Culinary Schools in Chicago, IL with Course and Program Summaries

Research culinary arts programs in Chicago, which currently has 11 colleges offering programs. Read an overview of degree programs, admission info and program requirements for 3 schools within 10 miles of downtown Chicago and decide which program is right for you.

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Chicago Culinary Programs

Aspiring culinary students in the Chicago area have many school options. Get the details on 3 of these schools, all of which are conveniently located 20 minutes or less from downtown. Towards the beginning of the article is a table comparing important school info, such as school types, tuition rates, graduation rates and more. There is also a short paragraph discussing 8 other area schools that offer culinary programs.

  • City Colleges of Chicago - Kennedy-King College is 8.8 miles from Chicago's downtown area. The school offers basic certificates in cake decorating and baking, culinary arts and pastry and baking. Students may also earn an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Baking and Pastry Arts or an AAS in Culinary Arts.
  • Just 0.3 miles from downtown, Robert Morris University has an associate's degree program in culinary arts and a bachelor's degree program in culinary arts and hospitality management.
  • At Saint Augustine College, which is 9.1 miles from downtown Chicago an associate's degree program in culinary arts is offered.

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

The table below provides valuable info on all 3 schools and can make it easier to choose the right one.

City Colleges of Chicago - Kennedy-King College Robert Morris University - Illinois Saint Augustine College
School Type 2-year, public 4-year, primarily associate's, private not-for-profit 4-year, primarily associate's, private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2014) 5,313* 3,205* 1,529*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Tuition and Fees (2015-16) $3,506 in-district; $8,126 in-state; $11,906 out-of-state* $25,200* $9,840*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Aid (2014) 92%* 98%* 89%*
Acceptance Rate (2014) N/A - Open Admissions 24%* N/A - Open Admissions
Retention Rate (2014) 44%* 50%* N/A
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (2014) 23% (20% transfer-out rate)* 47%* 32%*

Sources: *NCES College Navigator

City Colleges of Chicago - Kennedy-King College

The Washburne Culinary Institute at the City Colleges of Chicago - Kennedy-King College allows students to acquire real-world experience. Students can also learn to make pastries at the college's French Pastry School, which trains using the master-apprentice model. At City Colleges of Chicago, classes are available during the day, in the evenings, on the weekends and online.

Basic Certificate in Cake Decorating and Baking

This 16-credit certificate program is offered by the French Pastry School. It includes studies in safety and sanitation, flours and sugars, ingredients interaction and wedding cake design. Students learn about different types of dough, trends in cake decoration, classic European recipes and methods for perfecting taste and texture in cake. They also learn to plan a cake business and decorate cakes using different frostings and fondants.

Basic Certificate in Culinary Arts

Through the basic certificate program in culinary arts, students explore safety and sanitation, care for equipment, use tools and apply cooking terminology. They complete two levels of chef training where they prepare soups and stocks and explore other basic cooking methods. An advanced certificate in culinary arts is also available.

Basic Certificate in Pastry and Baking

Available through the French Pastry School, students acquire innovative baking, pastry and confectionary skills through this 24-week program. Candy and confectionary courses train students to work with chocolate and prepare chocolate candies, spin sugar, use candy molds and plate hot and cold desserts. Learners prepare modern and classic French desserts that can be displayed and eaten in restaurants. Basic and advanced certificates in baking and pastry arts are also available.

Associate in Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts

The baking and pastry arts program begins with basic skills and adds to them, incorporating lectures, discussions and hands-on training to create an effective learning environment. Students learn to operate a sanitary kitchen and explore baking techniques. They prepare cookies, tarts, cakes and pastries. They also create special occasion cakes, such as wedding cakes, chocolates, modern desserts, specialty breads and rolls. The program takes about 4 semesters to complete.

Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts

This 4-semester program uses lectures, discussions and hands-on training to help students come away with real-life skills. Enrollees acquire management skills, learn to control costs, design menus and plan a business. They use nutrition knowledge and select ingredients that improve flavor to create healthy recipes. Some courses address methods for cooking with meats, seafood, eggs, milk, cheese and soups.

Robert Morris University - Illinois

Robert Morris University's Institute of Culinary Arts provides students with professional equipment and technology. Enrollees acquire hands-on experience working in the student-run Eyrie restaurant. They can study abroad at the Apicius Culinary Institute in Florence, Italy, where they can take an advanced culinary course and complete an 8-week internship.

Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts

Students completing the Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts acquire basic cooking skills, bake desserts and pastries, prepare cold foods and make breakfast foods. They also create various dishes from around the United States, design menus and manage beers and wines. Finally, students complete a 10-week internship in the Chicago area.

Bachelor of Professional Studies in Advanced Culinary and Hospitality Management

Through the bachelor's degree program in advanced culinary arts, students take many of the same courses that they would in the associate's degree program. They also explore principles of management and learn how to train staff. Other courses include wine pairings, facilities management and financial planning. Learners complete a master chef's workshop and a 10-week internship.

Saint Augustine College

St. Augustine College has 4 campuses in the Chicago area. It was the first bilingual school in Illinois. Students here acquire theory and hands-on experience in the food service industry.

Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts

Students earning the associate's degree in culinary arts complete general education classes in addition to cooking classes. The 60-credit program prepares aspiring cooks to use computer programs and math to adjust recipes and control costs. Students complete three baking and pastry courses that expose them to a range of ingredients so they can create a variety of pastries and baked goods. Students also complete an externship and an internship rotation.

Other Schools

Other schools within 25 miles of Chicago that have culinary arts programs include Triton College, which is about 11.5 miles away, Moraine Valley Community College, located about 16.5 miles away, and the College of DuPage, which is about 22.5 miles away. Students who are further away might consider Harper College, located around 26.5 miles from downtown Chicago, Joliet Junior College, about 34.5 miles away, Elgin Community College, nearly 37 miles away, College of Lake County, located about 38 miles away and McHenry County College, which is about 44 miles away.

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