I’ve been hearing lots of rumors about problems at the Portland Branch of Le Cordon Blue cooking school. This has been a hard year for them, as not only have they been hit with tons of bad press – as have most cooking schools in the country, but the effects of the slowed economy is taking its toll. It can’t help that The Oregon Culinary Institute has been getting quite a bit of good press. They have greatly increased their involvement in the community, and seem to be concentrating on hiring a pretty darn good staff of local professionals to bolster their program.
According to what I’ve been told, Cordon Bleu has dropped their A.A. program and now offers only a diploma, but more importantly, they have shuttered Bleu, their school restaurant.
The loss of Bleu is not exactly a crushing blow for our restaurant world. I’ve eaten there three times over the years, and each meal bordered on either hilarity or awful food; both were memorable for their missteps. KM updated the review in 2006, and found little change. Still, it is the only way that many of their students have had a chance to work in something approaching a ‘real’ restaurant environment, so the closing will be a further obstacle for them. If you want to see students at work, I’ve had much better experiences at OCI’s restaurant down on SW Jefferson, and stop in now and then for lunch. It’s hard to beat a three-course meal for $9, even if it isn’t the most memorable experience you’ll ever have ($18 for a four-course at night). The latter can be difficult to get into, so plan to get there early.
I’m taking the online BA program from LCB and know a few Chef/Instructors from LCB at different locations; Portland isn’t the only one that is losing its AA. All of the LCB restaurants that are still open will now have homogenized menus no matter which part of the country the school is in, and the menu is mediocre to say the least.
I would think the Le Cor Don Blu course is not being foollwed properly by instructors there in Portland as this culinary arts school is every where in the world with various types of courses. The courses would be standardised. The teaching can be substandard. Watch for Cookng Schools Intl. Thailand affiliates Oregon tour 2011 for an off the charts teaching of Thai culinary arts including fruit carving.
That Oregon Culinary Institute’s lunches and dinners are a reliable, enjoyable bargain is an open secret. Better than getting there early, you should just make a reservation. Forget December, it’s been completely booked for quite a while now.
OCI is great, and the Art Institute (where I teach part time) culinary school’s restaurant “Sharp” is now open for lunch Thursdays and Fridays from 12:45-2:30. $12 for 3 courses + amuse. 34 NW 8th Ave. E-mail AipdSharpRestaurant@aii.edu for a reservation (although I don’t think they’re great at responding – you can also just walk in most days).
The last lunch service of this year will be this Thursday and Friday (12/9 and 12/10)
Thanks for this article on this school. I never heard of it and since they aren’t ACF accredited, it didn’t show up on their map. When I’m in the Portland area early next year, I plan to stop by and check it out.
Actually, the economy wouldn’t really hurt their enrollment—tech schools are pretty recession-proof. In fact, even as new legislation looms to cut government funding and many schools have been outed as completely useless, most workforce centers still push unemployed people to enroll in vocational programs.
The way that they’re being hurt has more to do with the painfully unweildy business model of their parent company and all the debt associated with acquiring them. Not to mention all the legal fees they’re already racking up. And, of course, really, really bad press. That they honestly deserve.
Angela Holland says
Just wanted to let you know that our student-run restaurant, now called Technique, is actually open and running. You’re right, that we’ve decided to longer enroll students in our associate degree programs beginning in February. That’s due to some anticipated federal regulatory changes. While we’re making this change to our educational offerings, we have no current plans to close our restaurants.
Hope this helps clarify the situation for everyone.
Le Cordon Bleu
“we’ve decided to longer enroll…”
I’ll be the first admit to many, many hurried typos, etc…BUT I’m simply a poor schlub posting on a website for entertainment. Conversely, YOU are employed as a Communications Manager, representing the school. I’ll assume you meant to say “we’ve decided to NO longer enroll”, because otherwise your post makes absolutely no sense.
I’d suggest in the future you proofread a bit more carefully. You are paid to do this, right?
I am amused that Zumpie’s dress down for a typo….contains a typo.
Food Dude says
Zumpie – chill. You could start a blog with all my grammar mistakes.
Sea-food dude says
well ‘m sorry to hear LCB is closing it’s restaurant, however I’ve had a couple friends that tried to attend LCB and got the run-around from the finance dept..
and if you look I found out LCB has/had a class action lawsiut pending and supposedly some dept of ed funding issues..
the food was great back in the day but when it sold to the big for profit CEC people.. it went in the hole..
OCI and even a few local cooking schools seem to be more on top of things.
Danielle del Prado says
I am looking for Russel langstaed who used to work there.. any ideas where I may find him?
Sorry to hear the restaurant closed. We planned our Portland trips around the days the restaurant was open. We always had good food and impecable service at bargain prices.