Cooking Classes: Top Ranked Chef Training School - Houston, TX

School and Ranking Information

Houston has seven options available for anyone interested in studying to become a chef. Based on accreditation and training opportunities, the top three schools in Houston for students wishing to study culinary arts are:

  • Winner: San Jacinto College is the only public college in the area that is accredited by the American Culinary Federation.
  • Runner Up #1: Alvin Community College offers certificate and associate's programs and was the winner of the Hops and Hog Competition 2013 in the culinary school division.
  • Runner Up #2: Houston Community College offers students the opportunity to learn through specialized classroom and practical lab experiences.

School Comparison Chart

Category San Jacinto College Alvin Community College Houston Community College
Location Pasadena (23 miles from downtown Houston) Alvin (32 miles from downtown Houston) Houston
School Type 2-year, public 2-year, public 2-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $1,312 (in-district), $2,296 (in-state), $3,496 (out-of-state)* $1,432 (in-district), $2,440 (in-state), $3,544 (out-of-state)* $1,627 (in-district), $3,355 (in-state), $3,751 (out-of-state)*
Chef Training Degree Levels Offered Certificates; associate's degrees Certificates; associate's degrees Certificates; associate's degrees
Chef Training Degrees and Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in 2012 74* 28* 71*
Most Popular Chef Training Program 2011-2012 1-2 Year Certificate in Culinary Arts/Chef Training (37 awarded)* 1-2 Year Certificate in Culinary Arts/Chef Training (22 awarded)* Associate in Culinary Arts/Chef Training (25 awarded)*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2009 Entering Class 14%* 12%* 13%*
Noteworthy Students participate in culinary competitions School participated in the Hops and Hogs event sponsored by the Professionals in Culinary Arts in 2013 School offers state-of-the-art professional lab

Sources: *NCES College Navigator

Winner: San Jacinto College

  • Student organizations include a Texas Restaurant Association-Raven Chapter, an Artisan Bakers Club, and a Culinary Club
  • On-campus child care available
  • Chef training has a 100% job placement rate, according to the school

San Jacinto College offers multiple associate's degrees and certificate programs in culinary arts. A student may wish to obtain an associate's degree in culinary arts, pastry chef, or chef training. Additionally, certificates in culinary arts, chef training, cuisine, and pastry chef are available, as well as programs in baking, cook specialty, and food specialty, to name a few. Students learn fundamental and advanced culinary arts techniques in cuisine, pastry, and management through lectures, hands-on training, field trips, labs, and culinary competitions. Students gain hands-on training in preparing dishes and managing a kitchen through working in a restaurant, bakery, café, and a full-service catering company.

Runner-Up #1: Alvin Community College

  • Culinary Club available for culinary students
  • Winner of the Hops and Hog competition 2013 in the culinary school division

The culinary arts program at Alvin Community College is a sequential program where all culinary students must enroll in the full curriculum of classes each semester. The classes cover a variety of topics from general education and management to specific culinary classes and practical experiences in food preparation, baking, and international cuisine. The college offers both an associate's degree in culinary arts and a certificate program. Dress code requirements must be met for a student to be allowed to work in the kitchen.

Runner-Up #2: Houston Community College

  • Students learn through specialized classroom and practical lab experiences
  • The program offers four faculty members

Houston Community College offers both an associate's degree and a certificate in culinary arts. Students receive both instructional demonstrations and hands-on learning in preparation and cooking of specialty foods. Course emphasis is placed on sanitation, care and usage of commercial kitchen equipment, and food handling and preparation.

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