Top 5 Culinary Schools

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"Food is life." That's the motto of the Culinary Institute of America, and anyone preparing to devote their career to the culinary arts would have to agree. Some of the greatest culinary schools feature cuisine specialties from countries around the world, and they’re located right here in the United States with their own appeal and sense of style. The five top culinary schools boast of culture, quality and credentials.

5 Culinary Institute of America

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Often considered the premier culinary school in the U.S., this school's main campus is in Hyde Park, New York, but also has locations in San Antonio, Texas, Napa Valley, California, and Singapore. They offer an associate degree program in culinary arts. It teaches practical cooking skills including how to prep, cook and plate a variety of cuisines while working with professional equipment in high-tech teaching kitchens. Students can earn a CIA credential in culinary arts, which are highly sought after by some of the world’s greatest restaurants. Texan students can earn an El Sueno Scholarship, which pays up to 50 percent of tuition.

4 The World Culinary Center

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Located in New York, California and Italy, these culinary schools began as the French Culinary Institute in 1984. They have since earned the International Association of Culinary Professionals Awards of Excellence, Vocational Cooking School of the Year in 2006, 2010 and 2012, as well as Best Cooking Class for Amateurs, New York, in 2007. Classes are taught in English, French, Spanish and Italian by renowned chefs such as José Andrés, Jacques Pepin, Bobby Flay and David Kinch. After completion in six or nine months, students are placed as interns in the world’s greatest restaurants. Courses include Classic French Techniques in Culinary, Pastry and Bread Baking, Italian Studies, management, culinary technology, food writing, cake-making and wine tasting.

3 The Art Institutes Culinary School

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The Art Institutes are home to The International Culinary Schools, which is North America’s largest network of culinary schools with more than 30 locations in the U.S. and Canada. The programs give students experience with hands-on training as they learn the fundamentals in culinary practice including nutrition, cost control, sanitation and safety, beverage and kitchen management, presentation and cooking techniques. Classes are taught by professional chefs, and students can earn diplomas, associate degrees or bachelor’s degrees that prepare them for entry-level positions after graduation.

2 Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Schools

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Le Cordon Bleu has more than 100 years of tradition teaching the culinary arts, and has a mandate that focuses on expertise and refinement. It provides hands-on training by professional chefs who teach the foundational skills and modern innovations for any style of cuisine. This school is highly sought after in all of its 12 state locations, and between 2006 and 2011 there were more culinary graduates in the U.S. from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary schools than in any other national network of culinary schools. Students work toward a diploma and can also earn awards along the way.

1 Institute of Culinary Education

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This culinary school is located in the heart of New York City, which has been called the culinary capital of the country. It focuses on global cuisines and teaches techniques and trends in cooking, as well as cooking business management. The instructors are chefs who were once students at the school and have gone on to open their own restaurants. The courses run from three to six months, and the school provides a job placement service and alumni support to students who earn the Culinary Diploma.

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