13 Best Culinary Schools in The World
Most chefs agree that culinary schools are a great way for people to get their foot in the door, and formal training also gives you the technical tools to perform in this competitive and, at times, brutal industry. Formal training provides the mental discipline required to perform well under a lot of stress.
Culinary schools are great for teaching a wide range of techniques from the classic French to molecularChef David Newstead of Soneva Kiri.
But the top culinary schools have even more to offer. They have a lot of clout in the food world and open many doors. They teach you invaluable skills for when the time comes to own your own restaurant like menu planning, facilities design, cost control, legal education, and management techniques.
Top culinary schools can also be very expensive and pay in the first few years after graduation is generally poor. Think this through, research available scholarships, and make sure a career in the restaurant industry is really something you want to do.
Related: Best Culinary Schools in Europe
There is some subjectivity in our top culinary school rankings in the world as data on graduation outcomes, graduation rates, or faculty resources are hard to come by.
1. Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, USA
Campus locations: Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
The school is named after the world-famous Auguste Escoffier who began his career at the age of 13. Driven by his ambition to be the best, he became the iconic chef who revolutionized modern French cuisine and made an important impact on the history of culinary arts.
Located in the US with campuses in Boulder, Colorado, and Austin, Texas, the accredited schools specializes in culinary and pastry arts education offering diploma and degree programs for both subjects. Students receive career services assistance while in school and after graduation.
They follow the farm-to-table philosophy that teaches students where food comes from and encourages them to respect local resources and sustainable practices. In small classes, trainees are empowered to achieve their potential in courses based on the methods, principles, and systems of the Emperor of Chefs, as Wilhelm II called him. It was Chef Escoffier who brought in the new a la carte approach to menus.
Depending on the campus and program of interest, financial aid options are available to those who qualify.
Course fees (Austin campus) – excluding books and on-campus room and board:
- Associate of Applied Science Degree in Culinary Arts: $30,285 plus $650 supplies, total 30,935
- Pastry Arts Diploma: $17,635 plus $450 equipment and supplies, total $18,085
- Online Diploma in Culinary Arts and Operations: $17,770
2. Culinary Arts Academy, Switzerland
Campus locations: Lucerne and Le Bouveret
With a reputation of being one of the most well-respected culinary institutions in the world, the Culinary Arts Academy, located in Switzerland and a member of Swiss Education Group, prepares students for their future career journey, focusing on entrepreneurship as well as kitchen skills.
This is a highly selective school with only 300 students accommodated on two campuses, one in the historic center of Lucerne and the other lakeside at Le Bouveret.
The Academy offers a variety of study options, from one-term education courses to three-year Bachelor’s education programs. Courses include:
- the Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts
- Swiss Grand Diploma in Culinary Arts
- Swiss Grand Diploma in Pastry and Chocolate Arts
- Diploma in Vegetarian Culinary Arts (starting mid-2020).
The institution has also announced a new postgraduate degree program to be launched at the end of 2020 or start of 2021 (Master of International Business in Culinary Business Management).
The Culinary Arts Academy also offers a Masters in International Business in Culinary Management.
With an approach to culinary traditions that reflects modern trends, trainees will become experts in international cuisine from traditional culinary basics to international fine-dining methods.
Furthermore, students have unique internship opportunities available through industry juggernauts like the Ritz Paris and Ritz Escoffier. Scholarship options are in the form of merit-based and financial scholarships.
Course fees – including student accommodation and either one or two terms per year:
- Bachelor’s degree program – from 19,543.00 SFr/term
- Swiss Grand Diploma programs – from 17,000.00 SFr/term
- Diploma in Vegetarian Culinary Arts – from 17,000.00 SFr/term
- Master program – starting from 18,850.00 SFr/term
3. Culinary Institute of America, USA
Campus locations: Hyde Park, NY, San Antonio, TX, Napa, CA and Singapore.
The first school of its kind in the US opened its doors in 1946 in downtown New Haven.
Today, the Culinary Institute of America spans coast to coast and even has an international campus in Singapore. It was first created specifically to train returning World War II veterans and initially enrolled 50 students. All three of the US campuses offer associate degrees but only the institute’s main campus in New York offers culinary students a bachelor’s degree.
The California Campus located in Napa Valley hosts a one-of-a-kind Food Business School that teaches aspiring restaurant owners how to overcome the challenges that come with running a foodservice.
The New York campus in Hudson Valley offers students true life experiences by operating four public restaurants specializing in Italian cuisine, French cuisine, American cuisine, and café foods such as sandwiches, soups, and baked treats.
The California and Texas campuses also provide students with work at on-site restaurants but they don’t offer the same range of cooking styles found at the New York campus.
The schools offer a variety of programs for food and wine enthusiasts with some lasting just a couple of hours and others much like a multi-day boot camp.
The Associate Degree program in the Culinary Arts at Greystone is a 21-month course that is divided into four semesters, each one with a tuition rate of $13,230 for the 2013-2014 school year. Up to date tuition and fees are available on demand. Other scholarships and grants are available at New York, California, and Texas campuses for qualified culinary arts students.
From the institution’s long list of notable alumni, we can mention the famous Anthony Bourdain, who the Insitute honored with a scholarship in his name.
Some other famous alumni include Charlie Palmer, David Burke, Michael Mina, Grant Achatz, Cat Cora, Anne Burrell, Michael Ruhlman, Roy Choi, Michael Chiarello, Michael Simon, Steve Ells, Todd English, Goefrrey Zakarian, Rick Moonen, Annabel Langbein, Dean Fearing.
4. Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, France
Campus locations: Paris, France, London, UK, Ottawa, Canada, Bangkok, Thailand, Sydney, Australia
Le Cordon Bleu in Paris is known as one of the most illustrious institutions for culinary education, especially if you’re interested in French cuisine, as this institute is considered the guardian of French techniques.
The first woman in her class, Julia Child, graduated in 1949 and the school even has a popular demo on boeuf bourguignon in her honor.
One- to four-day courses and workshops are available for amateur chefs at most of its 40 campuses. Stretched over five continents from Tokyo to Lima, Le Cordon Bleu is the largest of culinary and hospitality school in the world.
Considered the passport to a world of career opportunities, Le Grand Diplôme® is an intensive and comprehensive program in classic French culinary techniques that combines Diplôme de Pâtisserie and Diplôme de Cuisine.
The variety of programs includes: Pastry & Confectionery, Cuisine, Cuisine of the World, Hospitality Management & Gastronomy, Wine & Spirits, Gastronomy & Nutrition, Culinary Arts & Business, Continuing Education & Professional Development, Gourmet & Short Courses; Bakery, Danish Pastries & Artisan Breads; Cheese; Tourism, Conventions & Events; Le Petits Cordons Bleus; Online Learning.
Le Cordon Bleu Paris offers new applicants and students of all nationalities several scholarship opportunities.
5. Institute of Culinary Education, New York, USA
Campus locations: New York, NY and Los Angeles, California
Award winning and named the best culinary school in 2016 by cooking authority The Daily Meal, the Institute of Culinary Education is located in downtown Manhattan, New York.
Originally founded in 1975 and called Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School, the institute offers several programs: Culinary Arts, Pastry & Baking Arts, Culinary Management, and Hospitality Management.
Holding 1,500 classes per year, every interest and skill level are covered including recreational cooking courses and continuing educating courses.
The New York campus provides opportunities for advanced creativity. It includes the first education-focused bean-to-bar Chocolate Lab, an indoor hydroponic herb garden and vegetable farm, a Culinary Technology Lab outfitted with a tandoor, hearth oven, vertical rotisserie, and cutting-edge modernist equipment, and dedicated spaces for mixology and wine studies.
Scholarship opportunities are available at the Institute of Culinary Education and up to date tuition and fees are available on demand.
From the notable alumni we can name Vivian Howard, Ed Behr, Rachel Yang, Gail Simmons, Marc Murphy, Mashama Bailey, Vivian Howard, Elisa Strauss, Zac Young, Denisse Oller, Carl Ruiz, Brad Leone, Catherine McCord, Anne Thornton, Gail Monagham, and many more.
6. Apicius, Italy
Campus location: Florence, Italy
Apicius International School of Hospitality is the first International School of Hospitality in Italy founded in 1997 and is now a thriving center of cuisine, wine, and hospitality – a respected leader in academic, professional, and career oriented education.
Set in the beautiful Italian city of Florence, the school follows a more academic structure of lectures, workshops, and seminars over its three locations in the city.
It has state of the art facilities including the Ganzo, Sorgiva, and Dimora learning labs that link students with the local community for experience in hospitality, catering, and management. It also has its very own pastry shop, Fedora, that showcases student work.
The School of Food and Wine Studies offers courses in Baking and Pastry; Culinary Arts; Dietetics and Nutrition; Food and Culture; Food, Family, and Consumer Sciences; Wine and Culture; and Wine Expertise. The School of Hospitality offers Hospitality and Tourism Management; Hotel and Lodging Management; Restaurant, Food, and Beverage Management; and Spa Management.
Part of the Florence University of the Arts, Apicius offers two four-year bachelor’s degrees, one Hospitality Management and the other Food and Wine Studies.
Being “The Amerian University in Florence”, students also have the opportunity to transfer their coursework to a US bachelor’s degree program.
Their Certificate Career Programs, one or two years, are unique for their combination of in-classroom experiential learning and practice in the field within the dynamic local community.
The streamlined program features four areas of study with a common core for the first year. For the second year, each area of study offers a choice of four specialization areas. Options are available for direct access to second year specializations.
7. Westminster Kingsway College, London, UK
Campus location: London, UK
Based in the heart of London and a part of the Capital City College Group Westminster Kingsway College operates across four campuses – King’s Cross Centre, Victoria Centre, Soho Centre, and Regent’s Park Centre.
The school has an excellent reputation in Culinary Arts and Hospitality, with its roots dating back to 1909.
The programs are designed to fit those from the very young but passionate to adults taking a turn into a new career. The range of courses begins with the Young Chef Academy for teens aged between 13 and 16 who are interested in becoming a chef. The five-week Saturday course is £100 per person which includes everything the budding chef will need.
The Grand Escoffier Diploma offers six kitchen based modules from which students choose either a patisserie education – Breads and Viennoiserie; Pastes, Tarts, Pies & Quiches; and Hot & Cold Desserts; or a culinary education – Pasta, Rice & Seasonal Vegetables; Nose to Tail, Meat, Game & Poultry; and Fish, Shellfish and Sustainability. Students pass the RSPH Certificate and a minimum of three modules to obtain their diploma.
Course fees are around £9000 for culinary degree and around £8,500 for patisserie.
Notable alumni: Jamie Oliver, Ainsley Harriot, Kathy Burke, Michelle Collins.
8. Kendall College, School of Culinary Arts, IL, USA
Campus locations: Chicago, IL
The Kendall College School of Culinary Arts located in the heart of Chicago develops not only culinary skills but solid business management and communication abilities within its three programs: Culinary Arts, Baking & Pastry, and Hospitality Management.
Michelin recommended and Zagat rated, the Dining Room at Kendall College is in fact managed and operated by Kendall students.
Culinary Arts provides a wide range of courses complete with Associate of Applied Science degree programs that provide aspiring chefs and bakers with the knowledge they need to enter the food service industry, such as nutrition, kitchen operations, and food safety.
The Bachelor of Arts is a four-year degree that combines rigorous culinary training in the first two years with a solid set of business skills and general education studies in the last two.
In junior and senior years, students practice cooking Latin, South American, Mediterranean, Asian, and other world cuisines also gaining real-world experience through an internship at a restaurant in Chicago.
For those who want to change careers, start a small business, or complement their current work experience with foundational professional cooking skills, the Culinary Arts Certificate will suit perfectly.
The baking and pastry section also has various degrees and certificates available: the A.A.S. in Baking and Pastry, Baking and Pastry Certificate, and Culinary Arts Certificate.
Financial aid is offered in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, or work-study to make the College accessible to students coming from a variety of backgrounds. Terms are determined with each applicant according to their circumstances.
Notable alumni include Michael White, Mindy Segal, and José Garces.
9. BHMS, Lucerne, Switzerland
Campus location: Lucerne
Business and Hotel Management School, one of the best Swiss culinary schools located in Lucerne, offers programs for specializing in the culinary arts.
Students acquire all the fundamental skills they need to work in a real food production kitchen from food preparation and presentation to kitchen management, all through hands-on training and classroom learning.
The BHMS offers a full range of qualifications starting with the Diploma in Culinary Arts. This one-year course introduces students to the world of food production through basic operational techniques and hands-on training in the basics of European cooking techniques, patisserie, and food safety and nutrition.
Following on in the second year, students can take the BHMS Higher Diploma in Culinary Arts, which builds on students’ understanding of culinary principles with advanced cold kitchen techniques, contemporary dish creation and presentation, and a dedicated chocolatier course.
Successfully completing a third year, students take home a Bachelor in Culinary Arts. Honing their practical, leadership, and business skills, this course builds on students’ existing culinary competencies and experience, leading to a Bachelor in Culinary Arts. The course provides training in new product development, molecular cuisine, applying technology, and team management as well as food service management.
The full 3-year course provides students with the specialized knowledge necessary for opening their own culinary or catering business. Tuition fees cost around 32,000 SFR per year.
10. Gastronomicom International Culinary Academy, France
Campus location: Agde (Southern France), France
This international culinary academy was founded in 2005 by Martine Lessault enrolling students from all over the world in a charming town in the south of France.
There is a wide range of programs of varying length to choose from that are intended both for beginners and professionals.
The school offers three courses, French cooking, pastry, and French language in a range of programs involving hands-on classes and internships lasting from four weeks to a full year. The Gourmet (one month) and Epicure (two months) programs offer six course options of either one of the three courses or a combination of two.
The Academy also offers a Diploma in Gastronomic Cooking or Pastry that can be completed in seven months or 12. Both courses offer internships at luxury hotel-restaurants in France including room and board.
For lucky pastry students, Johanna Le Pape, 2014 world champion of sweet arts, provides a masterclass three times a year (March, May and October). Cooking and wine workshops are also available. Tuition fees start at 2,440€ for one-month course and go up to 18,000 € for a one-year program.
11. Culinary Institute of Barcelona, Spain
Campus location: Barcelona, Spain
Here you will find cookery courses that nurture creativity and innovation in the kitchen and inspire restaurant leaders.
The school prides itself on its unique methodology that rejects the traditional teaching of how to follow recipes. Instead, its three focuses of product, technique and context produce chefs able to innovate, to solve problems, and to adapt to whatever products in whichever circumstances.
Whether you want to become a chef, have experience and want to specialize, or want focus on management, the school has well designed courses to meet all needs. If you want to “have it all”, you can work towards the Gran Chef Diploma.
The Gran Chef Diploma (20 months, 32,000€) is a highly sought after diploma requiring a total of 1,200 classroom hours. The Gran Chef Diploma requires successful completion of the Haute Cuisine Diploma, 1 culinary specialism, and 1 management specialism, plus six months’ internship at one of 100 restaurants linked to the school.
12. Hattori Nutrition College, Japan
Campus: Tokyo, Japan
One of the most renowned culinary schools in Asia, and a top choice for any aspiring culinarian in Japan, the Hattori Nutrition College established in 1939 by the popular Iron Chef, Yukio Hattori. As well as culinary courses, the College provides dietary education based on “Shokuiku”, which is the Japanese term for “food education”.
The president’s theory defines it as the “acquisition of knowledge about food and nutrition, as well as the ability to make appropriate decisions through practical experience with food, with the aim of developing people’s ability to live on a healthy diet.”
Students will become chefs that will not only create tasty dishes but will take full consideration of health, safety, and the environment.
The Nutrition Course teaches you to coordinate your diet to maintain health by understanding food and nutrition alongside a wide range of required knowledge.
The one-year culinary course creates a chef able to bring joy to the table by using the best ingredients: technique, practical training, and a developed sense. In the first year of the Culinary High-Tech Business Administration Course, students acquire a foundation in all areas and in the second year they specialize in a cooking practice chosen from Japanese, Western, Chinese, or Confectionery/Bakery.
After graduating the Culinary Patisserie & Boulangerie Course, it is possible to obtain a cook’s license to work in pastry shops, bakeries, hotels, and restaurants.
One-year tuition fee is around 716,000 yen.
Are you a graduate of any of these prestigious schools? We’d love to get your feedback on your on-campus experience, and also how it helped your career.
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