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Best Culinary Schools In The United States, According To Chefs

Best Culinary Schools

While it is true that you can learn the culinary arts without attending culinary school, there are some good reasons to choose a culinary institute to hone your skills at.

Many jobs now require some form of formal training from a culinary school and these can include chef, baker, F&B work, resort management, and more.

So, with that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the best culinary schools in the country.

There is, of course, no “best culinary school” in the United States – the best culinary school will depend on what you want from your education, your budget, and more. But the good news is that you have plenty of excellent options to choose from.


Culinary Institute Of America At Hyde Park

This school has campuses dotted across the country and it has plenty of different programs for you to join.

This includes degree programs but you can also learn the culinary arts in more bite-sized chunks if you want and they have certificate programs for those looking to progress an established culinary career but who aren’t ready to leave hospitality management behind for several years to get their degree.

They were founded in 1946 and many people consider this to be one of the finest schools to learn the culinary arts anywhere in the world.

P.S. While the fees for each school vary dramatically, you can get an idea of how much culinary school will cost here.

Find more information here.


Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts

Many would argue that this school is not just one of the best in American but possibly the best school in the world for a culinary arts degree program.

And if you can’t learn baking and pastry arts in person at the school, you can undertake a full online study program that allows you to do your degree from anywhere in the world.

They do expect online students to work with culinary professionals in their local food industry or educational establishments so that they get the kind of hands-on practice expected of a world-class chef.

A degree from this school will serve you very well when seeking work in the field.

Find more information here.


Institute of Culinary Education

They have two campuses (one in Los Angeles and the other in New York) which means you have some choice of where to study your culinary degree with this fine institute.

They have seen more than 14,000 students graduate from their programs which are rich and varied and you can learn baking and pastry arts, hospitality management, culinary arts management, and more here.

Their reputation is excellent among potential employers and that means their degree programs are great to prepare students for the world of work after they graduate.

Find more information here.


Kendall College School of Culinary Arts

One thing we like about the culinary arts programs at Kendall College is that you can accelerate their associate degree program or their diploma programs so that you leave with a solid qualification without spending too much time away from the job market.

You can also stay a little longer and undertake a bachelor’s degree if you’re looking to go into culinary management.

They work on a lot of industrial equipment in the classroom which helps you prepare for life in the food service industry and their food preparation classes are extraordinarily valuable in ensuring you can work at speed in a professional kitchen.

Find more information here.


Johnson and Wales University

This university can offer culinary programs in four different locations. (Charlotte, Denver, Florida, and Providence).

They can provide you with a culinary arts diploma, a culinary arts certificate, or access to a range of degree programs.

Their culinary science program is top-notch as is their culinary nutrition program.

If you’re not ready to specialize in something like baking and pastry arts then this university might be the perfect place to study.

Find more information here.


Culinary Institute LENOTRE

You can undertake their hospitality and restaurant management degree in just 90 weeks! That means if you want to get your qualification and get earning, you can speed through things.

They achieve this by having a student-to-teacher ratio of no more than 12:1 – that means you get plenty of hands-on experience as you pick up your culinary school degree and you can be assured that you will be given the guidance you need to perfect your skills as you do.

Graduates of Lenotre can look forward to being highly sought after in the job market too.

Find more information here.


Metropolitan Community College: Omaha, Nebraska

The objectives of the programs at this community college are simple. They want graduates from their degree programs to become head chefs of restaurant managers.

They get results too and we should note that they have some of the lowest tuition prices of any top culinary arts institution which means you won’t be saddled with as much student debt when you do enter the world of work.

And that means, you’re going to have more to spend on yourself. You should leave with a first rate culinary arts portfolio when you complete a program from this school.

Find more information here.


Johnson and Wales Culinary College

This school has a plenty of programs up to and including a bachelor’s degree.

However, what really impresses us about Johnson and Wales is not their incredible array of campuses across the country but the way their education programs go beyond cooking and start to examine the importance of food in context with our daily lives.

You learn how to understand the impact that food has on people and culture and we think that’s fascinating.

Also, they have a professional craft brewing qualification which could be irresistible if you enjoy a beer or two.

Find more information here.


Sullivan University National Center for Hospitality Studies

The American Culinary Federation rates this school as “exemplary” and one thing we really like about Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies’ programs is that you can accelerate your time here.

That means you can walk out with an associate’s degree from their associate degree programs in just under 18 months. This is going to make studying culinary arts here very appealing to students looking to get qualified and start earning as quickly as possible.

Their graduates are considered to be highly employable and work in roles as diverse as chefs to food scientists.

Find more information here.


Monroe College

Monroe is based in New York, a city with over 20,000 restaurants and that means its graduates are never short of opportunities when they leave college.

It also means you can eat in some of the best places in the world after classes to help boost your inspiration in the classroom.

They follow a combined theoretical and practical approach to their programs and you will find that their degrees are well-respected in almost every branch of the culinary industry.

Find more information here.


Culinary Institute of Savannah

If you want to study culinary arts at a later stage of your career then Savannah’s got you covered because they welcome international students and mature students.

This is a great approach to a culinary arts education because it means you get a very diverse range of inputs as you learn.

Their degree programs include pastry arts, culinary arts and culinary baking.

We should note, that their courses are very much focused on practical application of learning and you will spend a lot of time in the kitchen if you study here.

Find more information here.


Stratford University School of Culinary Arts

They have multiple campus locations but they are all in Virginia. Their student body is one of the most diverse in the country and their teaching methods reflect this.

There’s an emphasis on cutting edge trends with an international twist and you really can’t go wrong with their 15-month professional diploma.

Find more information here.


Sullivan University National Center for Hospitality Studies

Sullivan is a great place to go if you want to combine a passion for food with another professional interest.

It’s here that you can learn event management, tourist management, and many other unique culinary skills.

Find more information here.


Culinary Institute of Virginia

With classes at this school being held year-round, they dramatically cut down on the length of each course and there’s a heavy focus on practical application – you will spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

They make cooking fun and there are always clubs and competitions to join outside of class. They even hold catering events on campus to give you real world experience!

Find more information here.


Quick Note: Covid-19 And Its Impact On The Culinary Arts

Covid-19 has had an impact on culinary schools and the culinary arts as it has had on the rest of society.

The good news is that most of these culinary schools have now fully reopened or, at least, re-opened on a part-time basis and you can be assured that any culinary arts program from these schools will involve some classroom-based face-to-face teaching.


Final Thoughts On A Culinary Education

So, there you have it. American students of the culinary arts are super privileged and have an amazing choice of great schools in which to perfect their craft.

Why not send off for a prospectus or two today and get the ball moving on your culinary career?

Not ready to go to culinary arts school just yet? That’s OK why not check out these online cooking classes for home cooks or these awesome cooking podcasts for some inspiration until you’re ready to join a culinary program?

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