10 Years In and We’re Just Getting Started

“Everything is so unstable in these times of progress at any cost, and social customs and methods of life alter...

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September 16, 2020 10 min read

“Everything is so unstable in these times of progress at any cost, and social customs and methods of life alter so rapidly, that a few years now suffice to change completely the face of usages which, at their inception, bade fair to outlive the age – so enthusiastically were they welcomed by the public.”Auguste Escoffier

And welcomed by the public we were. In only ten short years, Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts demonstrated that even culinary education can progress along with the needs of students and the industry.

In The Beginning

It’s 2010 and Escoffier founder, Jack Larson, envisions a place where culinary arts practice means more than producing skilled cooks. His model? Disrupting the status-quo of higher learning. In doing so, he incorporates unorthodox ideas like smaller class sizes and personal attention for students–all while hiring some of the country’s best chef instructors.

This idea that begins in two states eventually spans the nation as the only accredited culinary school to offer 100% online programs and include an industry externship.1

Looking back to the beginning, the identity of Auguste Escoffier, one of our world’s most influential culinary innovators, is extremely apropos. Jack wanted to renew the Escoffier name and pay tribute to ‘the king of chefs’. As an pioneer himself, he saw the similarities between he and Auguste. But the connection only grew from there, as the relationship with the Escoffier name soon became personal.

Family Heritage

Jack decides to reach out to Michel Escoffier, great-grandson of Auguste. He shares his enthusiasm for his dream and from there a partnership forms. Michel joins forces with Jack, becomes a valued member of the Escoffier Advisory Board and passionately speaks about how his great-grandfather would be extremely proud of his continued legacy.

“Let’s bring his legacy to life”, I said to Michel Escoffier after visiting the Auguste Escoffier museum in Villeneuve-Loubet, France. We had just visited the cemetery and looked into the crypt of Auguste Escoffier and it really hit me. Auguste Escoffier represented what we needed to do to change the culinary world.”
Jack Larson, Founder of Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts

A Great Place to Start

Sites for the two inaugural campuses were strategically chosen for their reputations as being ‘foodie’ cities. After all, what better place is there to create a culinary institution than in cities that celebrate cultural and culinary diversity? Boulder, CO and Austin, TX are rich with various lifestyles and their accompanying foods and traditions, making them a great place to start.

“It has been an amazing beginning to the transformation of the way culinary education is delivered. In the same way that Auguste Escoffier’s ideas and methods transformed the way food is prepared and served, and elevated the people preparing the food to professional status, the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts is elevating the way culinary skills are taught and in the process is making it possible for more people to access this knowledge.”
Marcus McMellon, Austin Campus President

We now celebrate over 3,800 graduates from our two ground campuses. But, we also continue to emphasize Jack’s original idea of small class sizes so our instructor to student ratio remains low. This personal connection is an important element in our teaching model as it is critical to individual and professional development.

“I feel that it is important to have education on your side to reinforce what you get in the workforce. Learning in school and learning on the job are very much different from each other. Today classical cooking and learning the basics of true culinary arts skills is not taught in the career world but in school you can learn that, and I feel that it is a core part of culinary arts that every chef should have the opportunity to learn.”
Anthony Avasakdi, the first student in Escoffier’s Online Culinary Arts certificate program in Boulder – with over 30 years in the culinary industry when deciding to enroll

Disrupting the Status Quo

In 2012, Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts did something that was then and still is unheard of in culinary education. In keeping with Auguste’s desire to re-invent and innovate, the very first online culinary education program debuted. Known as Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy, the popularity and enrollment of these online certificate programs quickly grew; and this growth powered programs at the ground campuses and online to evolve. Accreditation followed, eventually leading to increased program offerings, including diploma and associate degree options.

Today, there are five online programs in culinary and baking and pastry disciplines, as well as hospitality and restaurant operations management. And to date, our online programs have presented over 2,500 proud graduates.

“When Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts was founded 10 years ago, the concept of teaching culinary school online seemed absurd. It was our founder’s innovative spirit and belief in its viability that helped the Escoffier team navigate obstacles and evolve over time.” Tracy Lorenz, President and CEO

We’re Serious About Your Education

Throughout the years, Escoffier earned industry and institutional accreditation, making our programs more desirable to students and employers. According to the Council for Higher Education and Accreditation, “Accreditation in the United States is a means to assure and improve higher education quality, assisting institutions and programs using a set of standards developed by peers. An institution or program that has successfully completed an accreditation review has in place the needed instructional, student support and other services to assist students to achieve their educational goals. Accreditation has helped to provide the conditions necessary for the United States to develop diverse, flexible, robust and often admired higher education.”

Currently our institution is accredited by:

Austin Campus and Program Accreditation and Approval

  • Council on Occupational Education
  • Texas Workforce Commission Career Schools and Colleges
  • American Culinary Federation Educational Foundation
  • Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Boulder Campus and Online Program Accreditation and Approval

  • Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training
  • Colorado Department of Higher Education, Private Occupational School Board
  • American Culinary Federation Educational Foundation
  • National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements

Student Support Is Key

As our programs and accreditation expanded, enrollment continued to increase. We realized that it wasn’t enough to simply support our students from admission through graduation. We knew we had to do more. That’s why we initiated our Career Services department.

The objective of Career Services is to assure that students and graduates receive individual attention when seeking employment. Some of the services provided include:

  • Resume writing assistance
  • Application and job interview preparation
  • Industry referrals
  • And networking opportunities

“The Career Services team across Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts focuses on providing an enriching experience for our students. One that helps develop strong professional skills, which our graduates leverage throughout their careers. Career Services also places a strong emphasis on building a community of support, where students and alumni are able to network and nurture industry relationships and personal growth.” Patricia Souza, Vice President of Student & Career Services

10 Years is Only the Beginning

The expansion of our distance learning programs allows students to continue their passion, improve their skills and increase employment options. It works especially well for those without access to a ground campus or where a normal campus schedule does not suit their lifestyle. In the beginning our students came from 18 states and 1 country. Now we’re honored to include all 50 states and 16 countries!

As enrollment continues to increase year after year, so do our program offerings. What began as a single program providing certification in culinary or pastry arts, now offers multiple diploma and associate degree paths, both on campus and online. Coinciding with our ten year anniversary is the launch of our Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management program.

The expansion into front of the house roles is a natural progression. Even before the onset of COVID-19, we recognized that the hospitality industry called for multi-talented, cross-trained professionals for operations to run smoothly and prepare for the future.

“It’s been an amazing decade at Escoffier, rich with innovation and student success. As in the legendary kitchens of the King of Chefs himself, at Escoffier we’ve always embraced the spirit of hope and opportunity for all – it’s that spirit of hope – that defines Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts and the students we serve.” Kirk Bachmann, Boulder Campus President

Specialized Learning

As part of our program expansion, we introduced our exclusive Farm To Table® Experience. This course block is consistently ranked as a student favorite, and its easy to see why.

“I chose to attend Escoffier primarily because of the farm-to-table program. I believe in the importance of sustainability and ethical sourcing and wanted to grow more familiar with the farm-to-table philosophy.” Suzanne Armstrong, Boulder Culinary Arts Graduate

Designed as part of our culinary programs the Farm To Table® Experience provides students with an in-depth knowledge of where food comes from and the advantages of buying local. It introduces them to various farming and production methods, and approaches for making the best sustainable and ethical ingredient choices throughout their careers.

As we too learn and grow, sustainability has become an integral part of our overall curriculum. And in this anniversary year, it has also lead to incorporating a sustainability component to our core values.

Lead Responsibly – Understand, and act on, how each one of us can help improve our world through socially minded, sustainable practices.

Working Hard to Fulfill Promises

As a nationally accredited higher education institution, we are passionate about our promise to provide value in the form of a culinary education. We are humbled yet proud that our hard work pays off in the success we see in our students, graduates, community, faculty, and staff.

Escoffier Boulder Earns Military Friendly Designation
Great Place to Work Certification
Wil Lima – Escoffier Online Culinary Graduate
Quyen Trinh – Escoffier Boulder Campus Culinary Graduate
Stacy Sway – Escoffier Austin Pastry Graduate
Austin Campus Students Give Back
Escoffier Earns Online Learning Consortium 2020 Effective Practice Award

“For me, having access to the school online means it is now possible to receive the culinary education I have desired, while still being able to grow my business and take care of my busy family, without even having to leave our valley. It is awesome that in my lifetime, we have developed the technology making this educational venture even an option. I am grateful for the opportunity, to say the least.”
Kristen Douglas, Owner & Chef, The Main Event Catering; Online Culinary Arts Graduate

Looking to the Next Decade…

While the thought of a higher education institution only existing for ten years seems like a fledgling to most, our staff and especially our exceptional Chef Instructors have hundreds of years of combined experience. And there are BIG ideas brewing!

We are very much looking forward to the next decade…and beyond, with additional program and campus expansions on the horizon. Our growth will only be accentuated by the creativity and knowledge that we bring to our students’ tables. But what extraordinary dinner tables they are.

1 Our Boulder, CO campus is the only accredited institution in the United States to offer fully online diploma and degree programs with industry externships. We are accredited by ACCET – A Partnership for Quality®. ACCET is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency.

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