Orlando, FL, Culinary Schools
Students looking for culinary training in Florida can find occupational training, certificate and degree programs in the Orlando area. Orlando is home to many hotels, resorts and dining establishments that employ culinary professionals. This article gives an overview of three public schools, no more than 30 minutes from downtown, that offer basic training in this field. Also included is a table of important information about the schools, such as enrollment and tuition. At the end of the article are a few facts about other area schools that offer culinary training.
- Orange Technical College - Orlando Campus is located in downtown Orlando and offers an occupational training program.
- Lake Technical College offers a professional culinary arts and hospitality program. It is south of Orlando in Eustis, FL, about 27 miles from downtown Orlando.
- Valencia College is about seven miles from downtown Orlando and also offers an occupational training program in the culinary arts.
Comparison of Schools
Prospective students of the culinary arts need to consider many factors when choosing a school. The following table makes it simple to compare the schools.
|Orange Technical College - Orlando Campus||Lake Technical College||Valencia College|
|School Type||2-year; public||Less than 2-year; public||4-year; primarily associate's, public|
|Total Enrollment (2017)||1,287*||698*||44,834*|
|Campus Setting||Midsize city||Midsize suburb||Midsize city|
|Tuition & Fees||$1,752 (2018-2019)**||$3,456 (2018-2019)***||$2,474 in-state; $9,383 out-of-state (2017-2018)*|
|% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Aid (2016-2017)||36%*||46%*||75%*|
|Acceptance Rate||N/A - open admission*||N/A - open admission*||N/A - open admission*|
|Retention Rate (2016-2017)|| 71% for full-time students;
76% for part-time students*
| 78% for full-time students;
70% for part-time students*
|Graduation Rate||38% (students who began in Fall 2014)*||75% (students who began in Fall 2014)*||41%; 15% transfer-out rate (students who began in Fall 2011 )*|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **Orange Technical College, ***Lake Technical College,
Orange Technical College - Orlando Campus
Orlando Tech is a trade school for adults and is part of the Orange County Public Schools system. The technical center, located a few minutes' drive north of downtown Orlando, provides career certificates and continuing education programs for students looking to change or start a new career. The foodservice skills program at Orlando Tech includes an articulation agreement with Valencia College, and when the program is completed, students can apply 9-12 credits toward a culinary management associate's degree program at Valencia. They can also apply three credits to the Associate of Science in Baking and Pastry Management or six credits to the A.S. degree in Restaurant/Foodservice Management.
Fundamental Foodservice Skills Certificate
This 600-hour culinary training program prepares students for entry-level jobs in the culinary arts industry, in areas such as pastry and prep cooking, catering and restaurant management. The program's two courses cover introductory food preparation techniques and cooking methods. Students will learn baking techniques, kitchen sanitation and hospitality industry essentials.
Lake Technical College
Lake Technical College is based in Eustis and offers 28 programs of study in such areas as business, health science, law and manufacturing.
Professional Culinary Arts & Hospitality Program
This program trains students for entry-level roles in the culinary arts field with 1,200 hours of study that includes food prep, food service management and restaurant and head cook roles and responsibilities. Students also learn important management and leadership skills useful in a culinary arts career.
Located in downtown Orlando, Valencia College offers culinary certificate and degree programs. The college has a large culinary facility with a demo kitchen and workstations, state-of-the art kitchens and banquet rooms. Valencia offers the only culinary associate's degree program in the Orlando area.
Technical Certificates in Culinary Management
Valencia has three culinary management certificate programs that are geared toward those looking for career advancement or for a short course in culinary arts. Students in the 12-credit chef's apprentice program study food sanitation and safety, storage, prep and purchasing. In addition to these classes, the 18-credit culinary arts management operations program has coursework in international and regional cooking, baking and pastries. The culinary arts certificate program is 35 credits in length and trains students in knife skills, kitchen methods, quantity food production and classical culinary skills.
Associate of Science in Culinary Management
Students can earn an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree in culinary management, which equips graduates with the skills and knowledge needed to work as food and beverage managers, chefs, sous-chefs, bakers and pastry artists. During the 60-credit A.S. degree program, students take courses in food and beverage management, catering and banquet management, nutrition and cold food preparation (known as garde manger). Additionally, students participate in an internship that provides practical culinary experience.
Other School Options
In addition to the Orlando Campus of Orange Tech, the foodservice skills program is also available at the school's Westside Campus, which is around 13 miles west of Orlando, and Mid Florida Campus, which is about five miles south of Orlando. Both of these occupational programs have an articulation agreement with Valencia Community College.