N.E. Culinary Institute

Montpelier & Essex, VT: Upon my arrival on the Montpelier campus, I did not recognize it. The reason was that the campus is mixed among the community in little restaurants and bakery shops. Their seven to one student/faculty ratio made me realize that if I needed help, I would get personal attention. You’re in school more than eight hours a day, six-days-a-week. The reason for these long days is to prepare you for the world of work. They run three facilities: a local restaurant and bakery, and a cafeteria on the campus to feed both schools. As the students work as a team in the kitchen, the chef supervises and gives his wisdom to those who need it.

In asking the chefs what the difference was between this college to others, their response was that there is more hands-on work and you’re not just shown how to do tasks, you do them. The other difference is the individual attention you get due to the student/faculty ratio. Here you learn every aspect of the business, as you rotate among different stations. There is also a physical requirement that you work out at the health club.

I asked a student how they fit any social time into this busy schedule. He said that you always find time, for you have to keep your sanity. Students have the option of living in an apartment or on their own. There is no grading system (just complete and incomplete) to eliminate the competition of letter grades. The Essex campus is 45 minutes away, near Burlington. This campus is the Essex Inn, which uses one building. The students run the whole inn from the restaurants and lounges to the over 200 rooms. In my view, this is the college for me. f

Reviewed in 1996