Culinary schools are the best way to get started for anyone looking forward to becoming a private chef, pastry chef, head chef, and sous chef. Students are taught foundational kitchen skills and techniques along with international cooking classes in a culinary academy or college. Practical classes include menu planning, baking, pastry techniques, and sauce preparations, among many others. Apart from cooking courses, students also study inventory, cost control, kitchen management, food sanitation, and hospitality management.
Most successful chefs have gone through a culinary institute to get formal training in culinary art. It gives them technical knowledge to work in this exceptionally competitive industry. Culinary related jobs can also be quite stressful, but going to school prepares a student and provides the mental discipline to help them work under tight schedules.
Top 5 Culinary Schools
|Metropolitan Community College Nebraska
|Oakland Community College
|Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
|Saint Louis Community College
|St. Louis, Missouri
|Pierpont Community and Technical College
|Fairmont, West Virginia
|Henry Ford Community College
Skills Acquired in Culinary School
Culinary education helps you prepare to work in the kitchen professionally anywhere in the world. You gain skills that you take with you regardless of the path you take career-wise. A culinary degree program equips you with skills you can use a life a time. Most people think it’s only about cooking and foods, but you acquire other skills from a culinary institute.
The first thing you learn in a culinary arts curriculum is the foundation of professional cooking practices. You get an in-depth understanding of cooking skills used in preparing modern and classic cuisine, expanding your knowledge and processes tested and proven over time. Besides, you also study food pairing, wines and duties division, and execution.
Knowing how to read a recipe is essential, and culinary students must learn how to do more than read directions or gather ingredients. You should also understand the recipe properly because it’s a guideline to help you make something new, whether you’re going into going into pastry arts or be another food service professional one day.
Working in the hospitality industry is fun, but the kitchen can be stressful. The heat in there makes you sweat even with air conditioners running because orders are needed fast, and you have to be on your toes all the time. In school, you learn how to work with short deadlines making the work mentally and physically demanding. In some jobs, you have to work for long hours though the best thing is that the job is rewarding. Your career grows as you gain more experience in the industry.
Culinary education includes time management training and how to lead others in the kitchen to work as a single unit. A culinary degree trains you on how to create collaborative kitchen environments as an efficient and effective leader.
While a culinary arts program offers more than food preparation and cooking, it gives you more than the kitchen activities. You learn skills in inventory control, budgeting, and management of cash flow. These are skills that everyone requires regardless of the industry you choose to work in.
You cannot cook without understanding the nutritional value of foods. Culinary education equips you with knowledge of food nutrients, food sources, and the human body’s ability to process different foods. Apart from applying knowledge in the hospitality industry, you can also apply it in your life. It also enables you to understand foods likely to cause allergic reactions and make an excellent choice of ingredients in the kitchen.
Knife skills are essential for every chef because it’s a skill you have to use in almost every recipe. One thing you learn in culinary school is knife skills, including how to hold it, especially where to grip and how to cut.
Most new culinary students hold the knife a little a bit far back on its handle. You also master the art of rolling and cutting used in slicing veggies or herbs. Knives are available in many designs, and each is for a specific job. So, you learn how to choose a knife, depending on the task at hand and when to hone it. You also get to know how to buy the right set of knives that come with versatile knives.
In a culinary school and a professional kitchen, you learn the importance of having a container nearby to collect all trash. A kitchen towel soaked in soapy water or sanitizer will help with quick clean up. Wipe the counters and boards as they finish each task and wash mixing bowls or soak them. Besides, make sure all pans, pots, and the sink are cleaned immediately after use. It makes your work easier and reduces the chances of contamination when preparing or cooking food.
Making food in the kitchen is not easy. When working in a professional kitchen, you may not have everything that you need. Culinary skills arm you with the skills to make meals with alternative ingredients or use some gadgets, pans, and other tools instead of what is recommended in the recipes without compromising the results. Lacking something in the kitchen should not stop you from accomplishing your goal.
Some ingredients are magical, and you should always have them in the kitchen. One of them is butter; it makes bland foods delicious by adding salt or some unique flavor. Lemons add freshness, and eggs work miraculously. These are just a few of the great ingredients you should have in your kitchen.
For example, if your recipe requires expensive meat cuts, you can use inexpensive options. By doing this, you may end up even discovering something more delicious. Culinary is an art, and creativity is allowed.
How Attending Culinary School Benefits You
Attending culinary school offers more than just honed culinary skills. Chefs can work in other areas apart from the kitchen. But they need to have soft skills to enable good communication and allow harmonious operations in the kitchen. The best thing is that culinary education includes soft skills that make you a whole chef fit to work in different environments.
Management is a soft skill that every chef should have. After graduating with a culinary degree from one of the many top schools, you are most likely to work under someone. You must follow the wish of the management on how food should be cooked and served. With management skills, you know your boundaries and will use creativity without crossing them.
On the other hand, if you own a restaurant, you will have to attract guests to make profits for the establishment. You also have to manage your kitchen team and everyone working in the restaurant. You view things from a management point of view but still have an interest in your kitchen and management teams. Being the person running all areas of a restaurant means supervising everything even when you delegate some roles.
Culinary art programs allow you to be creative and be yourself. But, you will receive criticism many times. In a culinary school, you learn how to accept such comments despite feeling the criticism is mean. Some criticism is invalid; some is not. Use valuable criticism and ignore the rest.
If you work in the culinary industry, you must 100% in any area you are trusted in. the guests must be treated in the best way possible. You must therefore learn how to pay attention to details. This is something to learn in a culinary school, but it makes perfect and self-motivation to perfect.
It is hard to work alone in the hospitality industry. With so many people working in the same place, it is hard not to get into conflicts. The shifts are long, and equipment has to be shared. Unless you know how to solve disputes, you cannot survive as a chef or cook. Emotions tend to run high in busy kitchens, and they can be very stressful. If you are lucky, you can find a team with a camaraderie sense among themselves. If you are unfortunate, you have to deal with interpersonal tensions and many arguments leading to frustrations.
Besides knowing how to diffuse possible conflicts among your staff members, knowing how to manage stress will also help you. In a culinary school, you learn how to manage stress constructively, and you will not have to worry about tempers flaring up when at work. You have to learn ways to cope with frustrating situations; some effective ways include counting up to ten, meditation, or engaging in your favorite hobby. Every culinary institute ensures students are equipped with stress management skills because it’s a widespread problem in the industry. It makes you an employable and better leader in your business.
As a chef, you will not have much time to decide what to cook at the moment. So, you are equipped with the skills to make quick decisions without wasting time or making mistakes. Getting formal training gives you the skills and culinary intuition to make an excellent chef.
How Much Can You Make with A Degree from A Culinary School?
A professional chef uses skills learned in school almost daily because people must eat food every day. Those who choose to be full-time chefs are passionate about culinary arts. This career is not for everyone; it takes interest and desire to become the best to make a successful and lucrative career. However, having a degree in culinary arts can boost your career a lot. But how much can you make with a degree from a culinary school? It depends on the career you choose to follow.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018, a chef or head cook made $48,460, baker $26,520, waiters and waitresses $21,780, bartender $22,550, food preparation assistant $23,730, food management head $54,240 and nutritionist $60,370 annually. Not every position in the culinary business requires you to have a degree. However, those that need one tend to be more rewarding in terms of salaries.
Why Should Attend A Culinary School
Culinary education allows you to learn all the skills that you need to become a great chef. It is about learning how to cook, create new recipes, run a kitchen efficiently, keep the kitchen safe, and much more. You may wonder why to attend school when you can learn all these by working in a restaurant. But a culinary institute teaches more than this. It can help build your life as a whole and just as a chef.
A culinary student learns that cooking is a form of art and not just a way to sustain life or entertain people. While these two are the main reasons people cook, well-cooked food is also like sharing beautiful art. How the food is served, the plate used, plus you mix aromas create feelings in people. By going to culinary school, you understand food making as an art, and you end up putting more effort into creating the best you can.
Food brings people together and intertwines cultures. As a chef, you will learn and enjoy foods from different parts of the globe. Getting a culinary education helps you understand how different foods are cooked. You end up sharing the knowledge through food with customers, which leads to an appreciation of various cooking methods and foods. Thanks to you, people who cannot travel to other parts of the world can enjoy foreign cuisine.
Only someone who understands the nutrition value of various foods can encourage others to eat healthily. As a trained chef, you know to make healthy foods without compromising the taste. You find many hotels offering vegan options because they have chefs who have gone to culinary schools and know where to source healthy foods and cook them without adding unhealthy ingredients.
An executive chef or anyone with such qualifications can work from anywhere in the world. You do not have to depend on local hotels only; you can travel worldwide to find work, allowing you to find your dream job and learn things at work, which shapes your career.
You learn cooking secrets from professionals at school, unlike in a restaurant where you only look up to one chef. Every teacher has their skills and unique experiences that they share with you. You get all-rounded education in culinary arts, which influences your career positively.
Benefits of Attending Culinary School
According to research, most job opportunities are given to people who have gone to school, especially for various management positions, which is one reason you should attend a culinary school; it makes you professional and arms you with skills that enhance your confidence while at work. You also learn how to buy food, discuss food, present food, sell food, and write about it. In short, you master everything there is to learn about food.
Education helps you gain invaluable skills and stand out among other job applicants. Every culinary program mentors, structures, and disciplines you in readiness for a career in cuisine. Educators in college have rich knowledge and bring it to the classroom. They have technical and real industry experience that you can use in your career. You understand kitchen basics, including menu preparation, hiring, and kitchen management, among other things. All these fundamental skills are essential in every food-related business career.
Culinary education also teaches you discipline and structure to work in any kitchen around the world. As a chef, you must know how to approach each task regardless of your environment. You learn this from school and the reason you should attend one.
You can attend online classes or on campus. You mingle with other people with the same interest who love food and share similar creative insights and ideas with you. However, even if you study online, you must participate in industry externships to apply skills in a professional environment. By getting such experience, your network broadens helps you know where to start once you are ready to launch your career.
With quality culinary education, a student can reinvent themselves. This gives opportunities to reboot or reinvent your culinary career. If you started with the junior position, you do not have to be stuck there forever. By going back to school and getting a culinary arts program degree, you can earn credentials to help you take a new path and advance your career.
A culinary institute that offers part-time studies is the best when you want to reinvent yourself by advancing your education. You can also go to online classes for flexibility.
Careers Prospects for Culinary School Graduates
People love food, and they can easily create communities to just delight or inspire each other. Delicious foods bring people together, and if you can make such, you have many opportunities for growing your career. However, you must be ready to work hard and study to earn a culinary degree to be an expert in cooking to have a chance to pursue a career of your choice. In this industry, there are five top careers that you can choose from what to study.
Executive chef is one of the careers for culinary graduates. This chef focuses on management in the kitchen, including planning menus, managing staff, monitoring inventory, sourcing ingredients, and creating recipes; it is a demanding and fast-paced job. You must be a graduate of hospitality management programs.
A private chef is a good option if you do not want to serve in a restaurant; you cook for private clients or households. Your responsibilities include sourcing ingredients and creating menus that suit your clients. But being a private chef doesn’t mean you work alone. You can have a small team, depending on the size of your clientele.
If you enjoy cooking different foods, being a caterer is the best option for you. You will be required to make a wide variety of foods for every project. Caterers are hired for events such as fundraisers, graduation, wedding, birthdays, and many other celebrations. You are also likely to be working in the evenings and during weekends.
Creative people fit better in baking and pastry degree programs. You must also be detailed and talented in addition to making delicious pastries and other baked goodies. However, you may also be required to have to supervise staff and buy supplies.
Opening a restaurant allows you to manage both the kitchen and front area. It is the career to follow if you enjoy offering food service in places such as hotels, hospitals, entertainment venues, or school cafeterias, among other places where food is served.
Educational Levels of Different Culinary Careers
The culinary field offers a wide range of employment opportunities. If you are a trained cook, you can work in restaurants, hotels, private yachts or homes, casinos, resorts, hospitals, or set up their business as food vendors. The level of education you pursue shapes your career. A master’s degree gives you training that makes you a pro in specific culinary disciplines. If you master in business management, it will help you pursue your ambitions beyond the culinary industry.
A bachelor’s degree is the right choice if you are looking for management jobs at the entry-level. To work as a manager in a restaurant or hotel, you must hold this degree. This culinary arts program gives you a deep understanding related to management in the hospitality industry, including costs and staff.
A bachelor’s degree will give you various career paths with many employment possibilities. Advance your education in addition to this degree to go catapult your career in the culinary field. Not only does this help you accomplish your dreams, but it also gives you a better salary.
Most chef candidates hold an associate degree and take two years to complete. It gives students general education, including communication, English, writing, and math, forming a strong foundation, and you can get a bachelor’s degree after graduating.
The culinary curriculum includes classical foundations combined with theories on the kitchen though most of the time is spent doing practical. You learn how to make various foods, including traditional dishes from Asia, America, Mediterranean, and Latin. Besides, you also get some general understanding of how to pair wines.
If you hold a diploma or a certificate in culinary arts, it means you focus on a specific area in culinary. These two levels of education can be attained in less than a year. Your main training will be how to work in the kitchen and cook food. The programs give you a strong foundation that you can use to climb higher in the culinary field. You can move your career from this phase to the next by expanding your education. Otherwise, holding a certificate or a diploma means work under a senior chef who does the executive tasks.
Top 25 Culinary Schools
Metropolitan Community College Nebraska
Metropolitan Community College Nebraska takes top spot on our list due to its low tuition and high-quality culinary school. MCNN offers an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts with an optional specialization in Baking and Pastry. There are also several certificate programs at MCNN.
Oakland Community College
Oakland Community College in Michigan offers an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts. All students must do an internship to get hands-on experience. OCC has an on-campus bakery, restaurant, and cafe to give students plenty of experience in real professional kitchens.
Saint Louis Community College
Saint Louis Community College has a leading culinary program and highly affordable tuition rates. Students can choose between associate’s degree programs in Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts. There is also a certificate program in Food and Beverage Management.
Pierpont Community and Technical College
Pierpont Community and Technical College offers an innovative and flexible culinary program. Students in the Associate’s in Food Service Management program can specialize in Culinary Arts, Baking Arts, Resort and Hotel Management, and Dietary Management. This program includes a practicum experience so that students can get a hands-on feel for the profession
Henry Ford Community College
Henry Ford Community College has the leading culinary arts program in Michigan. HFCC is one of the few public colleges to offer a Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts. Like many of the other programs on this list, HFCC’s culinary program includes an internship that allows students to get professional experience.
Grand Rapids Community College
Grand Rapids Community College is the sixth community college on our list. It offers associate’s degrees in Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts. Students in the Culinary Arts program can choose from many different specializations in Culinary, Culinary Management, Baking and Pastry Arts, and Personal Chef. GRCC has its own bistro, brewery, and restaurant to allow students to get practical experience.
Anne Arundel Community College
Anne Arundel Community College is known as one of the best community colleges in the country. Its Hotel, Culinary Arts, and Tourism Institute offers an Associate’s in Hotel/Restaurant Management with a specialization in Culinary Arts. Students can also study for certificates in Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts.
Northwestern Michigan College
Northwestern Michigan College is another Michigan-based community college with a strong culinary arts program. NMC offers an Associate’s in Culinary Arts. Students have the opportunity to work at Lobdell’s, a critically acclaimed restaurant that is located on NMC’s campus.
Kennedy-King College is a public community college with a wide variety of programs, including pastry education at The French Pastry School (which is affiliated with KKC). KKC offers certificates in Professional Pastry and Baking as well as Cake Decorating and Baking. Students can also study Artisinal Bread Baking.
Institute for Culinary Education
The Institute for Culinary Education (ICE), which has campuses in New York City and Los Angeles, is one of the most prestigious culinary schools in the country. Students can pursue diplomas in Culinary Arts, Pastry and Baking Arts, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Hospitality Management, Cake Decorating, and Artisan Bread Baking. These programs take anywhere from 6-12 months to complete.
Louisiana Culinary Institute
The Louisiana Culinary Institute (LCI) is often recognized as the finest culinary school in the South. LCI offers an associate’s degree in Professional Cooking and Culinary Arts and another in Hospitality and Culinary Management. These programs take around 16 months to complete.
Monroe College has its own culinary institute that offers associate’s degrees in Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry. Students in the Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management program can also specialize in Culinary Management. Monroe has a restaurant and a pastry shop on-campus so that students can get hands-on experience.
Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts
The Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts is another very prestigious culinary school. It has a main campus in Austin, Texas, with a satellite campus in Boulder, Colorado. Students can study for an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts at the school. Diplomas are also available in Culinary Arts and Pastry Arts.The school gives students externship opportunities so they can network and get practical experience.
Kendall College offers several culinary programs. Its Associate’s in Culinary Arts is aimed at students with a degree in another field. Kendall also offers a Culinary Entrepreneurship concentration within its Bachelor’s in Business program. Kendall has its own restaurant, and students can also get experience through internships at other restaurants.
Culinary Institute LeNotre
Culinary Institute LeNotre in Houston specializes in training pastry chefs, though it also offers programs in culinary arts. The founder of the school, Alain LeNotre, is a highly successful and experienced pastry chef. He opened the school in 1998, making it one of the oldest culinary schools in Texas.
Keiser University may be best-known for its programs in other areas, but it does have a strong culinary school. The school offers an Associate’s in Culinary Arts that gives students a well-rounded education in the field. The program includes an externship to provide students with professional experience and networking opportunties.
The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College
Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia is the leading culinary school in the state. Students can study for bachelor’s or associate’s degrees in Culinary Arts, Pastry Arts, and Restaurant Management. Walnut Hill has four restaurants on-campus that students can work in.
International Culinary Arts and Sciences Institute
The International Culinary Arts and Sciences Institute, better known as ICASI, is one of the leading culinary schools in Ohio. ICASI originally started out by offering recreational classes for hobbyists, but quickly added professional culinary training when the level of demand became clear. The culinary scene in the region is growing quickly, so students will have plenty of opportunities when they graduate.
Johnson and Wales University
Johnson and Wales University offers programs in many different fields, but its culinary programs are the highlight of the school. Numerous bachelor and associate-level programs are available, including Culinary Arts, Pastry Arts, and even Culinary Science. As with most of the other programs on this list, students must complete internships to get practical experience.
Culinary Institute of America
The famous Culinary Institute of America is located in Hyde Park, New York. It’s undoubtedly the best-known and most prestigious culinary school on this list, but its pricy tuition causes it to rank behind some lesser-known schools. The school offers bachelor’s degrees in Culinary Science, Applied Food Studies, and Food Business Management. Associate’s degrees are available in Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts.
Paul Smith’s College
Paul Smith’s College offers an elite culinary education in upstate New York. Students can benefit from the school’s excellent facilities, which include six food laboratories and a baking laboratory. Students take part in a series of semester-long experiences in the field to get hands-on experience.
Boston University is best-known for its traditional academic programs, but it also has a top-notch culinary program. A certificate in Culinary Arts is available from BU’s Metropolitan School, which provides career training. This program is only a semester long, but it is intensive and throrough.
Drexel University is another prestigious university that offers culinary training along with traditional academic degrees. Its Bachelor’s in Culinary Arts and Sciences includes traditional college courses in arts and sciences as well as culinary training. Drexel has a bistro on campus where culinary students can get practical experience.
Our Ranking Methodology
The formula that we used to rank these schools takes two factors into consideration. First, we looked at the yearly tuition rate that each school charges. Secondly, we looked at each school’s tuition rate. Schools that charge varying rates to in-state residents and non-resident students only had their in-state rates considered. After ascertaining each school’s tuition rate, we added a multiplier taken from the percentage of students who did not graduate. This gives each the final rating for the school. E.g. School A has a yearly tuition rate of $10,000 and a graduation rate of 50%. School A would have a rating of 15,000 (10,000 x 150%). Lower ratings result in better rankings in this article.
How Culinary School Can Prepare You To Open Your Own Restaurant
Going to a culinary school can quickly make your dream of starting a restaurant come true. You gain skills and knowledge that ensure you do not get into problems that lead to losses and eventually go out of business. Different culinary degrees given by various schools cover many students’ needs, but you must choose the right degree to suit the specific situation.
Degree programs such as masters, bachelors, and associates, along with certificates and diplomas, come in handy when you want to open your restaurant. You may think education is not necessary to run a business, but you will realize how culinary education is vital in a restaurant business once you start working.
Starting and running a successful restaurant is not easy. You should know how the hospitality field works before you invest in a restaurant. Studying culinary arts means you learn how to make food and other skills such as cost control, math, and business management, which gives you the confidence to run a restaurant business.
Culinary education gives you plenty of knowledge regarding cuisine from all over the world. Even those who major in business management areas still familiarize themselves with foods and how to cook them. A culinary arts degree offers basics, including culinary skills, beverage pairings, pastries, baking, and regional cuisines. A culinary school will teach you how to make different cuisines, including those you do not intend to serve in your restaurant.
Operating a restaurant has many factors about cooking and business aspects. They include communication, which is essential when handling customers. Being a restaurant owner, you are the supervisor and responsible for its sanitation and menu planning. You must have the skills on how to maintain equipment and restaurants related laws and regulations. All these topics are covered in a culinary degree program.
Where Can You Find the Best Culinary Schools in The World?
The best culinary schools are spread all over the world. By 2050, the world’s population is estimated to reach up to 9.8 billion which means more people to eat and makes culinary studies one of the marketable courses globally. Studying abroad gives a chance to learn new skills and is a good career preparation to work anywhere in the world. When preparing for school application, choose one of the top schools based on your preferred specialization.
Some of the best culinary schools are in North America, Central America in Oaxaca, Mexico, South America in Peru, Europe in France and Italy, South Asia in India, North Africa in Morocco, South Africa in Cape Town, and South Pacific in Australia. You should choose where to study based on your style and preference. Other things you may consider include budget, facilities, and accreditation.
A cooking school trains for cooks and chef jobs. You are taught everything about kitchen techniques including knife skills. Culinary arts degree programs also include plating food and representation. Students get internships to try out such classes practically because they are essential in your career.
In addition to making you a chef who can cook, a culinary program also comes with classes on cost control, inventory management, and food safety. Some culinary institutes also offer management and business training. Choose a school that suits what you want to study because culinary education is indispensable if you want to succeed in this field.