The mission of the New England Culinary Institute is to create a new and innovative way to teach students by immersing them from day one as apprentices to a Master Chef. The school aims to continue to add new programs to help better reflect the constantly evolving food and beverage market.
The Culinary Institute was founded in 1980 by Fran Voigt and John Dranow. The first class taught at the Institute by renowned chef Michel LeBorgne had just seven students. The Montpelier, Vermont, school has grown to have a staff of 84 and about 500 full-time students. In 1989, a second campus was added and is located in Essex Junction, Vermont.
The school is known for its programs that encourage students to learn by doing. As a result, the school owns and operates several restaurants in the Montpelier and Essex Junction areas. The school tries to maintain a small ratio of students to each Chef so that more attention can be given to each student to help them learn and grow. The school boasts notable alumni that have appeared on Iron Chef, named “Best New Chefs” by Food and Wine Magazine, and even been hired as personal chef to the Chicago Bulls. The school’s most famous alum, however, is Alton Brown, who hosts the cooking show Good Eats on the Food Network and has written several cookbooks.
Online courses are available to help prospective students learn about various areas of the cooking and hospitality worlds. Many classes blend online, lab and intensive classroom instruction to more easily fit into busy schedules. Online offerings include instruction on Cooking Theory and Food Science, History, Flavor and Culture, Ethics, Nutrition, Sustainable Harvest, Effective Teaching in the Online Environment, and Sanitation.