Top Culinary Arts Program in Chicago for Professional Chef Training

Chicago has nine schools with programs in culinary arts. Find the best program for you by reading about schools' rankings, program offerings and tuition info.

School and Ranking Information

Chicago has roughly ten choices for culinary arts programs available for students who want to become professional chefs. The following three schools stood out:

  • Winner: Robert Morris University Illinois is the only one of the three with a nationally ranked standing and a bachelor's degree program in culinary arts.
  • Runner Up #1: College of DuPage offers an associate degree and is accredited by the American Culinary Federation.
  • Runner Up #2: City Colleges of Chicago - Kennedy-King College offers degree programs and hands-on experience. It also offers child care.

School Comparison Chart

Category Robert Morris University Illinois College of DuPage City Colleges of Chicago - Kennedy-King College
Ranking (2013) 102nd among regional universities (Midwest)* N/A N/A
Location Chicago, IL Glen Ellyn, IL (24.8 miles from downtown Chicago) Chicago, IL
School Type Four-year, private not-for-profit Two-year, public Two-year, public
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $22,200** $4,352 (in-district); $10,336 (in-state); $12,576 (out-of-state)** $3,070 (in-district); $5,961 (in-state); $7,498 (out-of-state)**
Culinary Arts Award Levels Offered Associate's and bachelor's degrees Certificate; associate's degrees Certificate; Associate's degrees
Culinary Degrees and Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in 2012 132** 19** 114**
Most Popular Culinary Arts Program (2011-2012) Associate's in Culinary Arts/Chef Training (132 awarded)** Associate's in Culinary Arts/Chef Training (17 awarded)** Less than One-Year Certificate in Culinary Arts/Chef Training (52 awarded)**
Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) 50% (2006 entering class)** 13% (2009 entering class)** 22% (2009 entering class)**
Noteworthy Opportunity to study abroad in Italy State-of-the-art kitchen facilities Chef instructor Watz has achieved national recognition

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

Winner: Robert Morris University

  • Bachelor of Professional Studies in Advanced Culinary Arts and Hospitality offered
  • On-site restaurant designed and run by students
  • Newly constructed professional kitchens

Robert Morris University offers multiple programs for an aspiring chef. Within the bachelor's and associate's degree programs, students complete coursework in culinary skills, garde manger, baking and pastry, menu planning, facilities design, and American cuisine. In addition to coursework, students complete a ten-week internship.

Additionally, students may study advanced culinary arts, work in the student-run restaurant, and study abroad in Italy. Instructors are professional chefs with real-world experiences, and classes are conducted within industry appointed kitchens. A culinary student organization, the Culinary Society, provides networking, leadership, and skill-building projects.

Runner-Up #1: College of DuPage

  • International trips to France and Italy offered
  • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation
  • Waterleaf restaurant earned Wine Spectator Magazine's Award of Excellence

The College of DuPage provides culinary students both a fine-dining restaurant and an international cuisine restaurant. Both the Wheat Café and Waterleaf are college-learning facilities staffed by students. With the state-of-the-art kitchen facilities and a 60,000 square-foot culinary and hospitality center, students may work toward an associate's degree or enroll in a certificate program. The associate's degree and certificate programs include coursework in food preparation, culinary conversions, foodservice management, pastry arts, and garde manger, as well as an internship. A baking and pastry arts associate's degree and certificate program are available.

Runner-Up #2: City Colleges of Chicago - Kennedy-King College

  • Childcare centers are licensed by the State of Illinois
  • Students may join the Washburne Culinary Arts Organization

The City Colleges of Chicago offers a variety of programs for the student wishing to pursue a career in culinary arts. The Parrot Cage and Sikia, restaurants run by the Washburne Culinary Institute, provide culinary students hands-on experience in food service. Students can complete an associate's degree or advanced or basic certificate programs. Within the associate's degree program, they complete coursework in food sanitation, food service technology, chef's training, food service management, and cooking. Graduates receive ServSafe Sanitation Certification upon coursework completion.

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