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The best culinary schools are the ones that offer a wide variety of student services and cutting edge curriculum. All of your time shouldn't be spent in the classroom listening to lectures, although lecture time is an important component. Cooking schools should focus the majority of their curriculum on cooking. Practical, hands-on experience is what it takes to turn an apprentice cook into a professional chef.
Being exposed to a world of diverse and ethnic cuisine helps to round out the student learning experience as well. Students should be given every opportunity to pursue voluntary internships at a few different places, and to hit the ground running as soon as possible. Culinary schools like The French Culinary Institute offer a quick, intense program designed to give students all of these opportunities and more. They go quickly from the classroom to the kitchen, and from the kitchen to the on-campus restaurant L'Ecole.
The French Culinary Institute attracts a diverse group of students from international locations. Just working side-by-side with students of different cultural backgrounds is a great learning experience. Add to that the culinary opportunities that exist in New York City (where the Institute is located) and the sky's the limit. It probably goes without saying that students of culinary schools in New York City have distinct advantages. Besides the fashion and social scene, culinary ranks right up there among the best.
So, when students are in search of the best culinary school, they should look for schools that offer a well-rounded and hands-on approach to learning.