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600 Sw 10th Avenue Suite 400, Portland, OR | Directions 9720545.520300 -122.681647
Neighborhoods: Neighbors West - Northwest, Downtown
Founded in 1983 in beautiful Portland, Oregon, Western Culinary Institute offers training in culinary arts, baking, and hospitality program areas, attracting students from across the US and abroad.
Western Culinary Institute offers a full spectrum of culinary education combining the history and teachings of the world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School with a challenging and comprehensive curriculum. Opportunities for graduates of our Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Program and Patisserie and Baking Program are promising in the expanding hospitality industry.
WCI offers hands-on training under the direction of professionals who teach in the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts and Le Cordon Bleu Patisserie & Baking Programs. For our graduates, the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu designation can help open doors to a wide range of culinary opportunities in the United States and abroad.
The more things change... – I attended WCI in 1995, and it seems NOTHING has changed. They promised I would be a "CHEF" - only to find out after six weeks they only guarantee you to a "certified cook" level. We argued; they threatened me with defaulting on a loan I never took. I attended two other "classes" and same MO. Screaming, "You aren't smart enough to know how to mop a floor, I have to show you!" So, you don't even have to be smart enough to use a mop to be accepted. I quit and got a business degree from PSU. You know the place, the REAL school just up the street. When I went there it was $14,000 to run their three restaurants, for FREE. Now it is $40K+ You would be wasting a lot fo money and a lot of your learning time going to this "skool." Think about it, down $40,000, work for one year for free, and lose potential earnings (albeit at $9/hr.) of roughly $18,700 (52wk x 40hr/wk x $9/hr) base pay and another $7020 (assuming a minimum of 10 hours of overtime per week at $13.50 per hour, 52 weeks, which is an underestimate in a kitchen). You are out A WHOPPING $65720 for the year. Isn't that like a few years pay (maybe more)? Don't go to school for cooking, do a paid internship. You'll be happier in the long run, trust me.
Don't Work Here! – The education might be okay, but after several years of employment I would highly recommend NOT working for CEC/WCI/LCB
Employee turnover is extremely high due to constant micromanagement and unrealistic sales/enrollment goals (I always managed to hit/exceed mine, but the vast majority do not)
Employees are too scared to speak up and talk about the enrollment goals and potential pay bonuses from students staying in school...so here it is. If someone can fog a mirror and sign their name...they are "accepted". Do your homework and research before working here!
horrible staff, don't go here – The chefs are awful, very mean-spirited to students. They have an over 50% failure rate. They accept many students knowing that over 50% will quit. The staff are awful to the students. $40,000, and if you are one minute late on payments they will call you every day. There is a new school, Oregon Culinary, I switched to that and they were wonderful, half the price.
Don't go to Western Culinary Institute – This school will not make you a chef regarless of what the advertisments say, you will start as dishwasher or prepcook. It costs more than a 4 year college, while the degree means little to anyone. The credits won't transfer to a regular community college or 4 year university. Some of the chef instructors will talk about profesionalism, then scream at the top of there lungs in an unprofessional manner. It isn't true that class size is small, our advanced pastry class had to share classroom space with the begining class, depriving them of much needed space as well. Go to a local college and get some culinary hands on training there, its cheaper and there going to teach you the same basics, most chefs don't care where you learned or if it is Le Cordon Bleu, they just want the fundamentals understood. Buy some books like Larousse Gastronomique, On food and cooking and maybe Professional cooking, professional baking, and Garde manger...
The best lessons I got from Western Culinary Institute.
1) Show up on time or early.
2) Work hard....... don't think your going to get breaks like other jobs, your in the trenches now.
3) Shut up
4) Keep your head down.
Don't waste your money! – I 100% agree with the last reviewer. That "school" is a joke! I could have worked at crappy $9/hour jobs without spending the 40K tuition they required at the time (that was a few years ago, I hear it's much higher now). Most respectable Portland food service industries look down on WCI graduates because they don't learn anything useful. Learning how to cut perfect 1-inch dice potatoes will never be used in a real fast-paced kitchen setting. I regret wasting my money there and when others ask me if I'd recommend it I tell them they are better off getting a dishwasher job somewhere and working their way up.
Careers Not Jobs? Yeah right! – I went through WCI as a Hospitality Restaurant Management. If you want to pursue this as a "career", do not go to WCI. They flood the job market every six weeks with people graduating, and they are not highly thought of in Portland. There is no support for alumni, no one to call or at least e-mail you once they have their money. Invest the money you would spend here in another school that at least has a good reputation.
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