Several weeks ago, SF Weekly published a scathing article about seething culinary students at California Culinary Academy. To remind you, here’s an excerpt of some of the accusations put forth by disgruntled chefs-to-be (or so they hoped):
Many former students say admissions representatives told them whatever they thought the applicants needed to hear to get them to sign on the dotted line. The students claim admissions reps said it was a prestigious school that they would be lucky to gain admission to, when it actually admits anyone eligible for a student loan. The graduates say they were misled about the terms of their loans; many have since realized that by the time they finish making payments, they’ll have paid more than $100,000 for just 15 months of school. Finally, the students and graduates we spoke to were told that a CCA degree virtually guaranteed them a well-paying job at an elite restaurant. In fact, the majority went on to low-paying kitchen jobs — and many soon left the food industry entirely in search of salaries that would pay off their student debt.
In response to the article, the CCA held an assembly to address student concerns and fired back at SF Weekly, averring that the reporter snuck around the school (isn’t that a good reporter then?) and the paper “knowingly published false information” (it had merely published the public records from the state).
But back to the real issue: the student complaints. At the assembly, students complained of “dishonest admissions reps, overcrowded kitchens, and listless classmates who graduated without doing the work.” The academy’s president did his best to quell the fire, though it seems only time will tell if change will occur. On one hand, the dishonest admission pitches seem like a real problem, but on the other hand, what person attending graduate/professional school doesn’t have concerns about the reality of finding a job upon completion? Whether if be a PhD in search of a university job (there are very few of those, let us tell you) or a newly-minted lawyer looking for a decent firm, job searches are always tough; you’re not going to be the next Mario Batali off the bat (obviously).
Here’s hoping both sides make nice; there must be some common ground.