Top School in Columbus with a Culinary Arts Program

School and Ranking Information

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) accredits seven schools in Ohio, including four public institutions located within roughly 60 miles of Columbus. Based upon program scope and proximity to the city, the three top ACF-accredited schools are Columbus State Community College, Zane State College and Hocking College.

  • Winner: Columbus State Community College is at the top of the list due to the number and variety of its programs and opportunities for professional certifications.
  • Runner Up #1: Zane State College has the highest graduation rate of all three schools, as well as adult education courses in cooking.
  • Runner Up #2: Hocking College comes in third and has a high number of program graduates, as well as on-campus restaurant training facilities.

School Comparison Chart

Category Columbus State Community College Zane State College Hocking College
Location Columbus, OH Zanesville, OH (52.8 miles from Columbus) Nelsonville, OH (54.8 miles from Columbus)
School Type 2-year, public 2-year, public 2-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $3,400 (in-state);
$6,800 (out-of-state)*
$4,448 (in-state);
$8,828 (out-of-state)*
$4,191 (in-state);
$8,382 (out-of-state)*
Culinary Art Programs Offered Certificate, associate's degree Associate's degree, community education Certificate, associate's degree
Culinary Art Degrees and Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in 2012 41* 17* 91*
Most Popular Culinary Arts Program (2012) Associate in Culinary Arts/Chef Training (21 awarded)* Associate in Culinary Arts/Chef Training (17 awarded)* Associate in Culinary Arts/Chef Training (59 awarded)*
Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for Fall 2009 Entering Class 9%* 28%* 23%*
Noteworthy Career Services division offers students guidance on employment and job searches Community Education Program may cover culinary arts topics College-owned restaurants provide hands-on training

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

Winner: Columbus State Community College

  • Opportunity to obtain dual status as a Certified Culinarian (ACF) and Journeyman Chef (U.S. Department of Labor) through the culinary arts program
  • Qualified graduates of the Restaurant and Foodservice Management program may also be eligible for Certified Culinarian status from the ACF
  • Opportunity to earn a ServSafe certification from the National Restaurant Association
  • Relevant co-curricular activities include the Dietetic Student Association

The Department of Hospitality at Columbus State Community College offers ten different certificate and degree programs related to culinary training, including programs in foodservice and restaurant management, baking and the culinary arts. The most popular course of study is the 73-credit culinary apprenticeship program, which gives students the opportunity to train with professional chefs in restaurants, catering services or hotels. Requirements for this 6-semester course of study include topics in baking, food production, garde manger and international cuisine. Introductory coursework in commercial food production can also be found in the general restaurant and foodservice management or dietetic technology programs.

Aspiring pastry chefs may also be interested in the 16-credit baking certificate or the baking and pastry arts track associated with the restaurant and foodservice management program. In addition to an introduction to baking fundamentals, both programs include a 2-part, pastry-making sequence and a course in artisan and traditional bread production. Students pursuing a degree complete a baking and pastry project and a 3-credit cooperative work experience.

Runner-Up #1: Zane State College

  • Career and Employment Services Office offers academic and vocational assistance
  • According to the school's Graduation Report, 84% of graduates are employed in their field
  • College customers and partners include Kellogg Foods, Mattingly Foods and the New Bakery
  • One of five Ohio community colleges and one of 35 postsecondary schools participating in the Achieving the Dream and Foundations of Excellence First Year College programs

Runner-up #1 Zane State College offers an Associate of Applied Business program that includes extensive training in the culinary arts. As early as the first semester, students receive an introduction to the field and become acquainted with basic food preparation procedures. Subsequent coursework includes topics in classical cuisine and desserts, baking, garde manger and meat technology. Students also receive training in foodservice and small business management, cost control and table service. The two culinary field experiences take place during the summer and final semesters.

In 2013, Zane State College also offered three community education courses in appetizer preparation, holiday cooking and kitchen knife techniques.

Runner-Up #2: Hocking College

  • Opportunity to train with professional chefs in up-to-date facilities
  • Out-of-school opportunities for community-based activities, networking and professional development
  • Related hotel and restaurant management program allows students to pursue certifications in food and beverage management

Hocking College offers two Associate of Applied Business in Culinary Arts programs, including a specialized option in baking. Both courses of study require 66 credits to complete and include a capstone and a field experience. Students in either program will be able to work in the college's on-campus restaurants, Rhapsody and the Starbrick Bistro, to gain real-world cooking experience.

Students in the culinary arts program participate in cooking labs and take classes in American and global cuisine, garde manger and protein production (meat, poultry and seafood). They also learn how to prepare sauces, soups and vegetables.

Aspiring pastry professionals who specialize in baking also participate in two lab experiences and receive training in bakeshop operations and yeast dough production. They learn how to make a variety of traditional cakes, desserts, pastries, candies and petit fours.

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