New England Culinary Institute

The New England Culinary Institute is often dubbed NECI. This school is for those who are career oriented in the culinary arts. Located in the beautiful city of Montpelier, Vermont, it was founded by professional chefs Fran Voigt and John Dranow, on June 15, 1980. Chef Michel LeBorgne conducted the first class to a mere seven students. However, time has certainly changed things, now they boast over 500 students. Because of their popularity, they opened a second campus Essex, Vermont in 1989. However, this branch of the school was only in operation through 2009. NECI is vastly observed as one of the foremost culinary universities in the country.

A Diverse Approach To Learning


Unlike other culinary schools, NECI believes that their students will learn more by doing it themselves than being told what to do. By placing the students in situations that they are likely to deal with in real life, they can learn how operations in a busy kitchen really work. To help them in their teaching methods, the school owns and operates several restaurants in the Montpelier area. They also service food to the Vermont College, as well as other establishments.

The school has had positive results to their hands-on-learning methods. The students work for real paying customers, so the stakes are higher. This gives the student real life applications and they can use what they know to take with them to other establishments. Fortunately, this style of learning has paid off big for the college. Many of the students who attended this school go on to be culinary leaders.

While some students may be inclined to skip classes, being involved in the ‘real world’ training aspect limits this greatly. Students who are not passionate won’t make it in this type of environment. They are taught from the beginning that they must be professional and punctual, or they simply will not ever be able to work as a chef or culinary artist.

Low Student/Teacher Ratio

One of the great things about NECI is the 10:1 student/teacher ratio. All students receive individual attention. This allows them to directly communicate with their Chef instructor and they have freedom to ask questions. The students can also be gently guided and even the smallest of mistakes are caught early on. The school’s educational theory is completely surrounded by the small student/teacher ratio. Students get the close attention they need, it teaches them to work within a team, and puts teaching into real life applications that are useful.

While the school has no admission criteria, all applications are reviewed and approved separately. A chef instructor approves or denies the students. To apply, a student must submit a letter of intent and have letters of recommendation. Those who have a positive academic history will have a better chance of getting approval. About 54% of all application will be approved.