If you have always enjoyed helping out in the kitchen if you enjoy working with fresh ingredients, and if you can handle the pressure of a deadline you may be right for culinary school. Here is a list of the top ones across the United States.
Is Culinary School The Right Choice?
The restaurant business is evolving and changing before our eyes but one thing will never change: the demand for creative and skilled chefs to work in and run the kitchens. From the hole in the wall diners to Michelin star restaurants quality chefs are needed and guests can tell when their food is prepared with care, expertise, and passion compared to when it is generically thrown together. If you have a passion for bringing the best flavors out in each dish, and if you think you have what it takes to handle the heat of a fast-paced kitchen consider attending one of the best culinary programs in the nation. It may be the right choice for you if you know you want to make a career out of your interest or current job path.
Skilled Chefs Are Always In Demand.
The job outlook for chefs and kitchen work in the United States is promising according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Head chefs make a median income of $51,530 a year and the job growth predictions for the next decade are at 6%.
Top 15 Culinary Arts Degree Programs in The United States
1. Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts
Auguste Escoffier was a French chef born in 1846 who popularized French cooking methods at the time. This school makes the top of the list because of the small class sizes and personalized high standards culinary education students are able to receive. Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts has two campuses and brings the same level of quality to each class. High French standards and restaurant management/ownership preparation are key to the curriculum.
- Tuition: $17,725 for Diploma in Culinary Arts and Operations and $27,025 for Associates
- Enrollment: 506
2. Culinary Institute of America
The Culinary Institute of America is the place for leaders in hospitality to train rigorously to ensure the highest of standards in each graduate. The CIA will prep students in all aspects of food preparation and skills and “front of house” management as well. There are several locations across the nation, all with the same high standards. Due to COVID-19 they now even offer some classes online.
- Tuition: $33,690
- Enrollment: 3,007
3. Kendall College
Kendall College is considered number one in Chicago. The enrollment is high, but the reviews are in and the students feel that they receive plenty of one on one instruction. Graduates find employment easily when they earn their diploma from the culinary art program.
- Tuition: $35,744
- Enrollment: 4,000
4. Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) New York
The Institute of Culinary Education advertises no more than 18 students per professor. The graduates have made names for themselves across the globe, and the ICE instruction methods have been proven effective and are repeated in schools across the nation. They produce quality chefs because their motto is “find your culinary voice” and they teach culinary skills in a truly artful manner.
- Tuition: $38,169
- Enrollment: 528
5. Louisiana Culinary Institute
Louisiana Culinary Institute refers to itself as the premier culinary school of the south. Their recent grad reviews and comprehensive job prep backs this claim. If you live in the south and want education to prep you for the best kitchens or for running your own set up consider this college next term.
- Tuition: $24,000
- Enrollment: 208
6. Columbus Culinary Institute at Bradford School
Columbus Culinary Institute at Bradford School teaches all students to learn the techniques the professionals use with their education. They turn novices into professionals with small class sizes and premium ingredients that are often sourced locally. The curriculum is challenging and rewarding.
- Tuition: $14,000
- Enrollment: 150
7. Johnson and Wales University
Johnson and Wales University have multiple locations across the nation so you have flexibility if you want to attend culinary school near a loved one or near your home. Renowned Chef Emeril Lagasse is a graduate of Johnson and Wales. Their programs leave graduates ready to run a kitchen or run a whole hotel. Chef Lagasse has made a name for his creativity and flair, any student can feel confident that this school teaches both form and allows for personal growth and freedom.
- Tuition: $34,376
- Enrollment: 12,930
8. Walnut Hill College – The Restaurant School
The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College offers a quality education in culinary technique and creativity. The area is has had a growing food scene in the past decade and the school is a hot spot for diners to try what concoctions the students have created. A recent grad was on the Shark Tank with a food related invention!
- Tuition: $23,550
- Enrollment: 600
9. Northwestern Michigan College
Northwestern Michigan College offers many degrees and trade certifications but it makes the list for top culinary schools in the United States because of the reviews from graduates from the culinary program and for their fair tuition. If you want to keep warm this winter enroll in a school that will have you ready to run your own kitchen within two years.
- Tuition: $9,078
- Enrollment: 880
10. New England Culinary Institute
New England Culinary Institute is prestigious and quality wise it may deserve a spot higher on this list. However, with a graduation rate of only 79% it falls about central. If you earn your diploma here you can feel confident that your truly worked for it. Their motto is “learn it by living it” and education and experience go hand in hand at NECI.
- Tuition: $32,000
- Enrollment: 200
11. Monroe College – New York Culinary Institute
Monroe College New York Culinary Institute is on the outskirts of New York City for big city experience and personal amenities alike. It is a large college but the culinary division is to be noted for the quality chefs that find employment in some of the best NYC restaurants.
- Tuition: $15,000
- Enrollment: 4,265
12. The Art Institute of Atlanta
The Art Institute of Atlanta is all about preparing chefs to work in the industry. Each teacher has a passion for food preparation and technique. The students report feeling confident in their ability and eager to create in their own kitchens based on the inspiration at the AIA.
- Tuition: $33,114
- Enrollment: 1,246
13. Lincoln Tech-Lincoln Culinary Institute
Lincoln Tech-Lincoln Culinary Institute offers training in various culinary specialties, two convenient locations, and job placement for graduates. The class sizes are comfortable learners of all paces and the education will let you hold your own in a kitchen in any position.
- Tuition: $27,401
14. Sullivan University
Sullivan University is led by a chef with a passion for providing students a quality education with student-centric methods of teaching. Many of the area’s finest chefs graduate from Sullivan ready to take on the culinary world with the experience to handle the heat.
- Tuition: $37,000
- Enrollment: 2,618
15. The Art Institute Of Virginia Beach
The Art Institute of Virginia Beach is a branch of the AI Atlanta with the same high standards and passion for the culinary arts. But the location is a scenic beach town and the vibe is a little different. Students report that they enjoyed their time At AIV and they feel prepared for their careers upon graduation.
- Tuition: $22,000
- Enrollment: 307
An education in culinary arts can take graduates across the globe for work if they find they have a passion and provide them with life skills no matter where their career takes them. Many schools offer online or flexible learning options due to the changes in the past year. If you are ready to advance your skills and your employability contact the school on this list that best suits your needs.
This list of top culinary schools in the United States was compiled using tuition and enrollment data from each school’s webpage and real student reviews. If you feel that your school was not accurately portrayed contact us so we can correct any errors so future students know what your specific school has to offer.