Le Cordon Bleu Cooking Schools To Close Throughout United States

Career Education Corporation will close all of its branches of Le Cordon Bleu in the United States, citing struggles with high operating costs. CECO, a controversial for-profit higher education enterprise, licensed brand rights to the 120-year-old French culinary institution in 1999, and bought the brand outright for the U.S. and Canada ten years later.

The closures will not affect the brand's international schools, like its Paris flagship, now owned by André Cointreau of the French liquor dynasty, which counts the beloved Julia Child among its pupils.

In the U.S., Le Cordon Bleu has schools in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Orlando, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Scottsdale, and Seattle.

In a press release, CECO president Todd Nelson said that while the company had initially sought a buyer for Le Cordon Bleu North America, the decision was ultimately made to "teach out" its students and then shutter — a quicker and cheaper option to the brand's financial troubles. Le Cordon Bleu North America will allow new students to enroll until January 4, 2016 as part of its final class of students, after which the schools will close permanently.