Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland
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Western Culinary Institute|
Horst Mager Culinary Institute
600 SW 10th Ave., Suite 400|
The Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland, formerly the Western Culinary Institute (WCI), is a culinary school located in downtown Portland, Oregon, United States. The school is owned by the Career Education Corporation and it is also a partner with the French culinary institute Le Cordon Bleu. As of 2006, the school had an enrollment of 805 students. The school became affiliated with Le Cordon Bleu in 1999 and changed its name from the Western Culinary Institute to the current name in January 2010.
Western Culinary Institute was established in 1983, by two local businessmen, Horst Mager and Donald Waldbauer, as the Horst Mager Culinary Institute. In 1986, it adopted the name, Western Culinary Institute. The school was purchased by the Career Education Corporation in 1996. In 1999, WCI partnered with Le Cordon Bleu so that their graduating students could get a Le Cordon Bleu dîplome along with a specialized associate degree in culinary arts, hospitality and restaurant management, or pâtisserie and baking. In 2000, WCI was the first school to offer the Le Cordon Bleu Restaurant Management Diploma, although as of 2008, it does not have a restaurant management program. A lawsuit started in March 2008 against the school became a class action lawsuit in December 2009. The lawsuit claims Western Culinary and its parent company committed fraud with its recruitment practices.
The school is located in downtown Portland, in the historic Galleria Building. The building, formerly the Olds, Wortman & King department store, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The campus includes classrooms, labs, kitchens, a computer lab, and a library/resource center. A student-staffed fine dining restaurant was also offered until early 2012 when it was closed, which will be replaced by a new Target store, still in construction.
Academics and associations
The curriculum offers two programs, in which students can earn a diploma or an Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) in either culinary arts or pâtisserie and baking. Students also earn a Le Cordon Blue diplôme (Diplôme de Cuisine or Diplôme de Pâtisserie). The diploma programs last 30 to 36 weeks, and the AOS program lasts 60 weeks.
Western Culinary Institute has been a title sponsor of the ProStart Knowledge Bowl in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The ProStart State High School Culinary Championships are hosted by the Oregon Restaurant Education Foundation and include different culinary and hospitality-focused events. Over 200 students from 34 Oregon high schools competed in the 2008 contest.
Western Culinary Institute is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
Two women filed a class-action lawsuit against Western Culinary Institute and its corporate parent in March 2008, alleging the private trade school misleads students with its sales pitches and leaves them ill-prepared to pay off their large student loans. According to the complaint, the school failed to warn students that their tuition would exceed their ability, upon graduation, to pay off their federal loans. It alleges the school also misrepresented its job-placement rate and failed to disclose that students would "not obtain material benefit" from the course of study.
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