Best Culinary Schools in Canada
We asked 100s of chefs if choosing to attend culinary school is worth it. More than 70% said yes! So, if you’re prepping for a cooking career in Canada, here are some of the most prestigious culinary schools to choose from.
There’s plenty to learn if you decide to follow a culinary course here! And you’ll definitely have some competition, since thousands of amateur cooks and students enroll in culinary schools all across Canada every year.
Top chefs from top kitchens can teach you all you need to know, whether you want to become a baker, a restaurant manager, or a chef yourself. And the first step: choosing where to start your journey.
Here are your choices: the best culinary schools in Canada
Canada is a meeting point of languages, culture, and foods. Regional cooking has its own signature dishes. Traditional French, and English dishes come together with ethnic influences from all over the world and the fabulous, creative, and inventive tastes of street food.
Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, and Calgary are probably the best major cities when it comes to great culinary experiences, but you’ll find there are many other cities that offer you schooling.
The Canadian food service and hospitality industry is blooming, although the pandemic crisis did hit the industry hard. But the pandemic will end and since Canada’s restaurant scene is thriving and becoming more and more appreciated internationally, it might be a good idea to consider a local culinary school.
You consider taking the test to become Red Seal Certified, since top-class restaurants and hotels look for professionals with these certificates.
Culinary schools in the Maritimes
1. Holland College’s Culinary Institute of Canada, Charlottetown, PEI
The Atlantic Region of Canada has access to the best seafood in the world. Such amazing local ingredients like cod clams, mussels, cod cheeks, salmon, and scallops are really highlighted in the recipes of Holland College’s Institute of Canada.
- A two-year culinary arts program
- A one-year pastry program
- A two-year diploma in international hospitality management
- Kitchen training
- Food management and presentation training
- Boot camps
2. Nova Scotia Community College, Dartmouth, NS
This school has full-time culinary and pastry arts courses that can be attended for one or two years and also shorter continuing-education training. From the latter you can choose cheese making, wine pairings, using tea in cocktails and foods, cider making, and bartending.
4. Academy Canada, St. John’s, NL
Students can choose between a baker and a cook pre-employment program which lasts 9 months. The program is an accredited apprenticeship program offered in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Expect to spend about half the time in a professional kitchen where you will learn to prepare delicious dishes and pastry, depending on your chosen program.
Culinary Schools in Quebec
1. Institut de Tourisme et D’hôtellerie du Québec, Montreal, QC
With a 50-year tradition, Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec is one of the top culinary schools in Canada. Over the years, it has built a fantastic network of both local and international partners, ranging from Marriott, Club Med, and Michelin-starred restaurants.
Its restaurant, Restaurant de l’ITHQ, staffed by hospitality students, is a top-rated restaurant in Montreal serving delicious Canadian fare.
2. Lester B. Pearson Continuing Education, Dorval, QC
Pearson is known for good teaching systems and courses in pastry, bread making, butchery, professional cooking, bar and restaurant management, and in becoming a sommelier. The professional cooking program lasts between 12-13 months, though other shorter programs are available too.
Students have the opportunity to train in the school’s restaurant, Le Saucier dining room, as well as in other top restaurants in Montreal.
3. Culinary School, LaSalle College, Montreal, QC
This is a 12-month program taught in both French and English aimed at students with a keen interest in cooking and gastronomy. You will learn to prepare food, various cooking techniques, to organize and manage a kitchen, and create specific menus. The program includes a 5-week apprenticeship in a local restaurant.
Culinary Schools in Ontario
1. George Brown College’s Chef School, Toronto, ON
This school is located in the heart of Toronto and is known for famous alumni such as Jamie Kennedy, Roger Mooking, and Mark McEwan. It is regarded as one of Canada’s best culinary schools, having a great reputation among local employers for producing some of the best trained students.
There are many different programs available, ranging from certificate to post-graduate programs:
- Kitchen management
- Hospitality services & operations
- Culinary skills & culinary arts
- Baking and pastry arts
- Baker/patissier courses
- IH accredited
2. Stratford Chefs School, Stratford, ON
Situated in the heart of prime Canadian farmland, the not-for-profit culinary school is recognized for training some of Canada’s best chefs. Fun fact: Carl Heinrich, winner of the first season of Top Chef Canada, graduated from here.
3. Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
On-campus brewery for craft beer makers? Winery courses? You’ll find them both here. Not to mention state-of-the-art kitchens!
The school offers multiple programs, such as:
- Sommelier programs
- Classes on brewery and winery management
- Trainings in cooking and desserts
- Culinary management trainings
- Culinary skills
- Baker apprenticeship
- ACF accredited
4. Le Cordon Bleu, Ottawa, ON
If you’re looking to master French cuisine, Le Cordon Bleu is the place to be. This is a top international institution that has a 125-year tradition in schooling some of the best chefs in the world.
The school is headquartered in Paris and its many global locations share the same curriculum. Students work and train in on-site campus restaurants and are offered apprenticeships in some of the best restaurants worldwide.
5. Culinary Arts School of Ontario, Mississauga, ON
This is a culinary career college focused on teaching practical skills and inspiring creativity in the kitchen, while keeping its tuition affordable. Tuition here is generally more affordable than similar schools in Ontario.
The school offers four programs: culinary arts, sous chef diploma, professional chef, and culinary management, ranging from 5 to 12 months. Students are offered the opportunity to work in real restaurant kitchens with industry professionals.
6. Liaison College, Hamilton, ON
This is a private career college with a solid reputation among Canada’s culinary schools. It has an excellent job placement rating (95%), so there are very high chances of scoring a job once you graduate.
- Cooking basics and advanced courses
- Chef de cuisine diploma
- Culinary management
- Specialist chef & Personal chef courses
- Hospitality administration
- ME licensed, NACC member
- No regional accreditation
7. Humber College, Toronto, ON
Humber College offers a wide variety of culinary certificates and programs, from bakery apprenticeships to culinary management. Students gain theoretical and practical skills while learning in kitchen labs as well as real-world restaurants.
- Culinary administration and management
- Culinary skills
- Food and beverage service
- Food and nutrition administration
- Hospitality and tourism operations management
- Hotel and restaurant management
Durham College offers a couple of programs for culinary students where they can learn culinary skills and culinary management. The culinary skills program extends over two semesters, with very affordable tuition, while culinary management is a four-semester program.
Culinary schools in the Prairies & Alberta
1. Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Calgary, AB
The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology offers a great variety of programs from Baking and Pastry Arts, Culinary Entrepreneurship and even a professional program in cooking with charcuterie. You’ll learn how to handle meat and prepare the best bacon and sausages. Everything produced here is served in fine-dining venues locally and on campus.
It was ranked 21st among the best hospitality and hotel management schools globally in 2020. Tuition costs for the culinary arts program are roughly $7,600 CAD for the first year.
2. Red River College, Winnipeg, MB
Since there’s a high demand for its culinary arts program, Red River College only offers courses for Manitoba residents. The culinary diploma program takes two years. Students run the campus restaurant and a public cafeteria as part of their practice.
3. Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Saskatoon, SK
The Saskatchewan Polytechnic prides itself for offering the only four semester advanced culinary training program in the province. If you are from Saskatchewan and want to attend a great culinary arts program locally, this is the place to be.
4. Manitoba Institute of Culinary Arts, Brandon, MB
This is a two-year culinary program where you’ll learn preparation of a full menu, including nutrition, presentation, and international cuisine. It’s an accredited program and graduating students can earn themselves the Red Seal Chef award after completing their apprenticeship.
5. Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Edmonton, AB
SAIT’s counterpart in Edmonton offers a great range of programs from Bakery and Pastry Arts to Professional Meat Cutting and Merchandising to the classical Culinary Arts program.
Students have access to world-class training facilities at the Hokanson Centre for Culinary Arts and prepare dishes that are served at Ernest’s, NAIT’s acclaimed fine dining restaurant.
Culinary Schools in British Columbia
1. Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, Vancouver, B.C.
This is a fantastic school that will prepare you for a culinary career. The school is accredited and has some excellent chef instructors. However, studying at PICA doesn’t come cheap as the tuition fee is almost $40,000 CAD for the one-year program.
2. Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver, Vancouver, B.C.
This school is top-notch and extremely driven to prepare career-focused students for jobs in the food industry ASAP. Students here work on farm plots outside the city of Vancouver where they learn to grow the ingredients they use to provide food to local school kids.
There are many other reasons to choose Northwest Culinary Academy, including more affordable tuition fees compared to other top schools in B.C.
3. LaSalle College, Vancouver, B.C.
The famed Montreal-based school entered the Vancouver market by becoming the Art Institute of Vancouver in 2017. British Columbia students have access now to the same curriculum and top-notch instructors that made LaSalle College in Montreal a top culinary school.
Culinary Schools in Northern Canada
1. Yukon University, Whitehorse, Yukon
While the North is often neglected, you can find amazing ingredients here such as morels, caribou, and cloudberries. The Arctic offers an eight-month culinary arts program at Yukon College.