Students who want to attend school in Illinois and learn how to cook can pursue certificates and associate's degrees in culinary arts, and baking and pastry arts. These programs combine academic coursework with hands-on experience through labs and practicums. In addition to taking cooking courses, students may have opportunities to learn about nutrition, sanitation, cost control and menu planning.
Though there are 20 options for students interested in cooking classes, below are descriptions of ten of the largest schools.
College of DuPage
The College of DuPage is located in Glen Ellyn and offers certificate and degree programs in baking and pastry arts and culinary arts. The baking and pastry arts certificate is 45 credits, while the degree is 64-67 credits. Courses in both programs cover topics in cake decorating, culinary measurements, nutrition, specialty baking and sanitation. Students in the culinary arts certificate and degree programs complete courses in food preparation, food and beverage service, equipment purchasing, classical cuisine and international cuisine.
College of Lake County
The College of Lake County is based in Grayslake and features several certificates and a degree program that include cooking courses. The baking and pastry assistant certificate program is 17 credits and teaches students how to make cakes, pies, tarts and breads. The professional cook certificate program is also 17 credits, but focuses on making soups, salads, sauces and vegetables.
Students enrolled in the professional chef certificate program are required to complete 33 credits and take courses in culinary principles, nutrition, inventory control, sanitation and hospitality supervision. The hospitality and culinary management certificate program is 64-66 credits and consists of general education requirements, culinary courses and an internship.
Elgin Community College
Located in Elgin, this community college gives students several culinary arts programs to choose from, including certificates and degrees. Students can pursue short-term certificates that will prepare them for careers as pastry chefs or first cooks. Additional certificate programs educate and train students for careers as baking assistants, cook's helpers, lead bakers or prep cooks.
The school offers an associate degree in pastry arts that features all the coursework included in the pastry chef, baking assistant and lead baker certificate programs. Students enrolled in the culinary arts associate degree program take courses in food production, sanitation, menu design, food purchasing and dining room operations.
Harper College is located in Palatine and has a 26-credit baking and pastry arts certificate and a 32-credit culinary arts certificate program. The baking and pastry arts certificate program includes courses in cake decoration, classical baking, menu planning and sanitation. Courses in the culinary arts certificate program cover topics in food preparation and production, classical cuisine, dining room operations and restaurant layout.
Illinois Central College
Located in East Peoria, Illinois Central College offers culinary arts management certificate and associate degree programs. The culinary arts management certificate is 37 credits and includes courses in professional cooking, baking, menu planning, nutrition, cost control and beverage management. In addition to culinary arts and cooking courses, the culinary arts management degree also requires that students complete general education requirements and an internship.
Joliet Junior College
Joliet Junior College is based in Joliet and features four certificates with cooking courses as well as a culinary arts degree. In addition to a food preparation certificate, the school offers baking and pastry arts certificates that teach students how to make cookies, pies, breads, cakes, desserts and French pastries. The culinary arts associate degree is 72 credits and includes courses in food preparation, cost management, a la carte cooking, menu planning, catering and professional cooking.
Lincoln Land Community College
Lincoln Land Community College is located in Springfield and has certificates in baking and pastry arts and culinary arts. The baking and pastry arts certificate is 10.5 credits and includes courses in baking, pastry, culinary topics and sanitation. Students in the culinary manager certificate program are required to complete 39 credits. The program consists of culinary courses and two internships. The school also offers an associate's degree in culinary arts
Moraine Valley Community College
Based in Palos Hills, Moraine Valley Community College features certificates and degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts. The baking and pastry arts certificate is 30 credits, while the associate degree is 64 credits. Courses in these programs include food production, cost control, nutrition, purchasing and sanitation. Students enrolled in the culinary arts certificate program are required to complete 34 credits; degree-seeking students must earn 66 credits. In addition to culinary arts courses, students in these programs also have the option of completing an internship.
Southwestern Illinois College
Located in Belleville, Southwestern Illinois College has culinary arts certificate and associate degree programs. The certificate program is 17 credits and includes courses in food preparation, baking and pastry, cooking and sanitation. Students enrolled in the 70-credit associate degree program are required to complete general education courses, culinary coursework and an internship. Electives cover topics in meat processing, baking, cake decorating and culinary competition.
Triton College is located in River Grove, and students can pursue several certificates that offer cooking courses. Certificates are offered in baking and pastry arts, bread baking, cake decoration and culinary training. The baking and pastry certificate is 30 credits and teaches students about sanitation, nutrition, cake and pastry decoration, artisan breads and food preparation.
Students in the bread baking certificate program are required to complete eight credits, while the cake decorating certificate is nine credits. The culinary training certificate is 30 credits; in addition to a cooperative work experience, students complete courses in menu writing, nutrition, food preparation, food purchasing and sanitation.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Cooking Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|College of DuPage||2-year, public; large suburb|| Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate,
Culinary Arts Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts,
Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts
|$5,275 in-district, $10,885 in-state, $12,985 out-of-state*|
|College of Lake County||2-year, public; large suburb|| Baking and Pastry Assistant Certificate,
Professional Cook Certificate,
Professional Chef Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Hospitality and Culinary Management
|$3,612 in-district, $8,358 in-state, $11,046 out-of-state*|
|Elgin Community College||2-year, public; midsize city|| Prep Cook Certificate,
Lead Baker Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in Pastry Arts,
Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts
|$2,868 in-district, $10,439 in-state, $11,959 out-of-state*|
|Harper College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Bread and Pastry Arts Certificate,
Culinary Arts Certificate
|$3,228 in-district, $9,396 in-state, $11,208 out-of-state*|
|Illinois Central College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Culinary Arts Management Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts Management
|$4,050 in-district, $8,700 in-state, $10,050 out-of-state*|
|Joliet Junior College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Food Preparation Certificate,
Cookies, Pies, Petit Fours, Showpieces Certificate,
Desserts, French Pastry, Custards Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts
|$3,450 in-district, $10,508 in-state, $11,187 out-of-state*|
|Lincoln Land Community College||2-year, public; midsize city|| Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts,
Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate,
Culinary Manager Certificate
|$2,904 in-district, $5,544 in-state, $8,184 out-of-state*|
|Moraine Valley Community College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate,
Culinary Arts Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts Management
|$3,996 in-district, $8,916 in-state, $10,328 out-of-state*|
|Southwestern Illinois College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Culinary Arts Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts and Food Management
|$3,420 in-district, $12,120 in-state, $15,750 out-of-state*|
|Triton College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Bread Baking Certificate,
Cake Decorating Certificate,
Baking and Pastry Certificate,
Culinary Training Certificate
|$3,870 in-district, $9,360 in-state, $11,630 out-of-state*|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator.