Chef-Instructor David Wynne and 2nd Quarter students at the Art Institute kitchens.
As Puget Sound Business Journal reported last week, downtown real estate developer Unico Properties plopped down almost $16 million for the building that houses Seattle's for-profit Art Institutes. However, the sale will have no impact on its educational programs, and the building that was sold, on Elliott, isn't even the waterfront "North Campus" that houses the culinary school.
Sources inside AIS tell Cornichon that the sale includes and a 13-year lease-back agreement with Unico Properties, and that the school's operations will continue as usual.
The Art Institute operates a five-quarter program in culinary arts as well as a baking & pastry program. Under the supervision of a professional maitre d', the students also operate a three-night-a-week restaurant, the Portfolio Room, overlooking Elliott Bay from the building's third floor.
Privately owned culinary schools (such as AIS in Belltown and Le Cordon Bleu at Southcenter) are almost ten times as expensive as similar community college programs (at the Central, South and North campuses) but government-backed student loans are readily available for prospective students.
The question is whether the year of expensive training is worth it. Does an associate degree from AIS mean a fast-track to an exec chef job, or just provide an entry-level job as a minimum-wage line cook?