FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who can attend the French Pastry School? 
  2. Do you need experience in the food industry in order to apply? 
  3. When was the school founded?
  4. Where is the school located?  Are there other locations?
  5. Where do I park when visiting the school?
  6. When can I come for a tour The French Pastry School?
  7. In the full-time programs, how much time is spent in the kitchen, and how much time in the classroom?
  8. What times are the courses taught? Are there any exceptions?  
  9. What does a typical day at The French Pastry School look like?
  10. How many students are in a class?
  11. Do you have to share equipment with other students?
  12. What do I learn in each program?  
  13. Can I take multiple programs at once? 
  14. What are the total tuition costs?
  15. What does the tuition include?
  16. Do you offer Federal Financial Aid and/or scholarships?
  17. I don’t think I will qualify for Federal Financial Aid; should I try applying anyway?
  18. Do you accept international students?
  19. Does The French Pastry School provide housing for students?
  20. Why do you need my high school transcript or GED Transcript?
  21. Can I work while attending The French Pastry School?
  22. Does The French Pastry School offer career counseling?
  23. What careers are available in pastry after I graduate from the program?
  24. What is the job placement rate for graduates?
  25. How do students get experience outside of class?
  26. If I’ve already graduated from a full-time program at The French Pastry School, do I have to reapply for another?
  27. What is the cost of programs for Alumni returning to The French Pastry School?
  28. Where should I stay when I attend a Continuing Education Class or plan to visit the school?
  29. How do I qualify as a Professional for the Continuing Education Courses?
  30. How do I obtain my Official Transcript?

 

  1. Who can attend the French Pastry School? 
    There are no background requirements for becoming a great pastry chef. That fact is reflected in the diverse group that makes up our student body: some have culinary experience; over half are career changers. We have admitted lawyers, actors, cooks, police officers, students, bus drivers, chefs, consultants, and homemakers.  All students are required to submit a high school or GED transcript upon applying; from there, we mold your raw talent and drive. Your selection is driven by your desire to learn the venerable art of French pastry with some of the finest chefs in the world.  
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  2. Do you need experience in the food industry in order to apply? 
    No experience in the food industry is required to apply for any of the full-time programs.  No matter your experience level, the chef instructors at The French Pastry School will start from the basics and you will continue to grow throughout the programs.  Most of our students (between 75%-80%) are career changers who are starting to pursue their second calling in life or recently graduated college of high school students looking to pursue their first.  This creates a dynamic group of students ranging in age, experience, and social background.  
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  3. When was the school founded?

    The French Pastry School was founded by Chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sébastien Canonne, M.O.F. in 1995 as a resource for intensive pastry education.  The first session of the 24-week program, L’Art de la Patisserie, started in 1999 when the chefs moved their facilities from a studio on Grand Avenue to the fully-equipped, state of the art kitchens at the City Colleges of Chicago District Headquarters.  The school added its specialized 16-week L’Art du Gâteau program to the course offerings in August 2010. For information on L'Art de la Boulangerie program, visit www.fpsbread.com.
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  4. Where is the school located?  Are there other locations?
    The French Pastry School is located in the heart of downtown Chicago (226 W Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL, 60606) across the street from one of Chicago’s most iconic buildings, The Willis Tower (formerly The Sears Tower).  This is The French Pastry School’s only location but our chef instructors frequently travel all over the world to teach brief seminars at other internationally-recognized institutions.
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  5. Where do I park when visiting the school?
    The French Pastry School, located at 226 West Jackson Boulevard, on the northeast corner of Jackson and Franklin in the City Colleges of Chicago building, is conveniently situated near a parking garage that provides a discount to our visitors.
    Traders Self-Park at 326 South Wells Street is less than a block from the school. There are entrances to this garage from Wells (just south of Jackson), Van Buren (in between Wells and Franklin) and Franklin (just south of Jackson). See map.  Day-long parking is normally $18 to $23 per day, but with the school discount, visitors pay $14 a day (up to 12-hour period) and $5 on evenings and weekends (after 3:00pm M-F and all day weekends). Contact us to learn how to obtain the required pass for your discount.
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  6. When can I come for a tour The French Pastry School?
    Please contact an admissions representative at admissions@frenchpastryschool.com in order to schedule a weekday tour or inquire about other opportunities.  We recommend visiting during the business week (Monday – Friday) either during the morning or early afternoon so you can observe students in class and meet all of the chef instructors.
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  7. In the full-time programs, how much time is spent in the kitchen, and how much time in the classroom?
    Over 90% of any full-time certificate program or course is spent in the kitchen.  We believe in teaching most of the theory in the kitchen, where the chefs demonstrate, tell stories and show you examples of success and failure.
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  8. What times are the courses taught? Are there any exceptions?  
    Students of L’Art de la Pâtisserie and L’Art du Gâteau will be placed into one of two six-hour time slots: morning (6:45am to 12:45pm) or afternoon (1:15pm to 7:15pm).  Students will be able to select their preference upon application on a rolling basis but no time slot is guaranteed until confirmation.  There will be no exceptions made for any of the programs: once you have confirmed your spot in one time slot, you must stay in it for the entire session.  For information on L'Art de la Boulangerie program, visit www.fpsbread.com.
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  9. What does a typical day at The French Pastry School look like?
    The class begins with mise en place, a French term meaning to prepare for cooking. You will scale ingredients for the day; then, the first demonstration begins, after which you go back to your station and make product for the day. The chef instructor and chef assistant are always on hand to help you. During the six hour class you may observe up to 2-3 demonstrations and make a range of products.
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  10. How many students are in a class?
    There is a maximum of 18 students in each class: each term of L’Art de la Pâtisserie accepts four classes of 18 students; and L’Art du Gâteau accepts two classes.  The Chef Instructor and Intern Assistant will always be in the classroom to offer supervised instruction and answer your questions, respectively.  This class size allows our students to get a feel for what it’s like to work as a team in a professional kitchen but remains small enough to also give them access to one-on-one learning experiences with the Chef Instructors. For information on L'Art de la Boulangerie program, visit www.fpsbread.com.
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  11. Do you have to share equipment with other students?
    Our students work in pairs. Each pair has a KitchenAid mixer, Spring induction stove and a range of small equipment. We have no shortage of equipment to produce your pastries. Our teaching kitchens and educational facilities are expertly designed specifically for the art, science, technique and method dedicated to the pastry profession. We offer our instructors great autonomy in their use of top-of-the-line ingredients as they share their knowledge with our students who, in turn, have the rare ability to practice the craft without limitation.
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  12. What do I learn in each program?  
    Please see the corresponding syllabus for each program for a detailed description of class topics: L’Art de la Pâtisserie; and L’Art du Gâteau. For information on L'Art de la Boulangerie program, visit www.fpsbread.com.
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  13. Can I take multiple programs at once?  
    It is possible to take L’Art de la Pâtisserie and L’Art du Gâteau at the same time.  In order to do this, the student would commit to 12 hours of class per day, taking one program in the morning and one in the afternoon with only a half hour break in between.  However, it is possible and encouraged that students interested in more than one course or program enroll in them back to back.  The programs do not have any prerequisites and do not need to be taken in a particular order. For information on L'Art de la Boulangerie program, visit www.fpsbread.com.
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  14. What are the total tuition costs?
    Tuition, books and course materials, three full uniforms, complete professional pastry tool kit, all premium ingredients, and use of state-of-the-art equipment. There are no additional fees upon registration confirmation. The application/program petition fee is applied toward the total tuition payment. Admissions are conducted on a rolling basis, and classes fill quickly, so it is in your best interest to apply early to ensure your space in the desired session. Total tuition for the L’Art de la Pâtisserie is $23,700; and the total tuition for the L’Art du Gâteau is $17,000. For information on L'Art de la Boulangerie program, visit www.fpsbread.com.
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  15. What does the tuition include?
    Tuition includes the application fee, deposit, a sanitation certification course, all ingredients and equipment to use while at school as well as uniforms, toolkit and textbooks for you to keep.  The main expenses outside of tuition that you would be responsible for are room and board and your own kitchen safe shoes (we recommend Mozo brand shoes).  International students applying for student visas will be responsible for the additional application and processing fees set by the US government.
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  16. Do you offer Federal Financial Aid and/or scholarships?  
    Federal Financial Aid and scholarships are available for L’Art de la Pâtisserie and L’Art du Gâteau for those who qualify.  For more information on how to get started, please visit our Financial Options page or contact us at the school.  Federal Financial Aid is reserved for citizens and permanent residents; international students do not qualify for Financial Aid or scholarships.  There is no aid offered for our Continuing Education courses. For information on L'Art de la Boulangerie program, visit www.fpsbread.com.
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  17. I don’t think I will qualify for Federal Financial Aid; should I try applying anyway?
    Yes!  It is a common misconception that only students straight out of high school can apply for Federal Financial Aid.  No matter what your age or education level you may still be eligible for assistance.  Contact our Student Finance Director at financialoptions@frenchpastryschool.com to find out more about your options.
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  18. Do you accept international students?
    Yes, we welcome many international students from all over the world every year.  For additional steps, you will have to take as an international student, please see our International Student Application Guidelines.
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  19. Does The French Pastry School provide housing for students?
    The French Pastry School does not maintain a dormitory for its students.  We are, however, happy to guide you towards comfortable and affordable choices.  You can begin looking at the Living in Chicago portion of our website.  If you have questions about neighborhoods in Chicago, please contact one of our Admissions Team members, all of whom are very familiar with the city.
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  20. Why do you need my high school transcript or GED Transcript?
    All students of The French Pastry School must have completed a high school education or its equivalent in order to be considered for acceptance.  We need your high school transcript in order to register you as a student.  We use it purely for registration purposes; your high school grades are not brought into consideration during the application process.
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  21. Can I work while attending the French Pastry School?
    While we encourage working during the program to gain experience in the field, all students must assess their individual capacity for extra physical and/or mental activity. Students must ensure that working will not negatively impact their performance as students.
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  22. Does The French Pastry School offer career counseling?
    The faculty, career counselor, and administrative team build relationships with each student and offer in-depth assistance with career planning. We partner with our students to target employers, provide introductions, or offer advice to start a business. Even after you leave, these relationships continue as we provide career counseling and advice when you seek it. Using our network and experience to assist our students and help them reach their aspirations is important to us.
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  23. What careers are available in pastry after I graduate from the program?
    The French Pastry School offers extensive career education as a part of our curriculum.  There are many career directions that our graduates have taken: working in restaurants, catering companies, hotels, bakeries, wedding and celebration cake boutiques, food styling, food writing, food sales, teaching, research and development, country clubs, resorts, cruise ships, new business ventures, chocolate candy businesses, among others. Many alumni have opened their own businesses in all of these areas and continue to hire new graduates of The French Pastry School’s full-time programs.
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  24. What is the job placement rate for graduates?
    Please see The French Pastry School’s electronic Course Catalog under the section titled “Student Placement Data” for the most up-to-date job placement statistics.  You can find the most recent course catalogs on the L’Art de la Pâtisserie, and L’Art du Gâteau pages.  For information on L'Art de la Boulangerie program, visit www.fpsbread.com.  
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  25. How do students get experience outside of class?
    Each student of The French Pastry School’s full time courses is encouraged to get as much experience outside of the class as possible; this can be accomplished in several ways.  We recommend that our students start with stages – job-shadows in a professional kitchen during which you will get valuable hands-on experience and exposure to the industry.  At least one stage is required in order to graduate.  We provide students with a long list of establishments and contacts to get started.   We also offer several volunteer opportunities at various events throughout the pastry community; we require that each student complete at least one volunteer opportunity in order to graduate.
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  26. If I’ve already graduated from a full-time program at The French Pastry School, do I have to reapply for another?
    Yes, alumni must petition for their new program of choice. The application process does differ for alumni; please see the application process page for details.
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  27. What is the cost of programs for Alumni returning to The French Pastry School?
    Alumni returning to take another full-time course or program do not have to purchase new uniforms and toolkits (a savings of $1,190 as of August 2013).  As these expenses are included in the full cost of each full-time course and program, all returning alumni will have the cost of the toolkits and uniforms deducted from the price given that they are the style currently issued by the school.  If the alumnus’s ServSafe sanitation certificate is still in good standing, the alumnus will be excused for those two days of instruction and have the cost of the ServSafe Certification course deducted from their final payment. 
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  28. Where should I stay when I attend a Continuing Education Class or plan to visit the school?
    The French Pastry School is located in downtown Chicago. There are many hotels to choose from. We have located a few for you.

    Best Western River North, at 125 W. Ohio St. #312-467-0800. Ask for Reservations and mention you are visiting The French Pastry School. They offer visiting FPS students/visitors the rate from $95 - $129 a night including free parking, free full American breakfast and free wireless internet. The Best Western River North is about 1.5 miles from the school. These rates are dependent on room availability.

    Holiday Inn – Chicago Mart Plaza, 350 N. Orleans St., #312-836-5000.  The Holiday Inn is about one mile from the school. Ask for Reservations and request The French Pastry School Rate. Depending on availability, they’ll offer you a 20% discount on current room rates. You may also email your reservation request to ptorres@martplaza.com.

    La Quinta Chicago Downtown, 1 South Franklin, #312-558-1020.  La Quinta Chicago Downtown is two blocks from the school. Guests can book online at www.lq.com and enter the code FRPSC1 to the promo/corporate code field and the rate will be reflected if available at the time of booking. Reservations are based upon availability/blackout dates apply.


    Wyndham Grand71 East Wacker, #312.462.7058. Depending on availability, the Wyndham Grand offers visiting French Pastry School students a discounted rate for single or double occupancy rooms. Click here to see what rates are currently available. Once the reservations page displays, click on the “Corporate Rates” link in the top navigation bar. When the “Corporate/Promotional Rates” box pops up enter “fps” as the access code to view French Pastry School rates. A convenient location, about one mile from the school, with great views of the city and Chicago River, this hotel offers many luxurious amenities.

    Chicago Metro Crowne Plaza – 733 W. Madison, Chicago, IL, 60661, #312-829-5000. The Crowne Plaza offers visiting students and guests to The French Pastry School a discounted rate of $159/night. To reserve a room, click here.

    Club Quarters, 111 W. Adams Street. Search for very competitive rates at this hotel, located just a couple blocks away from the school, online through Hotels.com, Travelocity, or Expedia.. Special rates for non-members may be available online depending on availability. You may reserve a room ONLY through the internet in order to get their special club rate.
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  29. How do I qualify as a Professional for the Continuing Education Courses?
    Most professionals currently working in the pastry industry or graduates of Pastry and Baking programs will feel comfortable taking these courses.  In order to focus on other techniques, the chef instructors of Professional-level courses will take for granted that students understand the basics of the topic they are teaching.  There is no official prerequisite for taking a professional course but we want to be sure that our students learn at a pace that is most comfortable for them so their experience with us is enjoyable and enlightening.  If you’re not sure, we recommend starting with a Food Enthusiast-level course.
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  30. How do I obtain my Official Transcript?
    French Pastry School students are enrolled through Kennedy-King College at City Colleges of Chicago.  Official transcripts are to be obtained through City Colleges of Chicago.  Login to the Alumni Center for complete details.
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