Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School

July 6, 2007 9 Comments

Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School

Le Cordon Bleu Is Closing All US Schools

According to Career Education Corporation, the parent for-profit company that owns the Le Cordon Bleu brand, the school will no longer enroll new students and begin the task of closing down current operations.

The 16 US campuses are expected to remain open until September of 2017 for current students to finish their culinary training according to a release from CEC.

Why Is Le Cordon Bleu Closing These Schools?

Todd Nelson, president and chief executive officer of Career Education Corporation said, “New federal regulations make it difficult to project the future for career schools that have higher operating costs, such as culinary schools that require expensive commercial kitchens and ongoing food costs.

Despite our best efforts to find a new caretaker for these well-renowned culinary colleges, we could not reach an agreement that we believe was in the best interests of both our students and our stockholders.”


Although Le Cordon Bleu was considered one of the largest national and international culinary programs around, there are still many culinary, baking and hostility management programs available. We are very sorry to see this institution close and look forward to see if another organization enters the market to fill the void.

Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Schools

I been asked by several high school students interested in going to cooking school about Le Cordon Bleu’s Culinary Arts school and various programs so I thought I would write a little about their history and philosophy.

The school dates back to the end of the 19th century when a French journalist by the name of Marthe Distel started La Cuisiniere Cordon Bleu, a weekly publication about cooking. She would ask famous chefs to offer up their recipes and teach their subscribers the art of French cooking by following along with the recipes and cooking tips. This cooking magazine continued for over 70 years and became one of the biggest French recipe collections in the world.

Marthe Distel realized her subscribers wanted more so she started live cooking classes for them. Now they had an opportunity to learn from the Chefs in person watching the chef’s every move. The first class was held on January 14, 1896 at the Palais Royal and the classes were an instant success.

As the reputation of the school grew, students from everywhere wanted to enroll. In 1897 they had their first Russian student and then in 1905 their first Japanese student. As the popularity grew, the demand for schools outside of France grew. In 1933, Rosemary Hume, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, opened a school in London.

After World War II, Le Cordon Bleu was accredited by the Pentagon for training GI’s in culinary arts after their tour of duty. One famous graduate from this program was former OSS member Julia Child who graduated in 1950 and we all know what she went on to create.

Famous Alumni Chefs

Besides the 18,000 students who go to Le Cordon Bleu each year, there are a few famous chefs who have graduated. Did you know that besides Julia Child, Mario Batali, Nancy Silverton, Giada De Laurentiis and Ming Tsai are some of the many notable Le Cordon Bleu alumni?

So Where Does the Name Come From

Translated from French, Le Cordon Bleu means Blue Ribbon and comes from a group of elite knights who called themselves L’Ordre des Chevaliers d’Saint Espirit, or The Order of the Holy Spirit, who wore a sash of blue ribbon to let everyone know who they were.

They would throw huge dinner parties where nothing was too good for them and over time, the term Le Cordon Bleu was associated with anyone who excelled in their individual field. Who hasn’t heard of a “blue ribbon” award? In France, the term became associated with top chefs and has become the symbol of excellence at Le Cordon Bleu.




Last modified on Tue 6 September 2016 5:01 pm

Filed in: Culinary Schools

Comments (9)

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  1. Laurie Moldawer says:

    While many schools share the name Le Cordon Bleu, they are not all the same. I attended Cordon Bleu in Paris in 2005 where at the time there were up to 9 months of pastry and/or cuisine curriculum. I believe some countries overseas had similar curriculum, though with a few changes. In the US however I think the programs are completely different because the Le Cordon Bleu name is licensed.

    One thing to note about all the star chefs who attended … many like Colette Peters only took a couple of classes or maybe a three week course instead of all nine months. The three week intensive courses in Paris by the way are a great idea for people short on time because they squeeze the three month curriculum into three or four weeks. When spread out over three months, the classes are very spread out and if you don’t do both pastry and cuisine to fill the day, you wonder why you’re spending $30K or more to busy part time.

  2. Karen says:

    Hi – I have just applied to LCB Paris and am scouring the net to find former students to talk to!
    I have so many questions… are you a graduate?? If so, I’d love to chat! Thanks, Karen

    • Hi Karen, congratulations on your new adventure in Paris. I am not a graduate but hopefully someone who has will read this post and reply. Please keep us updated on your progress through school.

  3. John Young says:

    Bobby Flay did not attend Le Cordon Bleu. He attended the french culinary institute.

    John, you are absolutely correct. Thanks for pointing that out. – RG

  4. Laurie Moldawer says:

    Karen I went to Cordon Bleu in Paris. Anybody interested in Cordon Bleu should read The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry. I haven’t finished it yet but so far it seems spot on to my experience in Paris.

    Hi Laurie, thanks for sharing this book with me. – RG

  5. sara hennon says:

    its always been a dream of mine to be a chef.. and cook glorious meals, and to share my love for cooking to the world. i am currently a sophomore in high school, and my mind is set to be a chef. this is the school i long to go to, but im afraid i won’t afford it. if you have any suggestions or comments, please contact me. thank you, Sarah.

    • Hi Sarah, how about speaking with your parents and guidance councilors about available grants and scholarships? Maybe your folks can contact the school and explain your situation and see if they have some ideas.

  6. Israel says:

    Hi I’m a senior in high school and my dream goal is to become a chef but I’m not very good at cooking. do i need any experience to go to Le Cordon Bleu?

    • Hi Israel, I’m sure they would teach you everything you need to learn, but I would ask you how do you know you want to be a chef if you don’t cook? You don’t have to be a great cook, but I suggest you get some experience at home or at a restaurant before making such a big career choice.

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