Hi. I'm looking into going to culinary school after I finish my B.A. in May, and I'm having a lot of trouble finding objective information about different programs. The only people I've talked to who can even begin to answer my questions about culinary education teach or work at the schools I've received brochures from, and I'm not willing to give them the complete benefit of the doubt.
My question, simply put, is this: Is attending a private culinary institue really worth the exorbitant tuition? I live in Portland, home of the Western Culinary Institute, an affiliate of Le Cordon Bleu; their program seems top-drawer, but they charge over $40 K for the whole shebang, not including room and board. I would, however, be willing to relocate to Seattle to attend the renowned culinary arts program at South Seattly Community College, which is accredited by the ACF but not affiliated with any haute cuisine brand name. As a community college, their tuition would amount to approximately one tenth of that charged by Western Culinary; however, they don't give off the same prestigious airs, even though their placement rate is 95-100%, comparable to- if not better than Western Culinary.
In general, is the education and assistance one would receive at a private culinary institute ten times better than what is offered by community college programs?