The Top 10 Culinary Schools in the U.S.

Aspiring to be an outstanding professional in a culinary arts-related field? It makes sense that you’d want to go to one of the top culinary schools in the US.

The culinary industry is very intense and competitive, which is why investing in the right education will make a difference in your ability to move up throughout your career.

We’ve gathered some research around the top culinary programs and schools in the US and the potential cost of your education there. 

Top 10 Culinary Schools 

Institute of Culinary Education

At the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), students can choose to learn in two major locations: New York City and Los Angeles. Since 1975, ICE offers 6-13 months career training in culinary-related programs. The institute is home to more than 14,000 successful alumni.  

Programs Offered: 

  • Culinary Arts: $36,050-$40,660
  • Pastry and Baking Arts: $29,900-$39,900
  • Natural Gourmet Center: $30,500-$34,500
  • Restaurant and Culinary Management: $13,980-$15,530
  • Hospitality and Hotel Management: $13,990-$15,990

Associated Costs: See above for associated costs 

Financial Aid Available: Available to those who qualify

The Culinary Institute of America

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) was founded in 1946 with campuses in New York, California, Texas and Singapore. The institute is dedicated to providing one of the best professional culinary educations. Students who choose to attend can benefit from a variety of leadership opportunities. 

Programs Offered:

  • Baking and Pastry Arts (AA/BA)
  • Culinary Arts (AA/BA)
  • Hospitality Management (BA)
  • Applied Food Studies (BA)
  • Culinary Science (BA)
  • Food Business Management (BA)
  • Food Business Leadership (BA Online)
  • Food Business (MA)
  • Wine Management (MA)
  • Accelerated Culinary Arts Certificate Program

Associated Costs: 

  • Online: $8,280-$9,660 per semester
  • Campus: $16,770-$18,230 per semester

Financial Aid Available: On average, students receive about $21,159 in financial aid 

per year

International Culinary Center

With campuses in New York City and Silicon Valley, International Culinary Center (ICC) offers a total immersion curriculum. Students can learn fundamental skills from experienced chef-instructors. Do you know Bobby Flay? Well, ICC is his alma mater. 

Programs Offered:

  • Career Culinary 
  • Career Pastry and Baking 
  • Career Sommelier

Associated Costs: $6,950-$44,900 per year

Financial Aid Available: Available to those who qualify

New England Culinary Institute

New England Culinary Institute (NECI) takes great pride in their job placement rate. At this institute, students are exposed to hand-on learning experiences which contributes to the high job placement rate. Having small classes allows students to learn one-on-one with industry professionals.

Programs Offered:

  • Culinary Arts (BA)
  • Baking and Pastry Arts (BA)
  • Food and Beverage Business Management (BA)

Associated Costs: Based on credit hours. Contact school for more info.

Financial Aid Available: Available to those who qualify

Culinary Institute LeNotre 

Culinary LeNotre is a for-profit college located in Houston, Texas. The small institution has an 100% acceptance rate, which means that it caters to anyone. The programs offered at Culinary LeNotre increase opportunities for students to start their own business.

Programs Offered: 

  • Culinary Arts and Food Service 
  • Baking and Pastry Arts
  • Hotel and Restaurant Management

Associated Costs: $25,209 per year

Financial Aid Available: On average, students receive about $3,436 in financial aid per year

Johnson & Wales University

Johnson & Wales University (JWU) offers a wide range of programs across four campuses: Providence, North Miami, Denver and Charlotte. These programs allow students to explore leadership opportunities that will add value to their professional development. 

Programs Offered:

  • Applied Food Science (BS)
  • Baking and Pastry Arts (AS/BS)
  • Baking and Pastry Arts and Food Service Management (BS)
  • Culinary Arts (AS/BS)
  • Culinary Arts and Food and Beverage Industry Management (BS)
  • Culinary Arts and Food Service Management (BS)
  • Culinary Nutrition (BS)
  • Culinary Science and Product Development (BS)
  • Design Your Own Major (BA)
  • Dietetics and Applied Nutrition (BS)
  • Event Management (BS)
  • Food and Beverage Entrepreneurship (BS)
  • Food and Beverage Industry Management (BS)
  • Food Industry Compliance Management (BS)
  • Food Safety (MS)
  • Hospitality Management (BS)
  • International Beverage Management (MS)
  • Nutrition (MS)
  • Professional Craft Brewing (Certificate Program)
  • Restaurant, Food and Beverage Management (BS)
  • Sustainable Food Systems (BS)

Associated Costs: $34,376 per year

Financial Aid Available: Available to those who qualify

Kendall College School of Culinary Arts

Founded in 1934, Kendall College is  considered one of the best culinary arts schools in Chicago. Their culinary programs combine a strong academic foundation with top notch experience to get students prepared for the real world. The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation accredits these programs.

Programs Offered:

  • Baking and Pastry 
  • Culinary Arts
  • Hospitality Management

Associated Costs: $32,980-$35,616 per year

Financial Aid Available: Available to those who qualify

Walnut Hill College 

Since 1974, Walnut Hill College has prepared students for the rigors of the culinary industry by combining classroom teaching and hands-on learning. Today, the school has become one of Philadelphia’s first colleges to focus on excellence in hospitality education.

Programs Offered:

  • Culinary Arts
  • Pastry Arts
  • Restaurant Management
  • Hotel Management

Associated Costs: $6,350-$9,825 per semester

Financial Aid Available: Available to those who qualify

The University of Alabama

The University of Alabama (UA) offers a variety of courses designed to prepare students

for a career in the food and hospitality industry. Students can learn in a traditional classroom setting or via distance learning. UA graduates are typically employed in restaurants, hotels, catering businesses and commercial and institutional food service establishments.

Programs Offered:

  • Restaurant and Food Services Management (BS)
  • Food and Nutrition (BS)

Associated Costs: $29,000 per year 

Financial Aid Available: Available to those who qualify

ECPI University 

ECPI University offers culinary related programs in three Virginia locations: Newport News, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach. Each campus gives students the opportunity to work alongside professional chef instructors in a hands-on environment. In addition, students will be exposed to what it takes to operate a profitable kitchen.

Programs Offered:

  • Culinary Arts
  • Culinary Nutrition
  • Food Service Management 
  • Baking and Pastry Arts 

Costs: $19,779 per year

Financial Aid Available: On average, students receive about $5,650 in financial aid per year

The culinary arts industry is very competitive and demanding. Attending the right school will not only help you prepare for a challenging career, but it will also give you the necessary tools to succeed.