PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A Pittsburgh landmark that has attracted young people to downtown and enhanced the restaurant business in our area, will close its doors.

Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts said it will close next year.

It’s been around for about 25 years and if you’ve spent any time on Liberty Avenue, you’ve probably seen the culinary students dressed in their chef’s outfits.

However, beginning in the middle of next year, the city will lose its culinary students.

Simon Dejohn is one of nine culinary graduates who are working at the Carlton Restuarant. It’s one of the top restaurants in town and Dejohn credits the culinary institute for landing the job.

“It really helps you get your foot in the door at a lot of nice restaurants, resorts, hotels. It’s a very beneficial thing,” Dejohn said.

The word got out Tuesday that the school is closing its doors next year. Students were comforted to learn that the school will graduate its current crop of students.

“I think it’s a loss to the city. There aren’t many places for people interested in a culinary degree to go,” Alex Mullett said.

The school has an enrollment of about 1,500 and employs dozens of faculty members. For Pittsburgh restaurant owners, it’s going to make it harder to find good chefs and they say it’s a blow to downtown.

“People came here from Ohio, West Virginia, New York, Philadelphia and a lot of times, those students liked Pittsburgh and stayed here,” Kevin Joyce said.

Le Cordon Bleu didn’t return calls from KDKA’s Paul Martino Tuesday.

It has 16 other culinary schools across the country that will remain open.

Now, many in the restaurant business are hoping something can be done to get Le Cordon Bleu to reconsider and remain in Pittsburgh.

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