Kitchen Academy is a new culinary school, having just opened the flagship Hollywood campus in July 2005. I say flagship because clones of the first school will soon be opening in Orange County, San Diego and even New Jersey. Basically, KA is expected to become a chain of culinary schools across the US. KA was founded by Christopher Becker, who founded the California School of Culinary Arts in 1994.
Unlike more traditional culinary schools, KA's program is much shorter and carries much less of an academic emphasis. The program is only 7 months long. Class are 5 hours per day, Monday - Friday, and are spent entirely in one of 4 kitchen classroom/laboratories. There is one 6-week externship period as well, where the students work with a food service employer. The school being so new, the first class of students will graduate next month.
Also being new, the school's facilities are state of the art. And seem, to my inexperienced eye, pretty nifty. In any case, the location of the school is pretty darn nice. It is located at the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Ivar, just one block from the well-known Sunset and Vine. Just across the street is the Hollywood branch of Amoeba Music - handy, that. The school itself is located in the Arclight Cinemas complex, immediately across the walkway from the famous Cinerama Dome. Bonus - great music and one of the best movie theaters in LA right there. Above the school is a 24-hr Fitness. So, if you're in the area, feel free to drop and by and take a look, especially as two of the kitchen classroom/laboratories have glass walls, for easy viewing by the movie-going public.
The actual size of the school is relatively small. Each kitchen classroom supports a maximum of 32 students, so the most students working at once is 128. Classes are taught in 3 shifts (6am-11am, 12pm-5pm, 6pm-11pm), for a total maximum enrollment at one time of 480 (don't forget to add the students on externship). Of course, current enrollment is no where near that number currently. The most popular class schedule (and the one I'm taking) is the morning class, which is currently full. The other shifts are less popular.
A Little About the Culinary Program
Kitchen Academy's program is basically divided into four six-week courses, followed by a six week externship. Each course takes place entirely within one kitchen classroom/laboratory. The first Course ("Professional Culinary Arts I") is fundamentals: food safety, culinary terms, standard knife cuts, stock and soup making, etc. The second course ("Professinal Culinary Arts II") focuses on proteins, aka meat. Butchery is covered and fundamentals are put to use in making complete and balanced plate presentations. The third course is broken down into two 3-week periods. The first is "Cold Cuisine Techniques", including the fabrication (complete use of) a pig, as well as such cold things as salads, sandwiches, appetizers, etc. The second is "Baking and Pastry Techniques", which is sort of self-explanatory. The fourth course is "Advanced Professional Culinary Arts", in which students basically work in a restaurant simulation, playing their parts in a kitchen brigade on a daily basis and reinforcing lessons learned in the earlier courses. The fifth course is the externship.