Cooking Lessons and Classes in Chicago, IL with School Options

Research cooking lessons and classes in Chicago, IL, which currently has at least six schools offering programs. Read an overview of programs, admission info and program requirements for three schools within 30 miles of downtown and decide which program is right for you.

Chicago, IL, Cooking Programs

Educational institutions in the Chicago area offer cooking classes and lessons through degree and diploma programs. This article examines three schools no more than a 35-minute drive from downtown Chicago. The article also includes a table of information that individuals can use to evaluate the schools and compare important features. A listing of other area schools with culinary programs is included, too.

  • Robert Morris University offers bachelor's and associate's degree programs in the culinary arts. This school is in the heart of downtown Chicago.
  • College of DuPage has associate's degree and certificate programs in the culinary arts and in baking and pastry arts. The College of DuPage is about 26 miles from downtown Chicago.
  • Moraine Valley Community College, about 23 miles from downtown, offers associate's and certificate programs in areas such as culinary arts, baking and pastry arts and culinary management.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Baking and Pastry Arts
  • Bartending
  • Catering and Restaurant Management
  • Chef Training
  • Food Preparation
  • Food Server and Dining Room Mgmt
  • Institutional Food Worker
  • Meat Cutting

Comparison of Schools

There are many factors an individual should consider when choosing a school. The following table offers a quick way for prospective students to compare these institutions.

Robert Morris University College of DuPage Moraine Valley Community College
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 2-year, public 2-year, public
Total Enrollment (2014) 3,205* 29,476* 15,286*
Campus Setting Large city Large suburb Large suburb
Tuition & Fees (2015-2016) $25,200* $5,275 in-district; $10,885 in-state; $12,985 out-of-state* $3,996 in-district; $8,916 in-state; $10,326 out-of-state*
% of Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2013-14) 98%* 69%* 58%*
Acceptance Rate (2014) 24%* N/A - open admissions* N/A - open admissions*
Retention Rate (Fall 2013 to Fall 2014) 50% full-time* 69% full-time; 50% part-time* 70% full-time; 45% part-time*
Graduation Rate 47% (students who started in Fall 2008)* 17% graduation rate; 30% transfer-out rate (students who started in 2011)* 21% graduation rate; 27% transfer-out rate (students who started in 2011)*

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

Robert Morris University

Culinary programs at Robert Morris University are given through the university's Institute of Culinary Arts. Culinary students may take advantage of opportunities such as on-the-job training, internships in the Chicago-area and off-campus learning programs, as well as a study abroad program to Italy.

Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts

Students are trained to take on leadership and management positions in the hospitality and culinary sectors. Courses in this program include sanitation, garde manger, pastries and baking, menu management, restaurant operations, American cuisine and event planning. Specific topics dealt with include fish fabrication, spice usage, knife care, buffet preparation, breakfast cookery, Spanish culture, Italian cuisine and restaurant ownership.

Bachelor of Professional Studies Advanced Culinary Arts

Students enrolled in this program acquire fundamental culinary skills. They develop skills in cold kitchen (garde manger), desserts, pastries, cultural cuisine, facilities management, menu management and restaurant operations. Students also complete a 10-week internship.

College of DuPage

College of DuPage opened its doors in 1967 and offers culinary programs through the Culinary and Hospitality Center. The center has two restaurants, a bake shop, a culinary market, a chocolate room, a 6-bedroom hotel and a culinary amphitheatre.

Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts

Students learn the skills needed to pursue a career in the hospitality industry. Courses include quantity food preparation, nutrition, food service sanitation, beverage service, garde manger and international cuisine. Students complete an occupational internship.

Culinary Arts Certificate

Students who want to take a program in the culinary arts but don't have the time to complete an associate's degree program may consider a certificate in the culinary arts. The certificate program is shorter (no general education courses) and offers virtually the same culinary courses as the associate's degree program.

Associate of Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts

Students take courses in cake decorating, confectionery, decorative techniques, culinary measurements, pastry arts, specialty baking, beverage and food, the hospitality industry and marketing management in hospitality. Students are also required to complete an internship.

Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate

As with the culinary arts certificate, this certificate program is shorter than its associate's program counterpart. Again, the certificate program has basically the same core curriculum as the associate's degree program and doesn't require students to take general education courses.

Moraine Valley Community College

Moraine Valley Community College was established in 1967 and offers over 100 transfer programs. There are three chefs on the culinary faculty, each with a Bachelor of Science degree.

Baking/Pastry Arts Certificate

To complete the certificate program, students must complete two semesters plus a summer session. The program is available either full- or part-time. Courses include sanitation, production of food in quantity, baking/pastry, beverage and food purchasing, nutrition and cost control. Students are required to compile a hospitality portfolio and have the option to participate in an internship and take a course in supervising.

Culinary Arts Management Certificate

The certificate program is a shorter version of the associate's degree program in culinary arts management. Students are not required to take general education courses. The culinary curriculum for the certificate program is similar to that of the associate's degree program. The hospitality portfolio course is required, and the hospitality supervision and internship courses are electives.

Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts Management

The associate's degree program combines training in the culinary arts with training in hospitality. Students may enroll in the program either full- or part-time. Students take courses for four semesters along with two summer sessions. Culinary courses include sanitation, nutrition, equipment purchasing, garde manger, marketing, baking/pastry and cost control. The program provides the opportunity to participate in an internship as an elective. However, students must complete the hospitality portfolio course, which includes visits to a variety of work sites. Students may get a tour of the operation or be allowed to job shadow during their visits.

Other School Options

Students may also find culinary programs at Saint Augustine College (a smaller college), approximately 9.1 mi. (18 min.) from downtown Chicago, City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College, approximately 8.8 mi. (15 min.) from downtown Chicago and Triton College, approximately 14.5 mi. (26 min.) away.

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