How to Select a Chef School
A chef is a professional cook who typically works for a restaurant, hotel or catering business. There are many different culinary arts programs available in the United States to train aspiring chefs. When researching schools, students should consider the credentials of each program and are encouraged to seek culinary arts programs accredited by the American Culinary Federation. Chef programs can vary in length and depth, and some schools may offer several options. When selecting a chef school, students should decide whether they wish to enroll in a certificate program, an associate's degree program or a bachelor's degree program. Further considerations when selecting a school may include:
- Students may also want to look for programs designed to provide the necessary training to be certified by the American Culinary Federation after graduation.
- Because apprenticeships play a large role in the education and advancement of chefs, the internship and career placement opportunities offered by culinary universities can be a major consideration when selecting a program.
- Most culinary arts schools have test kitchen facilities on site where students learn the basics of cooking, and often, these test kitchens serve a dual function as operating restaurants, allowing prospective chefs hands-on experience in a real professional kitchen environment.
- Consideration should also be given to the restaurants, hotels and catering companies in which program alumni have placed, because those educational connections can provide internship and employment opportunities for recent graduates.
Chef Program Overviews
Certificate programs provide students with the skills needed to perform entry-level food service jobs. Classes focus on basic baking and cooking methods, knife skills and menu planning. Certificate programs typically require 30 credit hours for completion.
Associate's Degree Program
Associate's degree programs are 2-year training programs in the culinary arts. Students learn about various aspects of food service operations, including nutrition, meal planning, purchasing and food preparation. Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions as chefs, sous-chefs, bakers and station chefs.
Bachelor's Degree Program
Bachelor's degree programs give prospective chefs the chance to develop proficiency in both contemporary and classic culinary techniques and methods, including table d'hôte, à la carte and banquet settings. Advanced food classes in a variety of international cuisine are also offered. Aspiring chefs also learn how to be effective managers by attending courses on marketing, finance, computers and business management.
10 Chef Schools
|Institute of Culinary Education||<2-year, Private for-profit|
|Culinary Institute of America||4-year, Private not-for-profit|
|Culinary Institute of America at Greystone||2-year, Private not-for-profit|
|International Culinary Center||<2-year, Private for-profit|
|Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts - Chicago||2-year, Private for-profit|
|Kendall College||4-year, Private for-profit|
|New England Culinary Institute||4-year, Private for-profit|
|L'Academie de Cuisine||<2-year, Private for-profit|
|Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts||<2-year Private for-profit|
|Johnson & Wales University Providence||4-year, Private not-for-profit|