Cooking Lessons and Classes in Chicago, IL with School Options

Jan 23, 2019

Research cooking lessons and classes in and around 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 25 miles of downtown and decide which program is right for you.

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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 25 miles 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 23 miles from downtown Chicago.
  • Moraine Valley Community College, about 17 miles from downtown, offers associate's and certificate programs in areas such as culinary arts, baking and pastry arts and culinary management.

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 (2017)* 2,307 26,165 14,620
Campus Setting Large city Large suburb Large suburb
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)* $26,700 $4,050 in-district; $9,660 in-state; $11,760 out-of-state $4,266 in-district; $9,426 in-state; $10,956 out-of-state
% of Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017)* 98% 72% 56%
Acceptance Rate (2017)* 67% N/A - open admissions N/A - open admissions
Retention Rate (2016-2017)* 51% full-time 74% full-time; 51% part-time 69% full-time; 41% part-time
Graduation Rate* 39% (students who started in Fall 2011) 23% graduation rate; 30% transfer-out rate (students who started in 2014) 27% graduation rate; 24% transfer-out rate (students who started in 2014)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

Robert Morris University

Culinary programs at Robert Morris University are offered 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. Course and demonstration topics in this program include sanitation, garde manger, pastries and baking, menu management, restaurant operations, American cuisine and restaurant operations. Specific topics dealt with include fish fabrication, spice usage, knife care, buffet preparation, international cuisine, and restaurant ownership. A culinary externship is included in this program.

Bachelor of Professional Studies in 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 an 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-suite hotel and a culinary amphitheater.

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 with degrees in the field.

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. To earn the associate's degree, students complete the same certificate courses, as well as 13 additional pastry arts credits and general education requirements.

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.

Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts Management

The associate's degree program combines training in the culinary arts with training in hospitality. Students take courses for four semesters. Culinary courses include sanitation, nutrition, equipment purchasing, garde manger, marketing, baking/pastry and cost control.

Other School Options

Students may also find culinary programs at Saint Augustine College (a smaller college), approximately 6.4 mi. from downtown Chicago, City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College, approximately 7.6 mi. from downtown Chicago and Triton College, approximately 11.4 mi. away.

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