Louisiana Cooking School: Does Culinary School Prepare You for the Real World?

  • By Charlie Ruffolo
  • 15 Dec, 2017

One common question you may have asked yourself in school was, “am I ever going to use this?” This can be a valid question depending on the topic and on the career that you’re working toward. If you aren’t going to be an engineer, you may not use calculus very often. Not going to be a chemist? Then you may not refer to the periodical table much outside of chemistry class. While an important part of a well-rounded education is having access to different concentrations and a variety of subjects, it is also important that your institution prepares you for real-world situations and life in the professional world. This is exactly what happens at Louisiana Culinary Institute .

When you decide to pursue a culinary career and attend culinary school there are the obvious skills you expect to learn, as well as the different concentrations that you are passionate about. However talk to any chef, manager, or restaurateur, and they’ll tell you that there is a lot more that goes on in the real world than just what happens inside the kitchen.

Whether you opt for a degree in advanced culinary arts , advanced baking and pastry , or hospitality & culinary management you will receive the highest training in techniques, strategy, and all things culinary. And as important as these skills will be as you begin your career, you’ll also be exposed to mathematics, English composition, leadership, accounting, entrepreneurship, and more.

These classes will prepare you for the ins and outs of everyday life in a restaurant, bakery, or hotel. Another additional benefit from a comprehensive curriculum is that you won’t be relegated to your single focus. As well as the peripheral classes that will give you the knowledge to manage the indirect responsibilities of running a kitchen, you’ll also be exposed to other concentrations as well; allowing you to know what goes into each role in the culinary sector.

At Louisiana Culinary Institute you will be prepared for each element of the real culinary world. Everything is in place from an experienced staff, to a carefully cultivated curriculum that will give you the skills and tools to be successful.

LCI Blog

By Charlie Ruffolo 23 Jan, 2018

When it comes to culinary classes it’s important to understand what road they will lead you down. While the culinary arts provide an avenue for passion and creativity, they can also provide the opportunity for a fulfilling career; specifically in the baking and pastry field.

Baking and Pastry chefs develop, create, and improve all of the baked delicacies that we enjoy at parties, weddings, celebrations, and for desert. While these skills are gained through experience, experimentation, and hands-on access; an education in baking and pastry creates the foundation that can launch your career.

What Do You Learn While Earning a Culinary Arts Degree in Advanced Baking and Pastry?

At Louisiana Culinary Institute , when you work toward your advanced culinary arts degree with a concentration on baking and pastry you will learn the techniques and skills necessary to create a vast array of desserts, cakes, pastries, breads, and more. Classes include: food safety, bread basics, professional cooking lectures and labs, catering, desert production, cake and entremets methods, custom cakes, confections, and more. While these specific classes are vital to the knowledge that you’ll need to pursue a successful culinary degree, there are a number of other classes that will provide additional skills that every professional chef should have, like: math, English composition, entrepreneurship, leadership, and more.

One of the most valuable aspects of this program at Louisiana Culinary Institute is the amount of business acumen that is included on a daily basis. Concepts like costing and including operation numbers prepare chefs for both the fashion and function of the culinary industry.

What Can You Do With a Culinary Arts Degree in Advanced Baking and Pastry?

Now that we’ve outlined parts of the curriculum behind a baking and pastry degree, what can you do professionally after graduation? Having the skills and ability to pair proper ingredients, tastes, textures, and profiles with your innate creativity opens opportunities at many places. Restaurants, hotels, bakeries, and catering venues all have a need for baking and pastry chefs. Opportunities for wedding cake designers, chocolate and confection chefs, bread makers, and a variety of other niches are also available with a baking and pastry education.

By Charlie Ruffolo 18 Dec, 2017

During the time you spend studying your craft you’ll gain knowledge and experience. Combined these elements will give you the tools you will need to launch a successful career. But not everything that you need to know will be in a textbook or demonstrated in a lab; learning from the experiences of others offers you real world examples, scenarios, problems, and solutions that you’ll be able to apply in the future. That is exactly what Michael White, Chef at Be Our Guest in Disney World, took away from his time at Louisiana Culinary Institute .

After he made his decision to attend culinary school, the reputation of LCI preceded itself. Louisiana Culinary Institute was the first and only school he considered. It was convenient, it has the best reputation, and during his interview he immediately recognized that this was the place for him.

As mentioned earlier, the classes at LCI are great, but what really makes this the premier culinary school is the stories that the chefs told. Instructors and faculty shared real life, real world stories, and were very honest and up front. These stories really prepare the students for life outside of the classroom .

What words of wisdom would Chef White have for future students and graduates of LCI? Simply don’t take this time for granted, it goes by way too fast. Be sure to take every word from any instructor to heart, you will use it one day.  

By Charlie Ruffolo 15 Dec, 2017

One common question you may have asked yourself in school was, “am I ever going to use this?” This can be a valid question depending on the topic and on the career that you’re working toward. If you aren’t going to be an engineer, you may not use calculus very often. Not going to be a chemist? Then you may not refer to the periodical table much outside of chemistry class. While an important part of a well-rounded education is having access to different concentrations and a variety of subjects, it is also important that your institution prepares you for real-world situations and life in the professional world. This is exactly what happens at Louisiana Culinary Institute .

When you decide to pursue a culinary career and attend culinary school there are the obvious skills you expect to learn, as well as the different concentrations that you are passionate about. However talk to any chef, manager, or restaurateur, and they’ll tell you that there is a lot more that goes on in the real world than just what happens inside the kitchen.

Whether you opt for a degree in advanced culinary arts , advanced baking and pastry , or hospitality & culinary management you will receive the highest training in techniques, strategy, and all things culinary. And as important as these skills will be as you begin your career, you’ll also be exposed to mathematics, English composition, leadership, accounting, entrepreneurship, and more.

These classes will prepare you for the ins and outs of everyday life in a restaurant, bakery, or hotel. Another additional benefit from a comprehensive curriculum is that you won’t be relegated to your single focus. As well as the peripheral classes that will give you the knowledge to manage the indirect responsibilities of running a kitchen, you’ll also be exposed to other concentrations as well; allowing you to know what goes into each role in the culinary sector.

At Louisiana Culinary Institute you will be prepared for each element of the real culinary world. Everything is in place from an experienced staff, to a carefully cultivated curriculum that will give you the skills and tools to be successful.

By Charlie Ruffolo 15 Nov, 2017

The students that pass through the doors of any educational institution all have unique stories, and all take their own path. Navy veteran and Louisiana Culinary Institute alumna, Aimee Tortorich of Gov’t Taco is no exception.

Tortorich began her culinary education at the Art Institute in San Diego, California. While enrolled, her mother fell ill and she left school to return home to Louisiana to care for her. After she recovered and the time came for her to return to California, she opted to stay in Louisiana.

After researching a number of schools she toured LCI. To say she was impressed would be an understatement. It didn’t hurt that the first chef she worked for, Nathan Gresham, was also an LCI alum and helped along the way. Tortorich’s love for the competition and the local chefs sealed the deal. She enrolled as a transfer student.

What was the best part of her education at Louisiana Culinary Institute? Students were encouraged to volunteer; the faculty to student ratio was also a key benefit; and the real world competitions like the Race to Cannes, were all high points of her time at LCI.

Tortorich also offers some words of advice for current and future LCI students , “Try out as many different fields as possible. LCI offers so much. Get involved and test out every aspect from catering to management.”

By Charlie Ruffolo 08 Nov, 2017

The reputation of an educational institution is directly reflected by the success and happiness of their graduates. This is an especially defining characteristic when it comes to culinary schools. At traditional universities, while there are a number of key differentiators, it is difficult to foster the creativity and energy that premier culinary schools can in their students. For Louisiana Culinary Institute alum, Christina Cox, this is exactly what drew her to LCI.

As a junior in high school Cox toured Louisiana Culinary Institute  and her mind was made up. With desires to become a chef at an early age, there was no more research to be done once she stepped foot on LCI’s campus. So what was it that made this the right choice for her?

The faculty . Of course the teachers and chefs at any institute should be a key consideration, but it was their honesty during her tour that sealed the deal. “The professors didn’t sugarcoat anything, and I loved that,” remembered Cox. They explained a simple formula: if you can get to class on time and keep up with the curriculum, then you are meant to be in this industry.


Along with supportive parents, Cox’s favorite aspect of her education at LCI was that the instructors knew where to focus. This type of industry insight prepares the students for the ins and outs of the food service and hospitality industries that they couldn’t anticipate from a textbook. Everything is timed as a well-rounded curriculum including leadership, accounting, and entrepreneurship classes.

What are a few words of wisdom that an alum can pass down to current and prospective students? “Make sure you are there before Chef Mike says, ‘Good afternoon!’ because that means you’re late. Have your uniform intact and looking nice. Be prepared the night before. Be ready.”

Christina is just one shining example of the chefs that come out of LCI. She is now a chef at the Blue Rose café in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Graduating from LCI doesn’t mean that you walk out of the doors forever. There is a tremendous amount of alumni support, which is just another thing that sets LCI apart.


By Charlie Ruffolo 31 Oct, 2017

Having aspirations to become a professional chef says a lot about you. A passion for food and an inspiration to create are at the top of that list. The culinary arts are a perfect outlet for these desires, and can parlay nicely into a fruitful and fulfilling career. But just like in most things, you have to walk before you can run. So this begs the question, “Do I need to go to culinary school to become a chef?”

While you may have been cooking, experimenting, and creating in the kitchen for years, there are skills, techniques, methods, and procedures that need to be learned. And just like it’s rare for an athlete to jump from high school to the pros, it’s difficult to become a professional chef without learning the aforementioned skills and getting experience in the industry.

Earning a culinary arts degree gives you the knowledge and experience you need to become a successful chef. It shows future employers that you possess the skills and education that they want and need in their establishments. So while this degree isn’t “mandatory” in the process of becoming a chef, it is highly beneficial.

During your time in culinary school you’ll be able to focus on the curriculum that supports the field of your choice. Do you want to be a chef? A pastry chef? Manage a restaurant or hotel? The courses in culinary school are strategically designed to equip you with the skills that you need to be successful. Furthermore, a well-rounded program will also provide you with insight to all facets of the food service and hospitality industry.

There are also skills that aren’t always thought of when it comes to becoming a successful chef. Skills you can’t always learn as you work your way up in a restaurant. Marketing, communication, leadership, accounting, and entrepreneurship skills are all critical ingredients in the recipe of becoming successful.

One invaluable benefit that culinary school offers is the opportunity to network. Your school’s partners and industry connections offer the chance to not only get your foot in the door, but gain irreplaceable experience. Furthermore, the staff at your culinary school are personally invested and genuinely devoted to your success. This means that they go above and beyond in finding scholarships , crafting resumes, arranging interviews, and helping you develop your career. These networking opportunities are entrenched in the culinary school experience and set you up for success upon graduation.

At Louisiana Culinary Institute  you can earn your Associate’s Degree in Occupational Studies in Advanced Culinary Arts with a Savory Concentration , or an Associate’s Degree in Occupational Studies in Advanced Culinary Arts with a Concentration in Baking and Pastry , or an Associate’s Degree in Occupational Studies in Hospitality and Culinary Management . Each degree program can be completed in 16 months, making the commitment to your career an efficient and valuable one.

By Charlie Ruffolo 20 Sep, 2017

On August 14, 2016, several Louisiana Culinary Institute  (LCI) chef instructors, students, alumni , and volunteers began doing what they do best. Over 45,000 meals were produced and donated to first responders, flood victims, and cleanup crews. Businesses and individuals from across the state and nation generously donated food to the LCI Foundation to make this possible: Sysco, Rouses, Hoffman Media, Manda Sausage, Camellia Beans, Gambino’s Bakery, Chisesi Brothers, Chappapeela Farms, Harry and David, Covey Rise Farms and many others.

The meals prepared by LCI were donated to the following shelters and organizations: Celtic Studios , Troop A Louisiana State Police, Baton Rouge Police Department, Baton Rouge EMS, Lighthouse Christian Fellowship, Mercy Chefs/Bethany World Prayer Center, Fellowship Baptist Church Prairieville, Louisiana National Guard Livingston, Red Cross Operations Center, Council on Aging Baton Rouge, French Settlement Catholic Church, River Center OLOL Medical Staff, Breaux Bridge Family Outreach, Livingston Emergency Preparedness, French Settlement Catholic Church, Fellowship Church Clinton, and Gonzales Mudout.

By Charlie Ruffolo 20 Sep, 2017

Prerequisites are a part of life. You have to crawl before you can walk. Tee ball turns to baseball. Middle school leads to high school, and so on. When the time comes to pursue the education that will give you the knowledge and tools to create a successful professional career, there are some things that you’ll needed to have done, or need to do to take that next step.  After high school, common requirements for college admission include a specific GPA and standardized test scores. But what are the admission requirements for culinary school ?

At the Louisiana Culinary Institute, three different curricula are offered. The Associate’s Degree in Occupational Studies in Advanced Culinary Arts with a Savory Concentration , the Associate’s Degree in Occupational Studies in Advanced Culinary Arts with a Baking & Pastry Concentration , and the Associate’s Degree in Occupational Studies in Hospitality and Culinary Management   programs all have the same requirements for admission. Those requirements are:

  • Proof of high school graduation or the equivalent.
    • Acceptable forms of proof include: a high school diploma, official high school transcripts, GED, HISET, high school equivalency documentation, or an acceptable home school certificate.
  • Complete the Louisiana Culinary Institute application, and pay the non-refundable $25 application fee.
  • Provide 3 references that can attest to your professional character.
  • Complete a short essay (500 words) that explains your desire to obtain a degree in culinary arts.
  • Complete the Louisiana Culinary Institute developed culinary math test.
  • Successfully complete the Wonderlic math & English exams. *This is only required for applicants that do not have official college transcripts showing credit with a grade of ‘C’ or higher in a college level math or English course.
  • Complete an interview with the Louisiana Culinary Institute’s Admission Panel.
  • Provide proof of citizenship.
    • Two forms of identification are required.
    • One form must be a photo ID.
    • Other acceptable forms include: a birth certificate, driver’s license, social security card, passport, etc.

Once these documents are submitted and the other criteria are met, upon acceptance into your program, there will be a $75 registration fee. If you have a passion to learn and create within the world of culinary arts, these premier programs prepare you to have professional success. By meeting the admission requirements listed above, you could be ready to launch your career in 16 short months.

By Charlie Ruffolo 20 Sep, 2017

Every career begins with education. Education can come from a variety of sources ranging from school to experience; the best education uses both. When it comes to an art form the best way to understand, appreciate, and develop the necessary skills is to dive in and get hands-on experience while you learn all of the ins and outs. This is exactly what an associate’s degree in culinary arts offers.

There is a huge variety of different professional opportunities in the culinary world. Earning your degree in culinary arts with a specific concentration is the first step toward these options. Furthermore a culinary arts degree prepares you for mid to upper-level positions upon graduation. It was with this degree that you’ll learn knife skills, nutrition, presentation, kitchen procedures and terminology, as well as business communication, and management skills. All of these combined with a hands-on learning environment will allow you to successfully enter the food service and hospitality sector.

The Louisiana Culinary Institut e  offers three different types of associate’s degrees. Each program can be completed over four semesters, in a 16 month time period. Depending on where your passion and career goals lie, you can opt for a degree with a savory concentration , a   baking and pastry concentration , or hospitality and culinary management .

Associate’s Degree in Occupational Studies in Advanced Culinary Arts with a Savory Concentration

In this program classes are held Monday through Thursday from 8am to 1:45pm. The classes in your first semester range from food safety and sanitation and professional cooking lectures to a variety of professional cooking labs. Your second semester features new labs focused around restaurant production and service. Semester three moves to more advanced professional cooking and nutrition lectures, as well as leadership and mathematics classes, in addition to more complex labs. Your final semester features more specific cuisine concentrations and career management.

Associate’s Degree in Occupational Studies in Advanced Culinary Arts with a Baking and Pastry Concentration

In this program classes are held Monday through Thursday from 8am to 1:45pm. The classes in your first semester are similar to the savory concentration, but also feature Bread Basics and an Introduction to Baking and Pastry. The second semester brings a focus to restaurant production and professional cooking, as well as catering and English composition. During the third semester desert production and cake methods will be introduced. In your fourth and final semester you’ll learn about custom cakes, confections, centerpiece design, as well as career management.

Associate’s Degree in Occupational Studies in Hospitality and Culinary Management

In this program classes are held Monday through Thursday from 8am to 1:45pm. First semester classes focus on kitchen basics and food production from a management perspective, as well as an introduction to hospitality management. Your second semester will feature entrepreneurship lessons, industry trends, accounting, and technology. The third semester will feature concentrations on management within different sectors of food service and hospitality. Your final semester will focus on communication, finances, marketing, and quality.

No matter which concentration you choose, starting your path towards becoming a culinary professional begins with an education that allows you to learn and do. This is exactly what an associate’s degree in culinary arts offers.

By Charlie Ruffolo 20 Sep, 2017

One of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make is what you want to do for a career. This is something you’ll spend countless hours doing and will provide a living for you and your family; definitely a major decision. And once you decide what you would like to do professionally, there will be a few things you need to do to get there. At the top of that list is education; the opportunity to learn the skills necessary for any given trade. Now there are a number of avenues one can take when it comes to getting an education in a certain field and earning a degree . With so many choices, it’s vital to understand what is important and what to prioritize when it comes to choosing a school. This is especially true for the culinary arts. So if your dream is to become a chef or to work in hospitality and food service, here are five things to look for when choosing a culinary school .

ACF Accreditation

The ACF, American Culinary Federation is the top organization for professional chefs in North America. The ACF is responsible for the regulatory oversight of culinary schools. Attending a culinary school with an ACF accreditation provides you with a top quality culinary arts education that has the seal of approval from the culinary industry. These institutions undergo a thorough evaluation of their facilities, teacher-student ratios, instructors and more. The Louisiana Culinary Institute is accredited by the ACF, the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education, is licensed by the Louisiana State Board of Regents, and is a member of the Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA), and National Restaurant Association (NRA).

A Proven Track Record of Graduate Success

Just as in other educational programs, attending an institution with a proven track record of teaching and training successful students and professionals is key to your future success. Look for a program that boasts high graduation and employment rates. Schools with strong industry reputations can provide access and opportunities for long term career success and high salaries. Also look for a program that has a large, successful alumni network .

Modern Facilities

Just as you wouldn’t want to learn on a typewriter today or use a slide rule instead of a calculator; the facilities at your culinary school should be updated, preparing you to step in a kitchen as a professional. LCI features a variety of classroom and lab facilities allowing students to experience and learn on relevant and applicable platforms.

Hands-on Experience

This is an essential quality for your culinary school of choice. Receiving a food focused business education will give you the skills and knowledge to be successful in any segment of the food industry. This is achieved through a diverse curriculum with extensive in-kitchen instruction hours. Depending on the concentration you choose at LCI, each program features a major component of lab hours, providing the hands on experience necessary for professional success.

An Experienced, Accomplished, and Diverse Faculty

Getting as many perspectives as possible can be an invaluable opportunity, providing insight for decision-making and enhancing your educational experience. With a curriculum that blends culinary arts with business, mathematics, and leadership courses; each featuring a balance of business and culinary professionals provides a well-rounded education. The staff at LCI comes from a variety of backgrounds and offers expertise in each element of the culinary arts and hospitality management world.


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