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

Students interested in studying culinary arts in Providence, RI, have only a few schools to choose from. Read about the top local schools' degree programs, tuition and ranking info to find the right one for you.

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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 #1: 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.
  • Runner Up #2: Newbury College offers certificates in professional cooking and in pastry arts along with an associate's degree in culinary arts. Newbury students gain hands-on experience in the school's showcase restaurant.

School Comparison Chart

Category Johnson & Wales University Boston University Newbury College
Ranking 98th for regional universities (North) in 2013* 51st for national universities in 2013* N/A
Location Providence, RI Boston, MA (38 miles from Providence) Brookline, MA (37 miles from Providence)
School Type 4-year private not-for-profit 4-year private not-for-profit 4-year private not-for-profit
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013 $26,112* $42,994* $27,850*
Culinary Degree Levels Offered Certificate, associate's & bachelor's degrees Certificate Certificate & associate's degree
Culinary Degrees and Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 1,115** N/A 7**
Most Popular Culinary Program in 2011-2012 Associate's degree (592 awarded)** N/A Associate's degree (5 awarded)**
Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2006 Entering Class 53%** 85%** 44%**
Noteworthy Offers study abroad and some online courses Program includes hands-on experience & field trips Culinary arts program includes an internship

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
  • 76.5% 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 #1: 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.

Runner-Up #2: Newbury College

  • School's catalog includes roughly 30 culinary courses
  • Offers evening and weekend classes
  • Students may obtain ServSafe certification during the degree program

Newbury College offers Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Culinary Arts degrees as well as certificates in professional cooking and pastry arts. The 18-credit certificate programs focus solely on culinary training, while the 65-credit degree program adds general education courses to the culinary requirements. Topics covered for the AAS degree include world flavors, contemporary cuisine, classical cuisine, bakeshop, nutrition and dining room service. Students enrolled in the culinary arts degree program must also complete an internship.

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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