October 29, 2018

What is the Best Culinary School?

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People often ask, “What is the best culinary school in America?” or “What is the best cooking school in the world?” The question may be better asked, “What is the best culinary school for me?” because it all depends on what your career goals are. Do you want to work in the food world, or do you want to lead it?

There is a difference between a cooking school and a culinary college. The Culinary Institute of America is the only independent, not-for-profit college in the world that focuses completely on food and hospitality. That is all we do; and when it comes to food, we do it all. But don’t just take our word for it. Websites such as TheBestSchools.org and Niche.com ranked the CIA as the best college for culinary arts in the United States in 2018.

If you want to cook as a career, there may be a lot of choices of places that can teach you the basics of cooking. And you may earn a perfectly fine entry-level cooking job going to any one of those schools. But with more than 1,300 hours of hands-on and experiential instruction, The Culinary Institute of America is the best place to develop your cooking chops. Offering both bachelor’s and associate degrees in culinary arts and baking & pastry arts, the CIA provides you with the foundation for a successful career in the kitchen or bakeshop—known as the back-of-the-house.

The Real College Difference

As a culinary college, the curriculum is much broader than at your average “cooking school.” The CIA teaches more than just how to cook or bake; it provides an in-depth education in terms of culinary theory, agriculture, science, history, culture, globalization, commerce, and food systems. “In a cooking school you may learn some of the basics of cooking,” says CIA Senior Associate Dean Bruce Mattel. “But in a culinary college, such as the CIA, you’re learning a much broader approach to food.”

In both settings, Chef Mattel says, you might learn how to cook a green bean identically. “But the CIA student will have a better understanding of the different types of green beans and why you don’t cover a green bean when you’re simmering it,” says Mattel, himself a CIA grad.

Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees

And, if you’re the kind of person who wants to run your own business, develop new taste profiles, or influence the future of food in America and globally, there is no other choice than the CIA. Beyond the cooking and baking, the college offers bachelor’s degrees in Food Business Management, Hospitality Management, Culinary Science, and Applied Food Studies; and an online master’s degree in Food Business.

FSR magazine featured the CIA as the college changing the way culinary education is taught and preparing the next generation of food business leaders through its bachelor’s degree programs. The food world has become big business. It is filled with career opportunities in areas such as research and development, hospitality, food media, beverage management, food policy, education, and more. An advanced degree from the CIA is the ticket for your entry into these food-related fields.

In addition to the advanced level of academics of a true college, attending the CIA also gives you the full college student experience. Campus life includes intercollegiate athletics, intramural sports, clubs, activities, a student newspaper, guest lecturers, music and theater performances, and more.

Better Jobs, Faster

The bottom line for most people is getting a good job upon graduating and then fast-tracking your career arc. Another advantage of a degree from the CIA is that career acceleration. As Chef Mattel says, “You come out of here with the skills and knowledge that allow you to acclimate to your environment and responsibilities quicker than other people.”

Knowing this, recruiters from hundreds of restaurants, hotels, resorts, supermarket chains, health care providers, and other foodservice and hospitality companies come to the CIA’s campuses several times every year to actively seek our students and recent graduates. The average CIA student gets to choose from multiple job offers upon graduating!

“When a student comes out of the CIA and starts to converse with the chef who is going to hire them, they can do that much more effectively and gain the confidence of that employer,” says Chef Mattel. “CIA graduates are able to walk the talk.”