Students file class-action lawsuit ag...

Students file class-action lawsuit against California Culinary Academy

There are 29 comments on the www.sfweekly.com story from Oct 9, 2007, titled Students file class-action lawsuit against California Culinary Academy. In it, www.sfweekly.com reports that:

Le Cordon Blah The peanut-butter-and-jelly-pizza class project was definitely a red flag.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at www.sfweekly.com.

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Catherine Head

Kewaskum, WI

#1 Oct 16, 2007
My son was told he would qualify for federal grants and no interest loans. He applied and was accepted to culinary school. Four days before graduation, he was told that the school had made a mistake and he would have to borrow all money privately or he would not graduate. An education that should have cost him $13,000.00 has ended up costly him over $60,000.00.
Has anyone else had this happen to them?
Please reply to vhead@bak.rr.com
Daniel O

Shafter, CA

#2 Jan 9, 2008
I was told that my class and I would be in high demand after graduation and that we would be making a six figure salary.(reality $10per hr)I did learn alot from the school and felt that all my Chef Instrucors where great.My student loan was almost $60,000.00 and over the term of my loan it will amount to over $180,000.00. My monthly payments are over $600.00 and I make $1,200.00 a month.I fill that I will have this debt forever and not be able to afford anything, i.e. house,family,retirement,etc.I believe that the school recruiters glorified the school and this indusrty, FRAUD! That is what the new company which owns the school is all about praying on young kids with big dreams. Thanks
Adriana

Watertown, NY

#3 Jan 29, 2008
Daniel O wrote:
I was told that my class and I would be in high demand after graduation and that we would be making a six figure salary.(reality $10per hr)I did learn alot from the school and felt that all my Chef Instrucors where great.My student loan was almost $60,000.00 and over the term of my loan it will amount to over $180,000.00. My monthly payments are over $600.00 and I make $1,200.00 a month.I fill that I will have this debt forever and not be able to afford anything, i.e. house,family,retirement,etc.I believe that the school recruiters glorified the school and this indusrty, FRAUD! That is what the new company which owns the school is all about praying on young kids with big dreams. Thanks
I am right there with you. I was told the same thing. I changed my mind two days after I started school and when I went to the office they talked me right back into it. I'm sad to say that I had to join the military just so that I could get a set interest rate and be able to afford paying my loan back..... 150,000.
Matthew Jarvis

Rancho Santa Fe, CA

#4 Feb 28, 2008
I'm one of the three people featured in the Burnt Chefs article and part of the class action lawsuit.The CCA is no good, and the CEC who heads it up has been sued in it's other schools as well. City colleges are the way to go for these types of programs. Please pass any helpful info along to people who dream of becoming a Chef. Also, leaning within a restaurant is also a good way to go. I make great money but it has nothing to do with that place. It's all desire. Matthew Jarvis (cookitnow@hotmail.com)
Suzanne Quiett

Atherton, CA

#5 May 16, 2008
I also attended CCA, I graduated last year in 07, I was lied to the entire time I went there. I was told that in the culinary program you were able to learn many of the pastry areas such as sugar pulling, chocolate sculpting and modeling, sugar blowing and sculptures, and I never learned any of it, even with trying to finagle with the other pastry chefs just to sit in on their class to see it. Nope, never happened. I was also told that great chefs graduate from CCA, and when I graduate I can get a job quickly as a sous-chef or even executive, and “own my own restaurant within 2 years”, They didn’t tell me that their turnover rate of shoddy prep-cooks, made it difficult to even get a job after graduation, and harder still to get an externship. I was blackballed from several places before they even met me, they looked at my education, raised their eyebrows in complete dissatisfaction and tossed my resume (that CCA so generously helped me write) across their desk back to me, explaining that they hold no merit in that school. I couldn’t even get an entry-level prep position. I have refinanced my loans, spent countless spare hours writing grants and gotten almost no where. I don’t pay quite as much as the poor fellows that didn’t have a co-signer, but I can tell you, here are only 3 people from my class that are still cooking, and all three of us have two or more jobs to survive. CCA is criminal for what they do to us, we’re nothing but a dollar symbol. If anyone has any information that could help, please pass it on,
Q - wolf.faer@yahoo.com
ROJO

Hesperus, CO

#6 May 21, 2008
So for, let's see(as of now $108,000 and still paying $1287.00 a month on a 18.64% loan that some undereducated CCA financial aid rep help me get into) I got out of the CCA was a few really good friends, sleepless nights, relocated away from the city which I love and cannot afford to live anymore, a job in which I am not so passionate for(NOT CULINARY), Anxiety and other severe disorders, like hiding and screening calls, I even have this problem with all my other credit cards and bills! I can't afford to live anywhere and work in the field in which I've spent hours of desire, hard labor, commitment and lets not forget a endless fortune that I'm paying. In reality All said thus far very true except, All of my desire and commitment have finally started to pay off! I finally work in the film catering business, very very long hours and pay is fairly good but all of my hard work has nothing to do with the CCA and their paper chef mill. Sorry but it's true, we all had a better chance before the CCA took our lives over.
ROJO

Hesperus, CO

#7 May 21, 2008
Let's see(as of now $108,000 and still paying $1287.00 a month on a 18.64% loan that some undereducated CCA financial aid rep help me get into) I got out of the CCA was a few really good friends, sleepless nights, relocated away from the city which I love and cannot afford to live anymore, a job in which I am not so passionate for(NOT CULINARY), Anxiety and other severe disorders, like hiding and screening calls, I even have this problem with all my other credit cards and bills! I can't afford to live anywhere and work in the field in which I've spent hours of desire, hard labor, commitment and lets not forget a endless fortune that I'm paying. In reality All said thus far very true except, All of my desire and commitment have finally started to pay off! I finally work in the film catering business, very very long hours and pay is fairly good but all of my hard work has nothing to do with the CCA and their paper chef mill. Sorry but it's true, we all had a better chance before the CCA took our lives over.
BIP

United States

#8 Jul 17, 2008
I graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography in Ventura CA, another school owned by CEC, and I can tell you that I experienced the exact same things. They lied to us and told us that less than 25% of the people that apply get accepted, but in reality nearly every single person that applies is accepted. This was an attempt on their part to make the school seem Elite, and make us feel as though we were fortunate to be accepted into this world class film school. I am now $120,000. in debt and not even working in the industry. We were promised job placement which we never received and the list just goes on and on. I gross around $2,000. a month right now working in a doctor's office and my loan payments are roughly around $1,500. a month which of course I can not afford to pay. I wish i would have went to a state university and majored in Psychology or something more realistic.): I too am part of the Class action law suit. I received an e-mail from the auditor that I will be getting a payment check sometime in October. Does anyona know how much we will REALLY get? I don't trust Class action lawyers.
Drew

Olympia, WA

#10 Nov 11, 2008
I am one of the lucky ones!!! It had little or nothing to do with the CCA however. Sure my loan payments are high as well as the intrest rate. I will probably be 60 years old before I pay them off. My credit is screwed. My point is best case for a new student at the CCA. You get that Sous Chef job after 4 years of prep line and ect. You are doing what you love. As great as that is Your still screwed because you couldn't make your loan payments for 4years and now that you can it's inflated so much you can't find the reason behind paying them. I've been a cook since i was 17 years old. I was running a small kitchen before I went to school. I got lucky by getting a internship with a food and wine top new chef the year she got it. Some one was looking out for me. Wasen't the CCA, and I'm still screwed.
Heidi

Mountain View, CA

#11 Nov 21, 2008
I graduated ‘04, and frankly I’m at a loss about this whole thing. I really feel both the school AND the students are to blame. First of all, I’d really like to know what was going through these students’ heads when they decided to enroll.“Being a chef in a kitchen…peice of cake??” Even the ones with no experience (and I was one of those) must have at least dined at restaurants before and seen those tired, sweaty cooks making their food! Life is what you make of it! No school in my opinion, no matter what they charge or what they promise, is responsible for not teaching that motto. It’s common sense. Sure, the tuition was outrageous, but you know this going into it. And yeah, they promise affordable loans but everyone should know that’s always tricky business. I’m sorry, I’m just not really seeing what case there is here to file a lawsuit??!! I signed up in ‘03, they gave me the whole song and dance about all my amazing opportunities, but I knew I would have to work hard for those! I got out of CCA just as much as I put into it. I knew I needed a degree and an internship somewhere amazing so I worked my ass off to get that. I went to Tuscany for my internship and it changed my life. CCA gave me that. You can say what you want about all their lies, but I owe my amazing, life changing experience to them. But I made that happen. And when I came back from Italy, I staged and worked wherever I could to learn more, before finally stepping out of the kitchen and exploring other branches of the industry like food writing and restaurant administration. I’ve worked with magazines, newspapers, restaurants like Bouchon and Quince. And none of that would have happened had I not went to the CCA because it gave me that first small step. That’s all they can do…YOU have to do the rest!

In fact, the worst thing I can say about CCA is that they’ve shelled out so many passionless and talentless cooks lately that I'm embarassed to even mention I went there now. No good restaurants I know will even accept CCA grads. That school's biggest fault is turning it into some kind of heald or devry business school shelling out degrees left and right to kids who are so unmotivated, so clueless that I almost wonder if they even liked cuisine…or was it just a coin toss? Like, heads-culinary school, tails-medical assisting? And CCA’s biggest fault is preying on kids like this, and reducing their curriculum in order to squeeze in as many victims as they can. But should they be sued for this? I don’t know. I think other corporations like them would give them an award.

The last thought I’ll leave on this very long comment is this: Aren’t we all supposed to struggle and fight for what we’re passionate about? Doesn’t that make it better? And if you weren’t passionate about it, and just wanted an easy degree to get out there and start making cash, aren't these just the consequences of your actions?
scammed

Moab, UT

#12 Jan 29, 2009
In 2006 CCA said my son, just out of high school, did not qualify for a loan and that I could get a student loan in my name for him. The recuiter said that my son would get a graduating certificate after one year of instruction. Just sign for the loan!($24k)
After 6 months, I received a call telling me to apply for another $24,000 loan so my son could graduate in 6 more months. I argued the facts of what I was told. I was blue in the face and my son had to drop out. I am now in debt for 30 years.(the price of a down payment on a home)And I can't even claim the interest, cause I am not the student.
Jessica

United States

#14 Nov 10, 2009
I am a guaduate from the CCA and so is one of my co-workers he recieved a letter in the mail about this lawsuit. I'm wondering how come I didnt and how I can find out more about it. I ended up having 4 different loans and one of those loans was with a totally different company that I had know idea about and I almost defaulted on. I hope there is some one who can let me know alittle more about what is going on.
EOL George

Roslyn Heights, NY

#15 Jan 31, 2010
Hi,

I'm going to be writing an article on this for my blog and would love to hear about how th is lawsuit is going or comments from any previous students. Visit escoffier.com an use the contact link to get to me.

Thanks,

George
Tobey

Olympia, WA

#16 Aug 17, 2010
I attended the California Culinary Academy beginning in January of 1979 when the original founder, Danielle Carlysle was the head of the school. Cyril Magnin was a big supporter of this school and often came to eat in the dining room at the old location on Fremont Street near the bus terminal.

My tuition was $1,200.00 per quarter and we attended school 8 hours a day/5 days a week.

I chose not to graduate from CCA and it was later sold to first McKesson. Perhaps it is owned by Le Cordon Bleu now but I am shocked at the price tag for the education there. Really, perhaps this country needs to develop a strong apprenticeship system like in France. That may be the way to go.$60,000 in tuition. I am shocked.
Doug

Oakland, CA

#17 Oct 10, 2010
I'm a current CCA student, when i was approached about attending CCA my admissions representative told me that this school was prestegious, that i was going to get a really good job when i graduate. I'm almost done with my first year of school and i havn't been able to find a job, the school's career services is a joke. I gave them numerous resumes and then i would check back with them with them telling me that me having no job wasn't their problem.Now i'm about to be homeless in a new city where i don't know anyone and have no friends and i'm going to be in debt for the rest of my life, well thanks a lot for nothing CCA wow you really did a great job, NOT!!!!!. Wow this sucks, so i'd like to get in on this lawsuit so that i can recoup some or all of the money that my family and I invested in a fraudulent company thanks
cmt

Oakland, CA

#18 Dec 12, 2010
I attended the program and graduated in 2004. I too was told by the reps that I would have life-time job placement and that I should anticipate getting a great paying job once I graduated. I ended up with a job paying $10/hr and $30,000+ in student loans. The program is a disgrace..you can receive the same level of training, if not better at a community college for way less money.
Ken718

Belleville, NJ

#19 Mar 16, 2011
Does anyone know of a class action lawsuit against Katharine Gibbs School?
Devon

Santa Cruz, CA

#20 Mar 24, 2011
I graduated the CCA in 2004, landed a sous-chef job straight out of school, have been the executive of three separate restaurant's. The education was not the problem, the fraudulent manner in which the school presented the student loan scenarios is the real issue. I now do catering work, am somewhat successful and I still cannot keep up with this student loan nonsense!
EOLGeorge

Long Beach, NY

#21 Mar 24, 2011
Devon wrote:
I graduated the CCA in 2004, landed a sous-chef job straight out of school, have been the executive of three separate restaurant's. The education was not the problem, the fraudulent manner in which the school presented the student loan scenarios is the real issue. I now do catering work, am somewhat successful and I still cannot keep up with this student loan nonsense!
Devon I think you hit the nail on the head. The culinary education offered is fine. There are a log of great Chef Instructors working at these schools.(for low wages compared to what the programs charge) It's he expense of the programs and the methods used by the sales staff that cross the line.

The other issue is that the degrees and credits aren't honored by most other colleges if you hope to get a BA or Masters.

Cheers,

G
Jul

Lancaster, CA

#22 Apr 3, 2011
I recently graduated from lcb in November and am sad to say that I agree with this. My tuition is about 50,000 and I can't pay it back. I'm only 20 and am in debt. I make 9$/hr and am now only getting 10 to 15 hours a week. I don't feel that I got enough from the school to pay this much. My payments will go up to 800$/month in may and I haven't been able to pay since feb. I feel fooled and the stress of it all has made me regret my career choice even though I still have a great passion for the culinary arts.

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