If you are searching for a convenient, affordable option for professional culinary training, Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy is an option that you definitely may want to consider. Launched in June of 2012, Escoffier Online is the first fully online culinary school.
Study Culinary Fundamentals with Escoffier Online
Escoffier Online does not offer just another online cooking class. The school's Culinary Fundamentals online program is a full, professional curriculum in culinary arts that students can complete at their own pace, from the comfort and convenience of their own home.
The program is designed to meet the needs of individuals who want to get the skills necessary to pursue a career in culinary arts as well as foodies and cooking enthusiasts looking to master professional culinary skills for their own enrichment.
Tuition for the complete program is $5,000, which includes all necessary educational materials and equipment. Students receive access to a complete online training program and are assigned a professional chef to work with as a mentor.
The tuition fee also includes a kit filled with essential cooking tools. The kit includes a knife set, thermometer, set of measuring cups and spoons, chef's apron and other items that will be used during the program.
While the Culinary Fundamentals is self-paced, it is designed to be completed in a time frame ranging from one to four months, though students are allowed up to a full year to complete the program.
There are not specific start dates; instead students can begin culinary training at any convenient time. Lessons are accessible 24 hours per day, seven days per week, allowing students to work at their own pace.
What You'll Need
To complete the program, you will need is a computer with internet access, access to a kitchen where you can complete your assignments, pots and pans, and a digital camera that you'll use to upload photographs of your homework.
Modeled after culinary institutes around the world, the Escoffier Online curriculum consists of four courses.
- Culinary Basics: Content covered in this introductory course includes professionalism; knife skills; classic cooking methods; world flavors; and cooking with eggs, dairy and cheese.
- Culinary Groundwork: The second course begins with fruits and vegetables and moves on to units focused on grains, legumes and potatoes; stocks and sauces; traditional regional soups; salads; sandwiches; and poultry.
- Culinary Essentials: The third course focuses on meats and special dietary needs. Unit topics include beef, pork, lamb, with the final unit in the course covering health, wellness and special diets.
- Culinary Careers: The final course includes units on fish, shellfish, recipe conversion and ends with a section on life skills and career development.
Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy does not offer a degree program. Students who complete the Culinary Fundamentals program will receive a diploma indicating that they are "Escoffier Certified."
Firsthand Experience with Escoffier Online
As editor of LoveToKnow's Online channel, Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy officials provided me with access to the Culinary Basics course so that I could experience the program firsthand from a student's perspective. As a cooking enthusiast with no formal culinary background, I found the course to be very informative and easy to follow. I was impressed with the system itself, as well as with the quality of instruction, value of the information presented and the level of interactivity.
Student Home Page
I found the user interface to be easy-to-use and fairly intuitive. When you log into the site as a student, the system takes you directly to your personal home page, which has three columns.
The first thing you see in the center column of the page is a "Continue Learning" link which you will need to click to start your lesson. The system keeps up with where you left off, taking you to the proper starting point each time you begin working through the lessons.
Your recent activity shows below the continue learning link, allowing you to see at a glance the topics you covered during your last login.
The home page also provides links to access:
- Archived webcasts
- Skill database
- Glossary of culinary terms
- Escoffier recipe database
- Schedule for live instructional webcasts
- Webcast archives
- Student portfolio
- Student profile
Sense of Community
Even though attending an online class, by its nature, is a somewhat solitary undertaking, this system does a good job of creating a sense of community, letting students know that they aren't on their own to navigate through instructional materials and assignments.
- The home page features a steady stream of recent comments from other students and faculty members.
- You can join the conversation by posting through your student profile.
- When you're logged in, you can also see avatars showing who else is logged at the time.
As you work through the program, details on what you have accomplished and comments from the mentors you work with are recorded to your student portfolio, providing a link that you'll be able to share with prospective employers once you start searching for work.
The lessons themselves are organized in a logical, user-friendly manner. To use the program efficiently, you will need to have basic computer skills, including the ability to use a mouse, navigate web pages, be able to play videos, and upload files using drop-down navigation.
- There is a video introduction for each segment, followed by text and video-based lessons.
- Text-based lessons can be downloaded as e-books.
- Some videos present information in a conversational-style instructional manner while others provide hands-on demonstrations.
- Information is presented in a manner and at a pace appropriate for beginners.
- There are embedded quizzes for students to test their knowledge and reinforce knowledge.
- The quizzes provide feedback, letting students know what items they've missed so they can keep working until all answers are correct.
- Quizzes can be reset and repeated, something that is beneficial for review and reinforcement purposes.
- It's easy to go back and review information as needed.
- There are homework assignments at the end of each unit for students to complete.
- Students upload their work, including photos demonstrating their proficiency performing specific culinary skills to be reviewed by their assigned mentor.
- Assignments are scored, with feedback typically provided within 24 hours.
- Optional instructional webcasts are broadcast on an ongoing basis, with archives made available to students on demand.
- Electronic Contact Us and Help Desk ticket forms are provided, along with a toll-free support line phone number, to make it easy for students to reach out for assistance if needed.
Convenient Option for Quality Culinary Instruction
For many people, immersing themselves in full-time culinary student at a traditional institution is simply not a feasible option. Not everyone lives near a bricks and mortar culinary school, and even those who do may not be able to attend classes at the times they are provided. Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy makes it possible for everyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of a professional culinary education to complete a quality training program no matter where they live or what time constraints they must operate within.
If you're willing to make time in your life to acquire culinary skills, this program is flexible enough to allow you to do just that. Whether you're preparing for a career or if you want to learn to use proper, professional cooking techniques in your own home, you can master the skills that you need through this unique educational opportunity.