Culinary School: Top Ranked School for Becoming a Chef - Providence, RI

Jul 06, 2020

School and Ranking Information

There are seven schools within 50 miles of Providence, RI, that offer culinary arts programs designed to prepare chefs. These schools include community colleges and 4-year private not-for-profit schools. Three schools stand out based on program offerings and rankings:

  • Winner: Johnson & Wales University was ranked among the top universities in the region. It offers culinary arts certificate, associate's and bachelor's degree programs.
  • Runner Up: Boston University, a nationally ranked school, offers a full-time culinary arts certificate program that was established by Julia Child and Jacques Pépin nearly 25 years ago.

School Comparison Chart

Category Johnson & Wales University Boston University
Ranking 80th for regional universities (North) in 2020* 40th for national universities in 2020*
Location Providence, RI Boston, MA (38 miles from Providence)
School Type 4-year private not-for-profit 4-year private not-for-profit
Tuition & Fees 2019-2020 $33,404* $55,892*
Culinary Degree Levels Offered Associate's, Bachelor's degrees & Undergraduate Certificate Master
Culinary Degrees and Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in 2018-2019 651** 27**
Most Popular Culinary Program in 2018-2019 Associate's degree (493 awarded)** Master's degree (27)**
Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2013 Entering Class 65%** 88%**
Noteworthy Offers study abroad and some online courses Program includes hands-on experience & field trips

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator

Winner: Johnson & Wales University

  • Two associate's and five bachelor's degree choices related to culinary arts
  • Located in downtown Providence
  • 91% admission rate, according to U.S. News & World Report

Johnson & Wales University's College of Culinary Arts offers associate's degrees for both culinary arts and baking and pastry arts. Students who complete the Associate in Science degree can continue for two more years to earn a Bachelor of Science. Specialization options for the 4-year degree include: baking and pastry arts; culinary arts and food service management; culinary nutrition; food entrepreneurship; and baking and pastry arts/food service management. Culinary students can also pursue concentrations in topics ranging from beverage service management to Sommelier training or wellness and sustainability. Students also have opportunities to study abroad and participate in internships, and some courses are available in an online format.

Runner-Up: Boston University

  • Program is taught by practicing food experts and professional chefs
  • Laboratory kitchen boasts the newest culinary equipment
  • Enrollment is limited to 12 students

Boston University offers a semester-long certificate program in culinary arts that includes over 400 hours of instruction and hands-on experience. Students attend from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. four days a week and participate in additional field trips, demonstrations and evening seminars. The school includes program co-founder Jacques Pépin on the list of faculty members, and French techniques and other ethnic cuisines are part of the curriculum. Instruction also covers herbs, salads, seafood, meats, vegetables, pastas, grains, stocks, sauces and pastries, along with food writing, restaurant practices, nutrition, safety and sanitation. The program is offered through the Boston University Metropolitan College.

Additional Option: Community College of Rhode Island

  • 16-credit culinary arts assistant certificate is completed in one semester
  • Includes an administrative office technology course

Another option for basic culinary training is available through a certificate program offered by the Rhode Island Community College. The culinary program is available on the school's Flanagan campus in Lincoln, RI, about six miles outside of Providence. Courses include food sanitation and the fundamentals of food production and restaurant operations. A $1,000 lab fee is added to the regular tuition for culinary arts students. Enrollment is limited to 12 students per semester, and students commit to full-time attendance from 1 p.m.-8 p.m.

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