Starting with lists that named more than 1,000 schools and educational programs, FSR researched and identified top culinary schools. Among this group, the culinary curricula and degrees are as varied as the opportunities for careers post-graduation—and that diversity reflects the needs of those hiring graduates as well as those applying to schools. Note: this story originally ran in the September issue of FSR and the data reflects that.
The Culinary Institute of America
Hyde Park, New York; St. Helena, California; San Antonio, Texas; Singapore: Students at the CIA are required to work in campus-based restaurants. Bachelor's degree students also develop and execute a charity dining event as part of their senior project. In addition to casual bakery cafés at each campus, the flagship Hyde Park campus restaurants feature contemporary American, Italian, or French cuisine. The California campus has two restaurants that highlight wine, farm-to-table fare, and environmental stewardship. The restaurant on the San Antonio campus features Latin American cuisine. In addition to providing students with ample hands-on restaurant experiences, the CIA reports that about 90 percent of its students receive some form of financial aid. Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking and Pastry Arts / Culinary Science / Food Business Management / Applied Food Studies. Degrees: Bachelor's and Associate degrees / Certificates for Advanced Studies. Cost: $15,365 to $17,320 per semester, varies by campus.
International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes
A system of more than 50 schools throughout North America; 28 campuses have Culinary Programs: An AAS degree typically requires six quarters, with a total cost of $45,000 to $50,000; a Culinary Diploma requires four to five quarters, with a total cost of $29,000 to $32,000; and a BS degree requires 12 quarters, with a total cost of $93,000 to $95,000. (Requirements and costs are estimated; actual costs vary by campus.) Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking and Pastry / Culinary Management. Degrees: Associate of Applied Science (AAS) / Culinary Diploma / Bachelor of Science.
Johnson & Wales University
Providence, Rhode Island; Charlotte, North Carolina; Denver, Colorado; North Miami, Florida: Within its College of Culinary Arts, the average associate degree–seeking person graduates within two years. The average bachelor's degree–seeking person graduates within four years. Programs: Culinary Arts and Foodservice Management / Culinary Arts / Culinary Nutrition / Baking & Pastry Arts / Baking & Pastry Arts and Foodservice Management / Beverage Industry Operations and Retail Management / Restaurant, Food & Beverage Management / Food & Beverage Entrepreneurship. Degrees: Associate in Science / Bachelor of Science / Continuing Education / Master of Teaching (Programs and degrees vary by campus.) Cost: $30,396 per academic year, plus a $350 fee in the first year.
Kendall College School of Culinary Arts
Chicago: Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking and Pastry. Degrees: Associate of Applied Science / Accelerated Associate of Applied Science / Bachelor of Arts. Cost: $8,041 per quarter for full-time students; $655 per credit hour for part-time students (Additional fees are incurred for uniforms, supplies, kitchen tools, labs, and internships.)
New England Culinary Institute
Montpelier, Vermont: The job placement rate for graduates earning an AOS in Culinary Arts in 2015 was a perfect 100 percent; the job placement rate for those with a BA in Culinary Arts was 76 percent. In 2015, the placement rate for graduates with a Certificate in Professional Cooking was 82 percent, and for graduates with a Certificate in Professional Baking and Pastry the job placement rate was 95 percent. Programs: Culinary Arts / Professional Baking and Pastry / Food, Beverage, and Business Management / Hospitality and Restaurant Management. Degrees: Certificate in Professional Cooking / Certificate in Professional Baking and Pastry / Associate in Occupational Studies / Bachelor of Arts. Cost: Professional Certificates require six months, cost $8,300; An AOS degree in Culinary Arts takes 24 months, cost $61,300; An AOS in management takes 15 months, cost $40,300; A BA in Culinary Arts requires 39 months, cost $88,550; A BA in management requires 15 months, cost $32,050; *(Costs quoted are for graduates who completed degrees in 2015.)
Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Moore, Oklahoma: Programs: Culinary Arts / Pastry Arts / Hospitality and Restaurant Management. Degrees: Culinary Diploma / Applied Science / Bachelor of Science. Cost: The Culinary Arts program is designed to take 68 weeks, tuition $31,72; The Pastry Arts program is designed to take 47 weeks, tuition $22,520; The Hospitality and Restaurant Management program is designed to take 104 weeks, tuition $46,020.
The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College
Philadelphia: In 2015, the total cost for those graduating with a BS degree in Culinary Arts was $91,100 and the school's job placement rate for those graduates was 100 percent. The total cost for graduates obtaining an AS degree in Culinary Arts or Pastry Arts was $45,650 and the job placement rate was 83 percent and 74 percent, respectively. The school operates four on-campus restaurants, open to the public, where students work and learn. Programs: Culinary Arts / Pastry Arts / Restaurant Management / Hotel Management. Degrees: Associate of Science / Bachelor of Science. Cost: $7,530 to $11,295 per term, depending on full-time vs. part-time enrollment.
Arizona Culinary Institute
Scottsdale, Arizona: The average class size is 10 to 15 students, and 80 percent of the time students spend in the kitchen involves hands-on work. The school boasts a placement rate of more than a 90 percent five-year average. Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking / Restaurant Management. Degrees: Diploma in Culinary Arts. Cost: $27,795.
Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts
Both schools existed prior to becoming Auguste Escoffier schools: The Austin campus was founded in 2001 as the Culinary Academy of Austin, and the Boulder school began in 1994 as the Culinary School of the Rockies. Programs: Culinary Arts / Pastry Arts. Degrees: Applied Science Degree in Culinary Arts / Diploma in Culinary Arts / Diploma in Pastry Arts. Cost: $17,250 to $29,950, varies by degree and campus.
Culinary Institute LeNôtre
Houston: At the Culinary Institute LeNôtre, student options include working in an on-site gourmet restaurant, plus the Le Bistro & Wine Lounge, an organic garden, and a summer externship to France. Chef instructors have a minimum of 10 years experience and the average ratio is 12 students per chef instructor in the kitchen labs. Students spend 85 percent of their time in the kitchen labs in hands-on learning. The school offers specialty electives such as Hotel, Hospitality, and Restaurant Management, a sommelier course, and Advanced Artistic Skills in Pastry Décor. Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking and Pastry Arts / Hospitality and Restaurant Management. Degrees: Four Elite Diplôme Programs / Three Associate Degree Programs.
El Centro College
Dallas: Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking and Pastry / Food and Hospitality Service. Degrees: Associate of Applied Science / Certificate Programs. Cost: $708 (in district); $1,332 (out of district); $2,008 (non-Texas resident).
Faulkner State Community College
Gulf Shores, Alabama: Programs: Culinary Arts / Pastry and Baking Concentration / Hospitality Management / Events Planning. Degrees: Associate of Applied Science / Certificate Programs. Cost: $1,728 to $2,160 in-state; $3,108 to $3,885 out-of-state.
Institute of Culinary Education
New York City: Students pursuing Culinary Arts, Pastry & Baking Arts, or Hospitality Management spend 210 hours in externship programs in addition to the 400 to 440 hours spent hands-on in class. Students interested in owning and operating their own food businesses can double major in Culinary Management and Culinary Arts or Pastry & Baking Arts. Hospitality Management students can apply their ICE diploma toward an Associate Degree from Excelsior College. The ICE program has flexible morning, afternoon, evening, hybrid, and weekend schedules. Tuition includes an iPad, books, knives, tool kits, and electives. Financial aid, scholarships, and tuition discounts are available to all ICE students who qualify. In 2015, ICE was named "Culinary School of the Year" by the IACP, an honor the school also received in 2003, 2008, and 2011. Programs: Culinary Arts / Pastry and Baking Arts / Hospitality Management / Culinary Management. Cost: Culinary Arts or Pastry and Baking Arts: $33,890 to $40,100 / Management Programs: $13,920 to $15,990.
Institute of Technology Culinary School
Clovis and Modesto, California: Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking and Pastry. Degrees: Culinary Arts / Baking and Pastry. Cost: Specialist Diplomas entail a 30-week or 40-week program, tuition $18,025 to $20,025. The Culinary Arts Professional AOS Degree requires 70 weeks, tuition $31,025.
The International Culinary Center
New York City; Campbell, California; and Italy: At the International Culinary Center in New York City, students tend to be a little older, typically age 24 to 30. Founder and CEO Dorothy Cann Hamilton has seen a lot of evolution since the school opened in 1984, but what hasn't changed is the passion of culinary students. Programs: Culinary Arts / Pastry Arts. Degrees: Culinary Diploma / Grand Diplôme. Cost: $29,500 to $39,900.
L'Academie de Cuisine
Gaithersburg, Maryland: In addition to providing substantive, professional training programs that prepare students for employment, the school maintains a job board and networking opportunities for alumni. Programs: Culinary Arts / Pastry Arts. Degrees: Certificate of Graduation. Cost: $30,500.
Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri, and Cordova, Tennessee: Programs: Culinary and Restaurant Management / Culinary Fundamentals. Degrees: Associate of Occupational Studies / Certificate and Diploma programs. Cost: The Culinary Fundamentals program takes 40 weeks, awards a diploma, and costs $22,100. An AOS degree in Culinary & Restaurant Management takes 70 weeks and costs $37,300.
Lincoln Culinary Institute
West Palm Beach, Florida: For those who graduated in 2015 with an AAS degree, 60 percent completed the program in 77 weeks; job placement for those who completed the program is 89 percent. For those who graduated from the certificate program, 83 percent finished in 51 weeks; job placement for those graduates is 79 percent. Programs: Culinary Arts / International Baking & Pastry / Culinary Management. Degrees: Associate of Applied Science Degree / Undergraduate Certificate. Cost: $35,874 for AAS; $26,118 for certificate.
San Diego Culinary Institute
La Mesa, California: Programs: Commis de Cuisine / Baking and Pastry Program. Degrees: Advanced Professional Diploma in Cuisine / Advanced Professional Diploma in Pastry. Cost: $23,556 for Cuisine; $22,482 for Pastry. Full-time students complete the cuisine or pastry program in eight months, part-time or evening students complete the program in 11 months.
San Francisco Cooking School
Downtown San Francisco: Enrollment is capped at 14 students per session, which means the school can graduate 98 students a year. Although small in size and relatively new, San Francisco Cooking School has distinguished itself by the company it keeps, fostering partnerships with chefs, restaurants, and foodservice leaders in the area. The school's Board of Advisors includes chefs and owners from the city's prominent restaurants including Stuart Brioza, chef/owner of State Bird Provisions and The Progress; Brandon Jew, chef/owner of Mister Jiu's; Belinda Leong, pastry chef/owner of B. Patissere; and Lincoln Carson, executive pastry chef of the Michael Mina Group—to name just a few. Programs: Culinary Arts / Pastry Arts. Degrees: Professional Certificate. Cost: $29,275 (Culinary) / $28,450 (Pastry).
National Center for Hospitality Studies. Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky: Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking & Pastry Arts / Hotel Restaurant Management / Event Management and Tourism. Degrees: Associate degrees offered in all programs. Career Diplomas are offered for Personal/Private Chef, Professional Baker, and Professional Cook. Cost: Vary by program.