I'm looking to anyone out there who may be able to prove themselves knowledgeable on this subject. My goal is to attend one of these two institutions: CIA or FCI. I've 100% ruled out JW, LCB, etc. So now that its down to these two, I'm trying to see if there is any advantage to the CIA over the FCI in terms of what I will be able to learn.
I've only been working BOH in the industry for about 1 year—at a prominent steakhouse for a well known chef. I hold a bachelors in English from a small liberal arts school. I am 23 right now and won't be able to attend culinary school until next year. If I attend the FCI, I will be just barely 25 when I graduate versus the CIA where I will be 26. I don't know if thats significant but admittedly I feel a tad old by comparison to a lot of the younger line studs I've worked with (some incredible 21 year olds, mostly). I want to know if that extra year I spend in school is worth it versus taking that extra year to work in the best kitchen I can possibly get myself in to. For instance, a little extra time to stew over what I'm learning in an academic setting or expanding my cultural knowledge may yield positive benefits as a chef in the long run? Perhaps my understanding of what is happening in the pan would better my capacity to teach it to others one day—so would the CIA provide that greater understanding?
Any thoughts or opinions on this subject would be welcome! Thanks so much!