The path you are considering is more than a career.
It’s more than an education.
It’s a life—full of fun and adventure and really hard work.
At NECI, you
LEARN BY LIVING IT!
From the time NECI opened in 1980, the experience we offer is different from any other culinary school. We simply do not believe that the best way to learn to cook is by sitting in front of a blackboard. We throw you right in—our culinary classrooms are not practice kitchens or echoing lecture halls. They’re high-profile restaurants, bakeries, and retail outlets. This model did not exist when we began. We invented it.
Here’s another NECI difference: We are small by design. We have to be. To teach the rigorous, standards-based curriculum in any of our departments requires constant attention to your work and progress. You cannot go to the next level in any program at NECI without mastering the skills and understanding required in the previous level. That means we really get to know you.
Can we talk about Vermont? Not only is it gorgeous and full of exciting things to do in every season. This state is at the forefront of a Farm to Table revolution. Farmers, artisan cheese makers, brewers, wine makers, composters, organic seed producers, managers of CSAs, distributors, resort and restaurant owners—students at NECI become part of a growing community of food activists changing the way food tastes, the way it is grown, produced, and distributed.
A NECI education gets you out into the real world, building your network, finding your place in this fabulous, enormous industry. Every resident program at NECI includes at least one externship. The possibilities are endless. Everyone wants our interns. Why? Because they are kitchen-ready, with great attitudes, great skills, and a true desire to learn.
Reality is what you get with a NECI education—hands-on experience on campus and on externships. Classes small enough that your instructors become your mentors. Insight into how and where you can make your most meaningful contribution—and have a great life doing it!
Students Given Opportunity to Extern
Job Placement After Graduation
Time Spent In Kitchens
A NECI education gets you out into the real world, building your network, finding your place in this fabulous, enormous industry. Every resident program at NECI includes at least one externship. The possibilities are endless. Everyone wants our externs. Why? Because they are kitchen-ready, with great attitudes, great skills, and a true desire to learn.
Reality is what you get with a NECI education—hands-on experience on campus and in externships. Classes small enough that your instructors become your mentors. Insight into how and where you can make your most meaningful contribution—and have a great life doing it!
“NECI is where I first realized that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.”
—Robert Capazzi, ‘00
“At NECI, I learned the importance of valuing the people you work with at all levels—how to create a culinary team—from the field worker to the chef. Give me a NECI student and I know the job will be done right.”
—Matt Crudder, NECI alumni, Executive chef, Sodexo at the National Geographic Society
Why spend your time staring at a blackboard from the back of a classroom when you could be cooking?
—Phil Stevens, '05
“When students come back from their externships, we notice how they’ve grown and changed. They are more confident, edgier, eager to learn more, more demanding. They have a better idea of where they fit in the world.”
—Michelle Ford, Department Chair, Food and Beverage Business Management
“It all starts with a positive attitude‑‑the amount of information can be overwhelming. Professionalism means taking instruction. At first, the students have a tough time pulling it all together. As they get further along, students can get more creative. We are here for them all along the way. And beyond.”
—Chef Lyndon Virkler, Department Chair, Culinary Arts
“I meet and work with a lot of great people, but there’s something different about graduates from NECI. It’s their work ethic and attention to detail. You just don’t find it everywhere.”
—Duff Goldman, host of the Food Network’s Ace of Cakes
“NECI grads are famous for their humility. You see people from other schools wearing toques after their first week! At NECI, you have to earn your chef’s hat.”
—Nicholas Terry ‘14
I watch these students grow and gain experience and confidence in their ability to turn their visions into reality. I tell them that baking is a mindset and a set of skills. The most important qualities for any good baker are curiosity and accuracy. You can’t be afraid to try new things. And you have to follow through with accuracy and precision. It can’t hurt if you really like desserts!"
We have a real opportunity at NECI to create generations of chefs who believe in the importance of using ingredients that are sustainably raised, harvested, and distributed. This means fostering respect for ingredients and teaching skills that minimize waste. At NECI, sustainable practices are woven into our curriculum. Being in Vermont puts us on the front lines of exciting changes in the way we think about food."
It’s the perfect school for me—small town, small classes. I love Montpelier and I really thrive in a close community. I need the encouragement that comes from having close relationships with your teachers. The small classes also make it easier for me to ask questions without feeling like an idiot!
I’ve worked in the food industry for thirteen years, but realized that a degree would give me better job security. I looked at Johnson and Wales, but felt that I would get a better education at NECI. At NECI, I can takes courses, for example, in Farm to Table and Sustainability that I would not receive at a larger school. I felt that that I would make better connections here. The people who work here knew my name before I even interviewed!"
NECI was the best decision I ever made, both because of the professional network it opened up for me and the skills I learned. Some of these were simple skills—others, like how to have a professional attitude and how to focus on ingredients and treat food respectfully are much larger. Some people go to culinary school to become star chefs—it takes different qualities to run a restaurant like A Single Pebble. You have to know how to create schedules that work and how to work with people. You have to have the spirit of a craftsman—to tell the story of the food you serve. It takes professionalism but also a certain passion and craziness.”
Food connects to everything in our lives. If you have a good culinary background, you will have tremendous opportunity in the food industry. I chose NECI because of the intense education, which I knew would prepare me for any path I chose.”
I wanted to be a chef. NECI gave me the training I needed, and opened a wide variety of possibilities—after NECI, you can go out and get any job in the industry you want. One of the great benefits of a NECI education was the hands-on approach to everything. You don’t just watch it, you do it! After all, it’s not easy to learn about meat fabrication in a lecture!”