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Sep 4, 2011 6:00 PM by Matt Stafford

Culinary school grads claim they were ripped off

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Food enthusiasts have been enrolling in culinary school in growing numbers, lured by dreams of working as gourmet chefs or opening their own restaurants.

For many graduates, however, those dreams have turned into financial nightmares, as they struggle to pay off hefty student loans and find work in a cutthroat industry.

Now, former students of San Francisco's California Culinary Academy and two other Le Cordon Bleu cooking schools are suing their alma maters, claiming they were misled by recruiters about their job prospects after graduation.

Hundreds of the San Francisco academy's former students could get some of their money back.

Under a pending $40 million settlement, the school's parent company has agreed to offer rebates up to $20,000 to 8,500 students who attended the academy between 2003 and 2008.

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