaurant in Paris. In 1814 he wrote, ‘ L’art de cuisiner’ and also collaborated with Careme on La Cuisine ordinair.
Jean Jacques Regis de Cambacéres was born in Montpelier (died Paris 1824). A

1755
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, born April 1, d. Feb. 2, 1826 gourmet and first philosopher of the kitchen. He was the author of La Physiologie du gout (1825), a treatise on the fine art of gastronomy. Published in English as The Physiology of Taste (1825), it was the first work to treat dining as a form of art, and gastronomy as “the intelligent knowledge of whatever concerns man’s nourishment.”

1757
Jean Joseph Close born Dieuze, Moselle, France – died 1828 Strasbourg. While extremely debatable that he actually invented foie gras is name is never the less synomenous with it. After being the chef to the Maréchal de Contades governor of Alsace for a number of years, Close stayed behind when his master left Strasbourg. Close married the widow of a pastry chef and opened a shop to sell his creation pâté a la Contades (foie gras wrapped in a thin veal farce encased in a pastry) resulting in the first production centre of Alsatian foie gras (1788)

1759
It is maintained that chaud froid was created in this year by the Chef of the Marshal of Luxembourg, at the Château de Montmorency and that it was the Marshal that gave it its name.

1763
Don Ferdinando of Bourbon the Duke of Parma, gives one Stefano Lucciardi the right to a 10 year monopoly for the production of Gonoa style dried pasta.

1765
Public eating places have existed since ancient times, but the modern version of the restaurant (from the French restaurer, “to restore”) did not appear until the 18th century. The word was first applied in its current usage by A. Boulanger when he opened an eating establishment in Paris in 1765.

1768
Joseph Berchoux born in Saint Symphorien de Lay, died 1839 at Marcigny. Berchoux was a french solicitor and poet who amongst other things introduced the word gastronomie to the French language and the world.
Vicomte de Chateaubriand b. 1768, d. 1848. It is thought that his Chef Montmiriel named the cut of beef after him.

1769
Oranges established in California.

1770’s
American apples being sold in London along with rhubarb imported from Central Asia (probably Uzbekistan)
The first marmalade was made by the wife of James Kieller, a merchant who, bought some cheap oranges for his shop, only to find they were too bitter for eating purposes. His wife turned them into marmalade after following the same recipe she used for quinces.

1773
The café Cadran Bleu on the Boulevard du Temple, is opened in Paris. Famous for being the meeting place of the leaders of the French uprising on August 10 1792. During the Revolution in 1848 a battery of artillery shook the building and it was subsequently demolished in 1860.

1784
American inventor Oliver Evans develops the first automated flour mill.
Antonin Careme, born June 8
Pierre Francoise de la Varenne, born. Wrote the first cookbook to summarise the cooking practices of the French nobility and the development of the first true French sauces.

1788
A crop failure in France leads to bread riots.

1789
The first national Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the U.S.

1792
Sandwich, John Montagu, 4th Earl of A British politician, John Montagu, 4th earl of Sandwich, died April 30, 1792, was a leading member of Lord North’s administration during the American Revolution. Credited with the invention of the sandwich.
Gioacchino Rossini, born February 29, 1792, d. Nov. 13, 1868, was one of the most significant and influential composers of opera in the 19th century. The classic dish, ‘Tournados Rossini’ was named in his honour, by the Café Anglaise.

1793
Brillat-Savarin fled the French Revolution, he lived for three years in the United States, supporting himself as a violinist and by teaching French.

1795
The American-born physicist and adventurer Count Rumford (Benjamin Thompson) produced the first of a series of devices that ultimately evolved into the closed-top cooking range. By means of an ingenious system of flues and dampers, the range made adjustable heat possible and enormously expanded the scope of culinary activities.

1795
The canning process, like so many other developments in the FOOD INDUSTRY, was developed in response to the problem of feeding military forces in the field. In an attempt to overcome the problem of food spoilage, a prize was offered by the French in 1795 for the invention of a method of keeping food safe for troops. Nicolas APPERT, a chef in Paris, accepted this challenge and developed the canning process. The immensity of his undertaking becomes clearer when it is recognised that he had to fashion containers in which to package his product. Using bottles closed with cork and wire, he won the prize for his canning process in 1810. At about the same time, the tin-coated metal can was patented in England, giving rise to the term canning. Today virtually all types of food are canned commercially, and the products are available in cans of all sizes. Unlike the freezer necessary for frozen foods, no special device is needed for prolonged storage of cans

1796
Napoleon Bonaparté’s Chef is said to have created the dish ‘Chicken merengo”
Brillat-Savarin returned to France and his legal career in 1796
German chemist Franz Karl Achard, perfected the first method for extracting sugar from sugar beet, proving too costly though he died in poverty in 1802

1797
H.L.Pernod, the first commercially manufacturer of the liqueur ‘absynthe’

1799
City Hotel, the first American structure designed as a hotel, opened in New York. Which and operated until the 1840s.

1799
Honoré de Balzac born in Tours, France (died Paris 1850). A french author of some repute mainly for his gluttony. His great fondness for food and drink were apparant his books as he often used famous restaurant or Hotels as his settings, describing thier specialities of the time. as such his fictional work is of great benefit to us inresearching food, ideas and menus of that era. He also edited a collection of gastronomic texts such as Le Gastronomie Francais ou l’Art de bien vivre in 1828, Physiologie de gastronomique in 1830 and to the new edition of Brillat Savarin’s Physiologie de Gout in 1839, he wrote a treatise on stimulants as an appendix.

19 th Century
The early 19th century marked the beginnings of large-scale candymaking, especially in England.
Saw the start of the cultivation of watercress
In the early 1800’s at the kitchen of Parker House one of the USA’s oldest Hotels, the famous Boston Cream Pie was given its chocolate glaze topping
In the late 19th century the common variety of celery that we use today, was developed in the USA 1800
The word ‘Balthazar’ in use to describe a large bottle of Champagne, that is equivelent to 16 regular bottles. Named after the last King of Babylon, Balthazar’s father also has a bottle size named after him the Nebuchadnezzar, which holds 20 bottles.

1801
A massive 560.18kg is produced in the USA, as a present for President Thomas Jefferson.

1802
The Café Anglais is opened in the Boulevard des Italiens. It was named in honour of the peace treaty just signed between England and France. Originally just a coffee house for coachman and servants, it became famous when it was bought by a Paul Chevreuil who turned it into a fashionable eating establishment. Although it was not until the arrival of the great Chef Adolphe Dugléré that it truelly gained its gastronomic reputation. One of its private rooms was made famous for etenity in Offenbach’s La Vie parisienne. It was finally demolished in 1913.

1804
The seven-story Boston Exchange Coffee House, opened in 1804, was in its time the largest and best-equipped hotel in America, with more than 200 apartments and a total of 300 rooms. These included stores, offices, banquet halls, ballrooms, dining rooms, numbered private bedrooms, a billiard room, a hairdresser’s room, and a large number of bathing rooms. Its central, domed area, the Exchange, was used as a commercial meeting place.

1809
Frenchman Nicolas Appert develops the first effective method for canning food.

1809
Alexis Benoit Soyer born: October, 14th in Meaux-en-Brie (north west of Paris). One of the greatest and most underated of the master chefs), Soyer was not just a chef but also an inventor and notable charity worker. He was Chef at the famous Reform Club in London for a quarter of his life.

1810
The canning process, like so many other developments in the FOOD INDUSTRY, was developed in response to the problem of feeding military forces in the field. In an attempt to overcome the problem of food spoilage, a prize was offered by the French in 1795 for the invention of a method of keeping food safe for troops. Nicolas APPERT, a chef in Paris, accepted this challenge and developed the canning process. The immensity of his undertaking becomes clearer when it is recognised that he had to fashion containers in which to package his product. Using bottles closed with cork and wire, he won the prize for his canning process in 1810. At about the same time, the tin-coated metal can was patented in England, giving rise to the term canning. Today virtually all types of food are canned commercially, and the products are available in cans of all sizes. Unlike the freezer necessary for frozen foods, no special device is needed for prolonged storage of cans
The British chemist Sir Humphrey Davis, separates the molecules of salt into its two elements sodium and chlorine, thus starting others to understand the process/ chemical reactions that take place when using salt in curing, freezing etc. This in turn led to better preserving processes.

1813
Baron Léon Brisse born died at Fontenay aux Roses in 1876. Brisse began his career in the services of the Water and Forestry, though was forced to leave after a scandel. He began a career in journalism specialising in articles on food. In the newspaper La Liberté he had the idea of printing a different menu everyday. In 1868 these were eventually published in a collection Les Trois Cent Soixant Six Menus du baron Brisse or The 366 Menus of Baron Brisse. His other published works were:
Recette a l’usage des menages bourgeois et des petit menages (1868)
La Petite Cuisine du baron Brisse (1870)
La Cuisine en Careme
Not being able to cook himself he was often taken to task for some of his ‘ridiculous’ recipes. However his name was given to a garnish for large joints of meat onions, chicken forcemeat and stuffed olive tartlets.

1815
The worlds first commercial biscuit factory is set up in Carlisle, Scotland The Carr Establishmnet

1816
Louis Bignon born in Hérisson, France died in Macau 1906. A great restauranteur, he started his career as a waiter at the Café d’Orsay before moving on to the Café au Foy. He later purchased it and handed it over to his brother in 1847. Taking over the Café Riché he made it one of the best in Paris. Made a Knight of the Order of the Legion of Honour in 1868 and and officer in 1878. Bignon was the first restaranteur to wear the rosette of the Legion of Honour.

1822
American surgeon William Beaumont begins his study of the gastric process.
Sometime around this era Chef’s hat started to appear

1824
French engineer Ferdinand Carré born at Moislains, Somme. Carré pioneered methods of refrigeration. In 1862 he exhibited at the Universal London Exhibition, a machine to produce ice that had an output of 200 kg per hour.

1825
December 8, Brillat-Savarin’s great work: La Physiologie du gout (1825) is published, a treatise on the fine art of gastronomy. Published in English as The Physiology of Taste (1825), it was the first work to treat dining as a form of art, and gastronomy as “the intelligent knowledge of whatever concerns man’s nourishment.”

1826
In February, Brillat-Savarin died in Paris.

1827
English inventor John Walker introduces the first friction matches.

1828
The Dutch made chocolate powder by squeezing most of the fat from finely ground cacao beans. The cocoa butter from pressing was soon being added to a powder-sugar mixture, and a new product, eating chocolate, was born.

1830
Sometime in the 1830’s it is thought that in a restaurant at Saint Germain en Laye, Collinet creates Bearnaise sauce.

1831
Cyrus McCormick invents a mechanical reaper.
Professional chefs had existed in Europe at least since the emergence of Athens as the cultural center of the classical world, but no single individual’s impact on a national cuisine even remotely approached that of Antonin CAREME, (born June 8, 1784, died Jan. 12, 1833) who revolutionised French cooking (and northern European cooking in general) during a career spent in the kitchens of Europe’s social and political leaders. Stressing “delicacy, order, and economy,” Careme systematised and codified French cooking, brought symmetry and logical progression to the service of meals, and introduced a new awareness of freshness and sanitation into the French kitchen. Careme wrought culinary miracles with the inadequate equipment at his disposal. The charcoal-burning stoves with which he worked brought his delicately constructed dishes into direct contact with live embers, often scorching or setting them ablaze. Ovens had to be stoked and emptied of ashes repeatedly and, with no effective means of temperature control, armies of cooks were required to give their undivided attention to individual dishes.

1832
Parisian caterer and food retailer, Germain Charles Chevet dies in Paris. He set up a shop in the Palais Royal and subsequently founded a dynasty of caterers. His shops were frequented by the likes of Brillet Savarin and Rossini for the high quality venison, pâtés, foie gars and seafood he supplied. His son Joseph took over the business after his death.

1833
Marie Antonin Careme died January 12, 1833
George Huntington Hartford, born Augusta, Maine, Sept. 5, 1833, d. Aug. 29, 1917, was an American merchant who helped develop what became for a time the largest U.S. grocery chain.

1834
Jacob Perkins, an American engineer living in London, patented (1834) the first practical ice-making machine, a volatile-liquid refrigerator using a compressor that operated in a closed cycle and conserved the fluid for reuse.

1836
Charles Ranhofer born: (died 1899) the first internationally famous Chef from an American establishment.

1837
John Lea and William Perrin ‘produce’ their first successful batch of their world famous sauce. A Lord Sandy asked them a few years earlier, to produce a sauce from a recipe he brought back from Bengal. After following the recipe to the letter they found the resulting sauce was far from palatable, so it was barrelled and left in their cellar, only to be rediscovered years later after it had fermented into what we now know as Worcester sauce.

1839
French politician and fianancier Marie Vicomte de Botherel (b.1790 at La Chapelle du Lou, died 1859) has the idea of installing mobile kitchens on buses operating in the suburbs of Paris. While all of Paris seemed to admire his venture it failed as a business. However it is regarded as the forerunner to the modern day ‘restaurant car’.

1840
Gas was first used for cooking, and interest grew as the availability of gas spread.

1842
James Dewar a Scottish physicist is born. James Dewar invented the vacuum flask. He died in 1923 aged 81.

1844
The first successful refrigeration machine in the United States was developed in 1844 by John Gorrie. His device did not use a volatile liquid but operated by the principle that air gets hot when compressed and cools when it expands. The air refrigerating principle was extensively used during the latter part of the 19th century and during the early years of the 20th century, although it is little used at the present time
Henry John Heinz, b. Pittsburgh, Pa., Oct. 11, 1844, d. May 14, 1919, the founder of the H. J. Heinz Company, Inc., manufacturer of prepared foods.

1845
Failure of the potato crop leads to a famine in Ireland.

1846
Georges Auguste Escoffier, born October 28, 1846, d. Feb. 12, 1935

The Pastry Chef, Chiboust creates the Saint Honoré gâteau in honour of the Paris district in which he workd and also the patron saint of Pastry Chefs and bakers.

1850
Sir Thomas Johnstone Lipton, b. Glasgow, Scotland, May 10, 1850, d. Oct. 2, 1931, was the founder of the tea and provision company, Lipton, Ltd. Lipton made his fortune primarily on cured meats, eggs, butter, and cheeses. His small store in Glasgow grew to include a chain of shops throughout the United Kingdom he also owned foreign tea, coffee, cocoa, and rubber plantations fruit orchards, bakeries, and jam factories in England and a meat-packing house in Chicago. Lipton was knighted in 1898 and made a baronet in 1902. An ardent yachtsman, he tried unsuccessfully to win the America’s Cup in the races of 1899, 1901, 1903, 1920, and 1930

Another type of refrigeration unit, the absorption-type machine, was developed by Ferdinand Carre in France between 1850 and 1859. Such devices, which can operate exclusively by burning natural gas or other fuel, were commonly used prior to the widespread availability of electricity. The first machines of this type used water as a refrigerant and sulfuric acid as an absorbent, but in 1859, Carre switched to an ammonia-water system that is still in use. The public, however, resisted the use of artificial ice, fearing that it was unhealthy. Resistance declined after the American Civil War during that war a number of Carre’s machines had been slipped through the Union blockade and were able to provide much-needed ice to the southern states

A Belgian peasant discovers wild chicory cultivated in warmth and shade grew elongated shoots with edible leaves. A Belgian botanist Brezier managed to cultivate it further to give us the modern day chicory salad plant.

1851
Jacob Fussell begins making ice cream in commercial quantities in Baltimore. The first ice cream factory was built Jacob Fussell, and the industry thereafter grew rapidly.

1855
American physician John Gorrie, b. Charleston, S.C., Oct. 3, 1803, d. June 16, 1855, was issued the first U.S. patent for “a machine for the artificial production of ice.” In Apalachicola, Fla., where he practiced, Gorrie noticed that his patients seemed to recover more quickly in cool weather. He began to develop methods for artificially cooling the air and eventually invented and patented a mechanical refrigeration device that operated much like a present-day refrigerator. Unable to find investors willing to back the manufacture of his machine, he died of a “nervous collapse” at the age of 52

1859
French inventor Ferdinand Carre develops a refrigeration system.

Nellie Melba, b. Helen Mitchell in Richmond, Australia, May 19, 1859, d. Feb. 23, 1931, was a fabulously successful operatic soprano and for whom Escoffier created and named his dish ‘Peach Melba’.

The first successful food-store chain was the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P), which was founded in this year, but began its great expansion after World War I.

1860
Will Keith Kellogg, b. Battle Creek, Mich., Apr. 7, 1860, d. Oct. 6, 1951, the creator of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. As a young man he worked with his brother, Dr. John H. Kellogg, at the latter’s Battle Creek Sanitarium, where they developed toasted wheat flakes and other vegetarian health foods. In 1906 he organised the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company and merchandised his product with heavy advertising. He added other breakfast foods to the company’s line, making it the world’s largest manufacturer of prepared cereals. He established the philanthropic W. K. Kellogg Foundation in 1930 and gave it a total of $47 million

1860’s
In the U.S.A. the railroads developed refrigerator cars.

Margarine, or oleomargarine, is a butter like product made primarily from vegetable oils, fats, and milk. (The name oleomargarine was once used for margarines that contained animal fats, principally lard and oleostearin from beef.) The original margarine, developed in the late 1860s in France, used beef fat as the principal ingredient. Later margarines used animal fats and vegetable oils. Most of the margarines available today contain only vegetable oils, usually derived from SOYBEANS, CORN, and cottonseed.

Chewing gum, a uniquely U.S. product, discovered during the search for rubber materials in the 1860s. It is a mixture of natural or synthetic gums and resins, sweetened with sugar and corn syrup, with added colour and flavour.

1862
French engineer Ferdinand Carré, exhibited at the Universal London Exhibition, a machine to produce ice that had an output of 200 kg per hour.

1864
The Bofinger, one of Paris’ top bar/restaurants established on the Rue de la Bastille. It is still open today (1997).

1865
Escoffier starts his Military service and here he learns the art of wax flower making

1866
Baron Brisse on the 6th June wrote a column in a French publication, which seems suggest the creation of the dessert baked Alaska, was introduced into France by the chef of a visiting Chinese delegation at the Grand Hotel in Paris.

The shape and size of the bottles for Bordeaux, Burgundy and Macon are legally defined.

1867
On June 7th, the Cafe Anglaise in Paris serves what has become known as the ‘Three Emperors Dinner’, served for the King of Prussia William I, the Tsar Alexander II of Russia and his son

1868
McIlhenny introduces his Tabasco sauce to the world

1869
The first manufacturing patent is issued for chewing gum.

1870
Escoffier was made the Chef de Cuisine for the French Army Officers when war broke out

During the siege of 1870, the French Chef Choron, whom created the sauce named after him, was serving dishes at the Voisin Restaurant based on elephant meat

1872
The haricot bean variety flageolets first grown in Europe

1874
Margarine was introduced into the United States in 1874 and immediately aroused the opposition of the dairy industry. Taxes were imposed on the substance in some states yellow-colored margarine could not be sold and federal laws required, among other stringencies, that restaurants serving margarine post a conspicuous notice of that fact.

1876
A Swiss firm added condensed milk to chocolate, producing the world’s first milk chocolate
Henry John Heinz formed a company to manufacture pickles, condiments, and other prepared foods.

1880’s
Machines vending postage stamps and chewing gum won public acceptance in the United States in the late 1880s, and machines offering candy bars and cigarettes were later marketed.

1881
Anna Pavlova, born January 31, 1881, d. Jan. 23, 1931, was one of the world’s best-known ballerinas and after whom the dessert is named after.

1882
Chinese artichokes (which actually originated in Japan) are cultivated in France by the agronomist Pailleux at Crosne.

1884
The word Bistro enters into the French language

Evaporated milk is patented by John Mayenberg, of St Louis, USA on November 25th

1886
Clarence Birdseye born in New York, died 1956. An American businessman and inventor, who during a trip to Labrador in 1920 noticed that fish caught by the eskimos and left exposed to the air froze rapidly and was told they would remain edible for months. On his return to the USA he perfected a method of ultra rapid freeze, in 1924 he formed a company to distribute the products. Economic crisis later forced him to sell the company and his name.

1887
Conrad Hilton, b. San Antonio, N.Mex., Dec. 25, 1887, d. Jan. 4 founder of the Hilton Hotel Chain

1889
The French nightclub, Moulin Rouge, opened its doors for the first time on October 6th. Escoffier was later to cook there

1890
In the early 1890s, the health-foods innovator, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, developed processes for producing a number of new foods–among them wheat flakes, various coffee substitutes, and several vegetable products that bore some resemblance to meats. As a protein base, Kellogg used fresh wheat gluten with added meat like flavourings

1895
Cordon bleu (cooking) – The Cordon Bleu is a famous school of cooking in Paris, founded in 1895 by Marthe Distell to teach the principles of French cuisine to the daughters of upper-class families. Today it attracts amateur and professional cooks from throughout the world. The term cordon bleu is probably derived from the blue ribbons worn by knights of the Order of the Holy Ghost, a chivalric order renowned for the excellence of its table. The ribbon was first used as a gastronomic order of merit by King Louis XV, who bestowed it on Mme du Barry’s chef, a woman and for many years, the decoration was given only to top-ranked female cooks

March 12
Coca cola first sold in bottles

1897
The famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel was completed on Fifth Avenue in New York, USA. (see 1929 also)

1898
Cesar Ritz and Escoffier opened the Hotel Ritz in Paris: the Ritz was inaugurated on June 1, 1898, on the historic Place Vendôme, constructed by Hardouin-Mansart, the architect of Versailles.

1900
Escoffier and Cesar opened the Carlton in London which served 500 covers at service with a kitchen brigade of 60.
The standard can for processed food was first used in the early 1900s

1901
The famous team of Cesar Ritz and Escoffier broke up when Cesar had a nervous breakdown.

1903
The first Goncourt Prize was awarded at the Champeaux Restaurant, on the Place de la Bourse, Paris.

1904
The teabag was invented in America
Iced tea was created at the World’s Fair in St. Louis.
Ice cream cone reportedly invented by Charles E Menches during the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St Louis, Missouri. The story goes that he was selling waffles when the stall next to him selling ice cream, ran out of containers. A fresh waffle was wrapped into a cone and the ice cream placed inside??

1906
Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle leads to the U.S. Pure Foods and Drugs Act.

1907
Until the early 1900s most city hotels in the United States were either luxurious and expensive, or inexpensive and uncomfortable. Ellsworth STATLER, however, established a chain of middle-class hotels that set new standards for comfort and cleanliness at moderate prices. His first important hotel, the Buffalo Statler (1907), offered “a room and a bath at a dollar and a half.” Convinced that private rooms with baths would give him a vital competitive edge, Statler designed a plumbing shaft that permitted bathrooms to be built back to back, providing two baths for little more than the price of one and allowing him to offer many private rooms with adjoining private baths. Statler was the first to put telephones and radios in every guest room, as well as full-length mirrors, built-in closets, and a special faucet for ice water. Restaurant recipes were standardised, and identical silver, china, and linens were purchased in quantity for use in all the system’s hotels. Eventually, Statler hotels were opened in many major cities in the United States, and Statler’s success inspired the formation of other hotel chains. The Statler chain was bought by the late hotel mogul Conrad HILTON in 1954. Hilton’s chain is now among the world’s largest. The world’s largest lodging systems are the Memphis-based Holiday Inns, Inc., and Best Western, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona.
Gastronomie pratique published by Henri Babinsky (born Paris 1855, died

1912
Clarence Birdseye an American physicist, introduced a new commercial process for freezing foods.

1913
Harry MacElhone takes over as owner of Harry’s Bar in Paris, famous for his cocktail creations: Bloody Mary (1921) and the Sidecar (1931). It was his son, Andrew who later created the Blue Lagoon cocktail in 1972.

1914
The electric range was introduced

1916
The first store designed as a self-service, departmentalised food market was opened in 1916 in Memphis, Tenn., by Clarence Saunders. From it grew the first supermarket chain, Piggly Wiggly, precursor of the giant A&P, Safeway, and Kroger organisations

1918
Cesar Ritz died

1919
August Escoffier retires aged 73 from the Carlton in London
Conrad Hilton bought his first hotel the Mobley Hotel in Cisco, Texas.

1920
Escoffier was awarded the Legion d’Honneur.
The beginnings of cellophane manufacture in the 1920s opened the era of transparent wrappings.
After World War I, particularly in the 1920s, the domestic refrigerator began to displace the icebox

1925
Caviar introduced to France at the Universal Exhibition

1926
French Chef Paul Bocuse born in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or.

1929
Demolition of The Famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York, commenced to make way for the equally famous Empire State Building. (See 1897)

1930
Abundance of Brazilian coffee beans sees thousands of tonnes of beans tipped into the ocean or burned
The first instant coffee introduced.

1931
Joy of Cooking published a cookbook that ranks with Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Cookbook (1896) in its impact on the American diet, Joy of Cooking has clarified American cooking techniques and considerably enlarged the American cuisine. Written in 1931 by Irma Starkloff Rombauer and her daughter Marion Rombauer Becker (who also provided the original illustrations), the work–now in its 13th edition–is an encyclopedic compendium of classic American and European recipes, lucid explanations of culinary techniques, and detailed discussions of every important aspect of food preparation. A perpetual best-seller, the book to date has sold about 8,000,000 copies

1935
Georges Auguste Escoffier, died February 12, 1935
Insitut National des Appellations d’Origin created in France to control the production, quality of wine. It is made up of wine professionals and representatives of other interested/concerned bodies.

1938
Nestlé introduce their nescafé brand of instant coffee
Prosper Montagne publishes the “Larouse Gastronomique

1940
Major advancements in food technology and preservation, born out of the need to get fresh foods to the troops during the second world war.

1945
Films made of polyethylene, polyester, and other plastics came into use after World War II. Plastic bottles and aerosols were first introduced.

1948
Conrad Hilton formed the Hilton International Company
Aaron Lapin, invents whipped cream in a can (USA)

1950’s?
French Chef Raymond Oliver is recognised as the first Chef to use the media of television for cooking demonstrations.

1954
The Statler chain was bought by the late hotel mogul Conrad HILTON in 1954.

1955
April 15: Ray Kroc opens the first of the McDonald’s franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois, U.S.A. after buying the rights of the name from a hamburger stand’s owners in San Bernadino, California. The burger were 15 cents and the fries 5 cents.

1970
Norman Borlaug wins the Nobel Peace Prize for breeding miracle wheat strains.

1980
Restauranteurs in Marseille, Provence sign a charter designed to protect how bouillabaisse is made. All who sign the charter agree to only prepare the famous regional dish only from certain ingredients and to a certain method. Lee way is given for individual flare.


Some up-and-coming chefs are skipping culinary school

The chicken chili from Jason’s Deli makes a hearty dish.

(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

Cole Dickinson, the chef de cuisine at Michael Voltaggio’s soon-to-open West Hollywood restaurant, Ink, got his culinary education the old-fashioned way: in the kitchen.

That might sound obvious, but it makes him something of an anomaly as the number of culinary schools multiplies, drawing legions of novice cooks with the promise of turning them into top chefs.

Yet the less-touted, less-glamorized path of working one’s way up through the restaurant kitchen ranks is starting to sound more appealing. At a time when for-profit professional cooking schools are coming under more scrutiny, some of L.A.'s rising chefs — like Dickinson — are succeeding without ever having stepped into the classroom.

For-profit schools across the country are facing a flurry of lawsuits claiming fraud they’re accused of misleading students about tuition costs, job placement rates and how much they’ll earn after graduating.

The cautionary tale of a would-be chef goes like this: A starry-eyed youth dreams of helming a restaurant kitchen and enrolls in a $60,000 culinary program but upon graduation still qualifies only for a job as a $10.50-an-hour line cook and struggles to work off crippling school loans that, with interest, can balloon to nearly $100,000. Dream crushed.

Meanwhile, Dickinson has a coveted gig at one of L.A.'s most hotly anticipated restaurants. He was a 17-year-old bussing tables for Charlie Palmer in Healdsburg, Calif., when he first considered culinary school. “I didn’t have the money. I had a single mom,” Dickinson says, “so I got it in my head that I’d ask Charlie if he’d sponsor me and I’d come back and work for him. He basically said, ‘Don’t be an idiot. Work for me for a couple of years and I’ll get you in wherever you want to go.’

In a year and a half, I’d worked my way around every station of that kitchen. I don’t regret not going to culinary school at all.”

Besides his time with Palmer, Dickinson, now 27, worked at the Fat Duck in England, for Laurent Gras at L2O in Chicago, then for Voltaggio at the Tavern Room in West Virginia and at José Andrés’ Bazaar in Los Angeles.

In interviews with a dozen chefs and restaurateurs, few recommended culinary school none said it was necessary. “We get asked all the time,” says Karen Hatfield, who, along with her husband, Quinn, owns Hatfield’s in Los Angeles. “Quinn and I don’t recommend it to anybody ever. It’s such a huge financial burden now.” (She went to cooking school he didn’t.) And yet all but one of the restaurant’s kitchen staff of about 15 attended culinary school.

Palmer, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., who grew an empire out of his Manhattan restaurant Aureole, isn’t so adamant. He advocates cooking school “if the person has the resources. But there’s an enormous range as far as the quality of cooking schools. It’s something especially younger students don’t really understand.”

Even at well-regarded not-for-profit colleges, such as the C.I.A., it might not make economic sense. A two-year associate’s degree program at the Culinary Institute of America costs $50,000. A bachelor’s degree is more than $100,000. According to the latest data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of a restaurant cook is $21,990. (That’s about one-third the cost of tuition for the culinary arts program at the for-profit Art Institute of California in Santa Monica.)

“Is it true that graduates [have to] pay their dues?” says Bruce Hillenbrand, vice president responsible for admissions at the C.I.A. “Absolutely, just like other graduates initially going into other careers.” He points out that a C.I.A. survey shows that its graduates can expect to double their salaries within the first five years.

According to the C.I.A., the student loan default rate among its graduates since 2008 is less than half the rate at for-profit schools.

There are now several hundred culinary programs in the U.S., many operated by for-profit companies such as Art Institutes and Career Education Corp., the parent of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, which has 16 locations in the U.S. More culinary schools keep popping up. Last year, Triumph Education Group launched the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Chicago and Austin, Texas, with plans to expand.

Enrollment in culinary programs at Career Education was 13,100 at the end of 2010, up 20% from 2009 — though new student enrollment was down 3% in the fourth quarter. The Pasadena Cordon Bleu is one of the company’s schools slapped with a class-action lawsuit alleging fraud. A $40-million settlement of a class-action suit against San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy, also a Career Education school, is pending.

“Learning the same foundational cooking techniques taught at the original Le Cordon Bleu in Paris affords opportunity,” says Career Education spokesman Mark Spencer. “But as with all education, it’s no guarantee of success.”

Regarding the lawsuit against the Pasadena Cordon Bleu, Spencer says that “the plaintiffs’ attorney trying to assemble a viable class-action case has met with several setbacks…. We’re confident the school will prevail on the merits of the case.”

Charlie Lucas, 22, has worked at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica, staged at the highly acclaimed Benu in San Francisco and now has a starting position at Daniel Boulud’s Café Boulud in New York. He also skipped cooking school.

Two years ago he wanted to try cooking professionally but had no experience and no money for school, so he went knocking on doors for a job. “I made a list of the best restaurants in L.A. from a 2004 Zagat and started handing out my résumé,” he says. He landed at Rustic Canyon because, executive chef Evan Funke says, “he had great heart.”

“I went home and practiced dices on potatoes,” Lucas says. “Funke gave me a lot of books to read. I was cooking out of Alain Ducasse’s encyclopedia for six months trying to understand the recipes, the flavor profiles. In my two years [at Rustic Canyon] I mastered every station.

“By the time I knew I wanted to be a chef, I had learned what people learned in school. And I don’t have student loans, and it’s a really fortunate thing.”

Funke, who is a former instructor at Pasadena’s Le Cordon Bleu, says, “In 10 years he’s going to be the guy to beat.”

Disillusioned by his teaching experience, Funke is no proponent of culinary school. “I don’t know what’s behind this meat-grinder mentality of cooking schools,” he says.

“I rarely hire culinary students right out of school,” he says. “It’s like buying a computer and doing DOS to tell it how to do commands. They’re missing information — knife sharpening or even how to hone a knife. They don’t know product ID, kitchen etiquette, meat, fish, chicken butchering. Ninety percent of this job is time experience.”

Meanwhile, schools are “doing the same thing to culinary students that they did in the housing market,” says Funke, pushing too much borrowing for what might be a mirage. “Nobody tells you that you’re going to be somebody’s prep monkey for a year picking parsley in some subterranean humid kitchen making minimum wage.”

Ronnie Chen, a 30-year-old onetime physics student who is working her way up the kitchen line at Mélisse in Santa Monica, looked into culinary school. “I talked to people in the kitchen,” she says. “You come out of culinary school, you get paid the same and you’re short one to two years’ experience.”

She admits that it’s unusual to walk into a Michelin two-star restaurant like Mélisse and, with no professional cooking experience, get a job. She started with no pay and “worked like crazy,” chef-owner Josiah Citrin says. Within a few months she had a paying job on the line and a little more than a year later has outlasted most line cooks at Mélisse.

“Knife skills, working clean, working efficiently, we can train everybody in that stuff,” Citrin says. “We can’t train common sense…. If someone goes to school and is hard-working, they’re going to do well. And if they didn’t and are hard-working, they’re going to do well.”

Many hotels, hospitality companies and restaurants don’t have the time or budget to train employees with no culinary skills, says Edward Leonard, vice president and corporate chef for Le Cordon Bleu schools in North America. “Employers want culinary graduates who can walk in the door and understand as well as perform foundational skills needed in a kitchen.”

For Mario Alberto, everything he learned, he learned on the job. Now he’s chef-partner of the recently opened Peruvian restaurant Chimu downtown and the coming Red Hill in Echo Park. He started cooking at 29 after pursuing a degree in film photography and in the last few years has worked at Gjelina, Mo-Chica and Lazy Ox.

He started working in a restaurant kitchen at Sai Sai in the Biltmore Hotel downtown. “You learn through experience, by cutting 20 bunches of negi [Japanese onion] at a time for months,” he says. “And then cooking on the line. And food costs, ordering, inventory, labor costs, managing people…. I took what I could from cooking [for other chefs], and I thought about how would I make it my style.

“I thought about culinary school for a second,” he says. “I started kind of late. At that point I wasn’t going to ask my mom to refinance her house so I could go to school.”


Mumbai`s Ronak Nanda wins Culinary Clash competition

Luce At The Intercontinental recently announced Mumbai based culinary student as the winner of the Culinary Clash competition, Patricia Mascarenhas reports.

Mumbai-born Ronak Nanda, 26 and a student of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, San Francisco recently won the third annual Culinary Clash programme, a cooking competition and scholarship fundraiser for culinary students. The competition was organised by Nanda’s college in collaboration with Luce At The Intercontinental. Winners received scholarships amounting to more than $4,500 as an award.

Culinary students compete for a chance to cook with Michelin-star Chef Daniel Corey at Luce and have their menu featured at the restaurant. Students submitted menus and corresponding recipes through February2014, and three finalists cooked at Luce to showcase their menu. Event judges included a panel of hotel executives, local personalities, and food writers, as well as guests of the restaurant that evening.

Nanda and his sous chef Cavin The, both culinary students, took top honors in the competition. Born and raised in Mumbai, Nanda always loved eating and cooking. “My passion for food started with TV and has developed in the last five years. It brings joy to me to watch people enjoy what I made,” said Nanda. Hence he decided to move to San Francisco and join culinary school. “I enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu’s Associate of Occupational Studies programme in 2012 where I am now pursuing an associate’s degree in culinary arts and working on improving my skills,” he added.

Nanad impressed diners, guest judges, and Luce’s chef Corey with his menu of crispy pork belly, wild striper with french gnocchi, and kumquat ice-cream. As the winner of the Culinary Clash, he received a scholarship prize and will now work with Chef Corey in May to compete in the Ultimate Culinary Clash against four other teams from Inter Continental properties. “I won $1500 against my tuition, but more than that I got a chance to work in a Michelin star restaurant and got to work with some great chefs,” he said adding that he will also get to meet new chefs in the next level of this competition.
Culinary education programmes provide students with the skills and knowledge they require to enter the culinary profession as well-trained cooks. However, competitions play a vital role in this education as they continually raise the standards of culinary excellence. There is no better way for a culinarian to hone his/her craft than by putting his/her skills and knowledge to the test in a competitive format. “This competition has given me more of a practical experience in how a kitchen functions every day and how much time and effort goes in planning and executing an idea,” informed Nanda.
Speaking of the way forward Nanda said that he was looking forward to working with chefs around the globe to learn from them so that he could fulfill his dream of starting his own a restaurant in India. “Food demands love, passion, dedication and lots of hard work. As a beginner in this industry, it has given me a push and has taught me a lot,” he concluded.


Why I Pursued a Culinary Arts Degree

My true passion in life has always been cooking. Being born to a father who had an unconditional love for his family and an affinity for cooking made me feel that being in the kitchen was where I always wanted to be. I always admired my father’s love and commitment not only to us but to his craft and even though he was a carpenter by trade deep down inside he was a chef at heart. He always took the time to explain the “who, what, where and why” of what he was preparing even though he was not formally trained or educated in this art. He always had a story that directly related to the dish he was preparing that would captivate me and immerse me into every single subtlety of its preparation.

Eventually, the countless hours that I spent with him in the kitchen helping him from the simplest tasks (such as scrubbing pots and pans or peeling onions) to the more complex tasks (such as helping prepare marinade for an entire pork or cooking it over an open fire) not only provided hours of enjoyment, but also provided the basic fundamentals and knowledge that I would need to have when his inevitable passing came.

I am happily married now with two wonderful daughters, and even though many years have passed since my father and I had our last cooking project the bond that he and I shared as a father-son and teacher-apprentice is still alive today. I view food preparation not as a chore or task but as something much more personal it is an innate and instinctive calling that I was born into this world to do. In addition and more importantly I believe that cooking is much more about the people you cook for than it is about the people who do the cooking. I cook for my daughters, my wife, family, my fathers’ memory and for all those who have trusted in my food preparation skills in the past, present and into the future.

"To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to do." -Kahlil Gibran


Watch the video: Le Cordon Bleu school lawsuit settlement (December 2021).