This month, the Kitchen Academy officially launched its Seattle branch (in Tukwila). A culinary school that’s part of the Career Education Corporation (who also run Le Cordon Bleu), Kitchen Academy is a fantastic concept that’s close to my heart. The 30-week curriculum focuses its efforts on 100% hands-on, accelerated course work, treating cooking like a trade. That’s because cooking IS A TRADE! (Don’t get me started.)
Of course, Seattle Central Community College has a great, affordable culinary arts program, but nothing this fast (SCCC is 6 quarters, more for the associate’s degree), and the Kitchen Academy takes more of a DeVry approach to teaching, learning through doing, combining the structure of schooling with the concept of apprenticeship. (In the restaurant world, a degree gets you exactly as far as the prep table in most restaurants.) The school also offers a baking and pastry arts program.
I chatted with a few of the higher ups from Le Cordon Bleu at the International Association of Culinary Professionals conference this past April, and they’re really excited about the concept. The Kitchen Academy targets those who want to start a career, or start over. The focus is to provide students with the strongest skill set for the restaurant kitchen, at a very affordable price, with as flexible a schedule as possible. No word on when or if more schools will open around the country (there’s one other in Sacramento).
With all the new restaurants sucking Seattle’s BOH talent pool dry, we need all the training grounds we can get. So If you know someone who wants to jump off the corporate ledge, the Kitchen Academy is having an open house on August 26th, from 3pm to 8pm. (www.kitchenacademy.com, 866-548-2223)