Culinary Schools

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Culinary School

With the foodservice and hospitality industries on the rise in the United States, pursuing a culinary career is becoming an increasingly attractive option. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for chefs and head cooks is growing at an impressive rate of 15% – much faster than most other industries. While a high school diploma may be enough to enter the field, many aspiring chefs opt to attend culinary school to gain a competitive edge.

Culinary schools provide a hands-on, immersive learning environment to help students develop the practical skills necessary to excel in the food service industry, such as mastering culinary techniques, honing knife skills, understanding flavor profiles, learning about ingredients and food safety, and gaining experience in commercial kitchen operations. In a culinary arts school, you’ll have the opportunity to work with professional-grade equipment and learn from experienced chefs who can offer invaluable insights and techniques.

Types of Culinary Schools

Choosing the right culinary school can make or break your career as a chef. There are so many different options out there, from large universities with broad hospitality management programs to small, specialized culinary schools that focus exclusively on culinary techniques and food preparation. And with the cost of education continually rising, it’s more important than ever to choose a school that fits your budget while still providing the skills and knowledge you need to succeed.

Culinary Arts Schools

Culinary arts schools offer specialized hands-on training in culinary techniques, food preparation, and kitchen management. These schools provide a diverse range of culinary arts disciplines, such as baking and pastry, international cuisine, and wine studies. Students can expect to learn everything from knife skills and food safety to the art of plating and presentation, and many programs offer internship and job placement opportunities for real-world experience in a professional kitchen. With a focus exclusively on culinary arts, culinary schools are an excellent choice for those looking to enter the food service industry and gain a competitive edge.

Hospitality Management Schools

While not exclusively focused on culinary arts, hospitality management schools offer programs that teach management skills for the hospitality industry, including restaurant and hotel management. These programs provide students with a broad understanding of the industry, including marketing, accounting, and human resources, and often include culinary classes as well. By taking these culinary classes, students can gain a well-rounded understanding of the industry as a whole, including the importance of food preparation and presentation in the hospitality industry.

Community Colleges

Community colleges offer practical and accessible culinary programs, including associate degrees and certificates, that provide students with fundamental culinary skills, including knife handling, cooking techniques, and baking. These programs also offer a solid foundation in culinary techniques and kitchen management, allowing graduates to pursue careers as line cooks, prep cooks, or catering assistants. Additionally, community colleges often have partnerships with local restaurants and food service establishments, providing students with valuable on-the-job training, internships, and job placement opportunities.

Four-Year Colleges and Universities

Some colleges and universities offer culinary degrees as part of their broader hospitality management programs, providing students with a well-rounded education that includes business management skills and culinary arts training. These programs offer a wide range of areas of specialization, such as culinary arts, baking and pastry, and food service management. In addition to culinary training, students learn about topics like accounting, marketing, and human resources, preparing them for leadership roles in the hospitality industry. Graduates of four-year culinary programs can work in a variety of fields, including fine dining restaurants, hotels, resorts, and catering businesses.
School Rankings

The Best Culinary Schools in America

Graduating from one of the top culinary schools in the U.S. will help students nurture their talent into a career and pay big dividends throughout their professional life, with higher earnings potential, invaluable exposure and connections, and opportunities that only a prestigious credential can unlock.

While each aspiring chef has their own unique goals in mind, there are a few key factors that should be considered to ensure the best return on investment. A culinary school with an innovative curriculum, accomplished instructors, strategic partnerships, modern equipment, a successful track record of graduate outcomes, and a strong alumni network are all important factors to keep in mind. To help narrow down the search, here are ten of the best culinary schools in America:

Best Colleges
Culinary Institute of America

1946 Campus Drive, Hyde Park, NY 12538-1499


California Campus: 2555 Main Street, St. Helena, CA 94574

Texas Campus: 312 Pearl Parkway, Building 2, Suite 2102, San Antonio, TX 78215

Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts

6020-B Dillard Circle, Austin, TX 78752


Boulder Campus: 637 South Broadway, Suite H, Boulder, CO 80305

Institute of Culinary Education

225 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10281


Los Angeles Campus: 521 East Green Street, Pasadena, CA 91101

Culinary Institute LeNotre

7070 Allensby St. Houston, TX 77022

Kendall College School of Culinary Arts

122 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603

Johnson & Wales University

8 Abbott Park Place, Providence, RI 02903

Walnut Hill College

4207 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Sullivan University

3101 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40205

Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College

2501 Jerome Avenue, Bronx, NY 10468


New Rochelle Campus: 434 Main Street, New Rochelle, NY 10801

Louisiana Culinary Institute

10550 Airline Highway, Baton Rouge, LA 70816


Job Opportunities and Career Paths for Culinary Graduates

Job Opportunities and Career Paths for Culinary Graduates

After completing culinary school, graduates have an abundance of opportunities to explore in the culinary industry. The food industry is ever-expanding, and with the rise of food trends, cultural influences, and increasing interest in healthy eating, there is no shortage of exciting career paths to pursue. Whether your passion is to create elaborate menus, design beautiful pastry creations, or write about food, the culinary world offers a diverse range of career opportunities that cater to various interests and skill sets. In addition to the traditional roles of chef, caterer, and pastry chef, culinary graduates can also explore careers in food styling, recipe development, food photography, food marketing, and more.

Some of the popular career paths include:


As a chef or sous chef, you will play a critical role in managing the day-to-day operations of a restaurant or other culinary establishment. You will be responsible for creating and executing menus that showcase your culinary skills and creativity, while also meeting the needs and preferences of your customers. This will require you to have a deep understanding of various cuisines, cooking techniques, and ingredient pairings.

In addition to creating menus, you will also be responsible for managing kitchen staff, which includes hiring, training, and supervising cooks and other kitchen personnel. This will require strong leadership and communication skills to ensure that your team is working together effectively to produce high-quality dishes.


As a caterer, you will be responsible for creating memorable dining experiences for special events such as weddings, parties, and corporate functions. This dynamic field requires not only culinary expertise, but also strong organizational, logistical, and customer service skills. You will work closely with clients to understand their unique event requirements, including menu preferences, dietary restrictions, and budget considerations. You will then use your culinary skills and creativity to design and execute menus that meet their needs and exceed their expectations. This may involve creating custom menus, selecting high-quality ingredients, and planning for the appropriate quantities of food to be prepared and served.

On the day of the event, you will oversee the preparation, cooking, and presentation of the food, ensuring that it is delivered on time and meets the highest standards of taste and presentation. You will also manage the logistics of setting up the catering station, coordinating with other event vendors, and ensuring that food safety and sanitation regulations are followed.

Baker/Pastry Chef

As a baker or pastry chef, you will be immersed in the art and science of creating delectable baked goods that delight the senses. This career path offers a unique blend of creativity and technical expertise, as you master the intricacies of working with dough, batter, and other baking ingredients to produce a wide range of baked goods, including bread, pastries, cakes, and confections.

As a baker or pastry chef, you will be responsible for crafting baked goods that are not only visually appealing, but also taste exquisite. This may involve selecting and measuring ingredients, following precise recipes, and employing various techniques such as kneading, shaping, proofing, and baking to achieve the desired results. You will also have the opportunity to experiment with different flavors, textures, and presentation styles to create unique and memorable baked goods.

Food Writer/Food Critic

As a food writer or food critic, your job is to use your writing skills and culinary knowledge to share your experiences with others. You would be responsible for researching and evaluating restaurants, food trends, and products, and writing articles or reviews that inform and entertain your readers. You may also be responsible for creating content for food blogs, social media, and other online platforms.

In this role, you need to have a deep understanding of different cuisines, cooking techniques, and food culture to produce informative and engaging content. You may also be required to attend food events and tastings, interview chefs and other culinary experts, and keep up with the latest food trends and industry news.

Food Stylist

As a food stylist, your role is to create visually stunning food presentations that are captured through photographs, commercials, videos, and other media. You would use your artistic skills, culinary knowledge, and attention to detail to craft food arrangements that are visually appealing and appetizing. This may involve carefully selecting and arranging food items, garnishes, props, and background elements to create visually compelling compositions.

You would work closely with photographers, videographers, and other members of the creative team to bring the desired aesthetic vision to life. This could include creating mouthwatering images for cookbooks, advertisements, menus, food packaging, and social media posts. You may also be involved in food styling for television shows, films, and commercials.

Additional Culinary Resources