Considering community college for culinary school


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An article this week about a group of chefs who’ve skipped culinary school to work their way up through the kitchen ranks points out the perils of borrowing to pay for a $60,000 education that might land one a job as a minimum-wage line cook.

But readers brought up the fact that community colleges offer culinary programs for a fraction of the cost of for-profit schools and other colleges, and Los Angeles Trade Technical College is one of them. L.A. Trade Tech has among the lowest enrollment fees in the country (California residents pay $20 per unit). Its culinary arts program is four semesters for an associate’s degree; its baking program is also four semesters for associate’s degree.


Pasadena City College also has a culinary arts program, and I received information from Baldwin Park Adult and Community Education‘s new culinary program, offered through Baldwin Park Unified School District.

Ludo Lefebvre, the chef behind the LudoBites pop-up series, says he works with students from L.A. Trade Tech. ‘I’ve never had a bad student from over there,’ he says.

In an e-mail, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lance Ito lauded the culinary arts program at L.A. Trade Tech. ‘One aspect you might consider ... is the opportunity at the community college level. The Culinary Arts program at L.A. Trade Tech ... is well-regarded and available at community college tuition rates.’

Ito says that when he retires, he’s planning to take cooking courses at L.A. Trade Tech or Pasadena City College. ‘As an acolyte of Alice Waters since the early ‘70s I can hardly wait.’


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-- Betty Hallock