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.