Le Cordon Bleu Facing Class Action Suit | CookingDistrict.com

Le Cordon Bleu Facing Class Action Suit

The Pasadena branch of culinary institution Le Cordon Bleu is facing a class action lawsuit from students. The suit alleges that students were mislead by advertisements for the culinary program. LA Weekly says:

"According to the claim, Le Cordon Bleu's marketing strategy reels in students with 'become a chef' advertising and the promise that 'a very high percentage, (80% to 90%) of its graduates are placed.' However, the claim goes on to say that 'those statistics do not relate to 'chef' jobs, but to prep and line cook jobs, and other low wage jobs, available without a culinary degree.' It continues that 'virtually all' students take on financial aid in order to enroll, then are stuck with student loans they'll never be able to pay off, since Le Cordon Bleu does not adequately train them to obtain high-paying jobs in the culinary field."

The school is publicly dismissing the allegations. Jeff Leshay, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Relations at Career Education Corporation (parent company of Le Cordon Bleu), said, "We believe this lawsuit has no merit and the claims are ill-founded, and we intend to defend against it."

Are you a culinary school graduate? Do you feel your school prepared you well enough to find the type of work that can repay an educational loan?
Source: LA Weekly


psuplee001 • 10/13/2010
We live in a culture of "give it to me now, I don't have to wait for it". In reality, though, it seems to me that no one is a chef until they order, receive, hire, train, terminate, act as social counselor, direct, guide, et al...in other words, until they are in control of a professional kitchen, having already proven their merit over time in other capacities in the industry. How could anyone think that a short stint in a classroom or lab could give them this type of experience? Not even a poorly guided marketing campaign can make you that stupid. Work your way up the ladder and stop complaining.
haisoodewa • 10/13/2010
I agree. If you're taking on $30k+ in debt (on the cheap side of culinary school), you need to do some independent researchreal planning. Years ago when I attended NECI they were very clear that culinary school is only the beginning of a restaurant educationmany years of experience are often needed afterwards before you can attain a good salary, let alone run your own kitchen.
cocinera21 • 10/13/2010
The above comments are true except for the fact that these culinary schools DO give off the perception that you will just "become a chef" after school. The general public does not understand what the difference is between a line cook, prep cook, sous chef or chef. I still remember my orientation for culinary school 10 years ago. They sat there and told us to never take a job that pays less that $80,000 a year becuase we were going to have this degree. Shame on them.
mathom • 10/13/2010
I am a grad of the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute. When I looked into beginning school (at the age of 35) I saw the same kind of claims: Become a (well paid) Chef. Never having been involved in the commercial cooking industry, I thought this was a golden ticket. Our instructors, while giving us a great education, also made sure we knew, no one leaves school a "chef". Like any other field, you have to work your way to the top. Le Cordon Bleu does push the edges of advertising, but you would have to be a fool to believe you could spend 2-4 years in school and walk out and run a successful kitchen. While the price tag for LCB is high, the suit is unfounded, in my opinion.
lowen001 • 10/14/2010
Why would anyone with any sense believe that they could receive a degree and automatically be quailfied for a high level, 80,000 dollar per year job? What ever happened to getting a basic degree and working your way up the ladder? Does a student who just passed the Bar exam get to be a partner in a law firm? The degree is only the beginning, it is a foundation to build upon. The true measure of ability and value comes from real world experience. These students need to grow up and get to work
jtuthill001 • 10/14/2010
I am a graduate of The California Culinary Academy in San Francisco now Le Cordon Bleu. I am shocked by this newsletter and they say ignorance is bliss-not in this case. No gastronomium can train students to be Chefs, it is that simple. The only school that provides proper training is the industry whereas Culinary School can only introduce disciplines based on French tradition. Furthermore, only experience will determine earning potential not an AOS Degree. Misrepresentation is an issue and nonperformance is an issue as well-the prosecuting attorney will argue fraud. Defense counsel will argue in litigation as this matter will never proceed to trial that the plaintiff's challenege to the integrity of the curriculum is absurd given the fact that these plaintiff's are simply inexperienced. Unfortunately, I have seen too many students over the years in my tenure of teaching who believe that upon graduation, they are now Executive Chefs. The arrogance and stupidity of inexperience perpetuates this illusion and creates conflict in the form of a lawsuit. Perhaps these students should go back to school because they didn't learn the true meaning of mise en place. The lawsuit is baseless and it will fail to materialize as did the plaintiff's.
simerman • 10/21/2010
Students should know not to expect to make $80,000 right out of Culinary school. If they knew anything about the profession they would realize there are years of "paying your dues" which means working your ass off for pennies. Ive heard nothing but bad things from Le Cordon Bleu in the US and while I feel badly for the students that they were misled, they do have some responsibility in researching their career path on their own. Shame on Le Cordon Bleu for misleading students, but shame on the students for not checking their facts first. I am a culinary school graduate, from a well respected Community College. There are much better (and cheaper) ways to obtain a good culinary education than to listen to commercials and hype from mediocre schools. I readily agree with jtuthill001. Well said
littlebitofmoni • 10/28/2010
As of October 30th, I will be a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale, Arizona. I noticed a wide array of people come through that school: those with experience and those without. Sadly, the school gave me the "puppy mill" impression by luring in hundreds of students, but keeping consistent with a 70-80% drop out rate (at the least). I can see how a student can get the impression that they would graduate from school as an "executive chef," but I attribute this to the fact that the school does not drill all of the stages of BECOMING an executive chef. Just like anything else, it's all in the delivery. I think that if Le Cordon Blue changed the way they delivered the message, students would not leave with the attitude that everything should be handed to them now that they have graduated from culinary school. I greatly respect those in this industry, but I'm disappointed about the "hype" or new "fad" of entering the industry.
jtuthill001 • 11/21/2010
In support of my position dated 10/14, I would like to broaden the horizon and reality of Culinary School, specifically Le Cordon Bleu/Scottsdale Arizona. First, I congradulate littlebitofmoni for earning an AOS Degree in Culinary Art. I also agree that the entrance into the industry today is vehemently exaggerated beyond embellishement and television has influenced the constituency in less than positive and realistic ways that have compromised the integrity and the institution of Escoffier in most deplorable fashions. Secondly, I also conquer that LCB Scottsdale drop out rate is significantly and rediculously high-Recently, a former student of mine aspired to advance his education in Culinary Art by pursuing the Bachelors Program at LCB Scottsdale in Culinary Arts Management. After approximately three months of absurd unheard administrative and academic problems and nonperformance from LCB Scottsdale, the pupil had succomb to inevitable understandable frustration and withdrew. The student did not stop pursuing a Bachelors Degree. In fact, the very day the student withdrew from LCB he enrolled in an alternative gastronomium and is currently studying for higher education without problems with no regrets for leaving Le Cordon Bleu. I can assure all readers, that I do not support the reasons why this lawsuit was brought forward-However, based on what my student had told me in confidence, it is no wonder why the entire Le Cordon Bleu ensamble is being sued, not just the Pasadena Campus. Furthermore, after studying the LCB Bachelors Program curriculum myself, this program is a complete waste of time and money. The Bachelors Program is nothing more than a repeat of Culinary School and a most expensive unecessary self taught process for those who desire to attend Le Cordon Bleu. I advise all my students both past and present to obtain the best education that money can buy and Le Cordon Bleu does not meet the requirements even with Ferdinand Metz. As an instructor, I maintain the school is in dire need of corrective surgery and I would advise students to pursue the CIA or JohnsonWales as these schools are the most respected of all gastronomiums. Good luck to all students pursuing higher education in Culinary Art-
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