Best online culinary schools in the world in 2023

by Natalia Rudakova
27 minutes read

Best online culinary schools in the world in 2023

Culinary schools play a crucial role in shaping aspiring chefs and culinary professionals, providing them with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the culinary industry. In recent years, the popularity of online culinary schools has soared, offering flexibility and convenience for individuals passionate about pursuing a culinary career.

In this article, you will find a comprehensive summary of the best online culinary schools in the world in 2023, highlighting their programs, costs, benefits, and drawbacks.

Whether you aspire to become a professional chef, pastry artist, food blogger, private chef or food industry leader, these online culinary schools can help you embark on a successful culinary journey.

 

Why go to culinary school?

Attending a culinary school offers numerous advantages for individuals aspiring to make a mark in the culinary industry.

Here are some compelling reasons why you should consider enrolling in a culinary school:

  1. Comprehensive education: Culinary schools provide a structured curriculum that covers a wide range of culinary skills, techniques, and theories. From mastering classic cooking techniques to exploring innovative culinary trends, these institutions offer a comprehensive education that lays a strong foundation for a successful culinary career.
  2. Practical experience: Culinary schools place a strong emphasis on practical training, allowing students to gain hands-on experience in professional-grade kitchens. This practical exposure is invaluable for developing culinary skills, honing creativity, and building confidence in the kitchen.
  3. Networking opportunities: Culinary schools bring together a diverse community of culinary enthusiasts, including students, instructors, and industry professionals. This provides an excellent opportunity to network, forge valuable connections, and gain insights into the culinary industry.
  4. *Industry recognition: Many renowned culinary schools are well-respected within the culinary industry. Graduating from such institutions can enhance your credibility and open doors to exciting job opportunities.
 
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The debating nature of the worth of a culinary arts school

One of the most debated topics in the hospitality industry is the value of culinary schools in general.

Many people argue that physically attending a traditional culinary school is not essential for a successful career in the food and beverage sector, and that employers would rather hire someone with practical experience and references.

They also claim that culinary school graduates do not have an advantage over non-graduates when it comes to getting their first job. They still have to start from the bottom of the career ladder and prove themselves, just like non-graduates.

The final most commonly argued point against culinary schools is the extent to which they prepare graduates to the real world industry work. Although all the traditional culinary schools claim and pride themselves on focusing on hands-on experience and equipping graduates with necessary tools & skills for success in their future careers, students often claim the opposite.

You can find many students voicing their regrets on social media regarding spending fortunes on culinary schools, pointing out:

High tuition fees
  • Unrealistic to pay back with the average industry salaries.
Industry
  • The incomparable reality of real-life work in the hospitality industry, to which culinary education do not prepare as they promise. For many students reality turns out to be very different, way more harsh, unpredictable and chaotic, than what they were taught in the perfect classroom environments while gaining their culinary arts degree.
Requirements
  • The highly varying nature of the industry job requirements. Different restaurants and other hospitality industry employers may have very different work settings and work requirements, which could be learnt only on placement. So, attending a culinary school in advance doesn’t provide any competitive advantage, when all the necessary skills could and in fact should be learnt on the job. 

Nevertheless, many defend the benefits of culinary education, such as learning the fundamentals of cooking, developing creativity and professionalism, gaining exposure to different cuisines and cultures, and most importantly developing confidence and a sense of self-worth. They also point out that culinary school graduates may have more opportunities for advancement and recognition in the long run. For instance, many fine dining restaurants won’t even consider non-graduates when hiring, and most of the big hotel and restaurant chains would have a culinary degree or some kind of official professional training as a compulsory requirement for future career advancement in their institutions. 

Is online culinary school worth it?

With the rise of online education, aspiring culinary professionals now have the option to pursue their culinary dreams through online culinary schools. However, the question remains: is online culinary school worth it? While traditional culinary schools offer hands-on training and in-person interactions, online culinary schools have their own unique benefits.

  1. Flexibility and convenience: Online culinary schools provide the flexibility to learn at your own pace and convenience. You can access course materials and video lectures whenever and wherever you want, allowing you to balance your culinary education with other commitments.
  2. Cost-effective: Online culinary programs are often (but not always) more affordable than traditional culinary schools. Without the need for physical facilities and additional expenses, these programs can offer quality education at a lower cost.
  3. Accessibility: Online culinary schools break down geographical barriers, making it possible for aspiring chefs from all around the world to access quality culinary education. This accessibility broadens opportunities for individuals who may not have access to traditional culinary schools in their area.
  4. Self-motivation and discipline: Online culinary programs require self-motivation and discipline to complete coursework independently. This can be a valuable trait for aspiring chefs, as it instills a sense of responsibility and self-driven learning.
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Pros and cons of going to an online culinary school

While online culinary schools offer numerous benefits, it is essential to consider their pros and cons before making a decision. Here are some advantages and drawbacks of pursuing culinary education online:

Pros

  • Affordability: Online culinary programs are often more cost-effective than traditional culinary schools, making quality education accessible to a broader audience.
  • Flexibility: Online programs allow students to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule, offering the flexibility to balance education with other commitments.
  • Diverse course offerings: Online culinary schools often provide a wide range of courses, covering various culinary specialties and innovative topics not typically taught in traditional culinary schools.
  • Direct feedback: Online culinary programs often provide direct feedback from instructors, allowing students to improve their techniques and receive personalized guidance.

Cons

  • Lack of hands-on training: One of the significant drawbacks of online culinary schools is the absence of physical, hands-on training in class. Some culinary skills and techniques are best learned through practical experience, which may be limited in an online setting. However, practicing the taught skills and techniques could and in fact must be done at home, in order to successfully graduate from an online culinary school, just the same as the real-life cooking school.
  • Limited networking opportunities: Online programs may not offer the same networking opportunities as traditional culinary schools, where students can interact with peers, instructors, and industry professionals in person.
  • Accreditation concerns: Not all online culinary schools are officially accredited by recognized culinary organizations. This may affect the recognition and validity of the culinary education obtained through these programs. Which may come as a concern, only if students what to pursue their future culinary careers with certain employer types (as described above in “the debating nature of the worth of a culinary arts school” above). Otherwise, skills will always come first in the industry, above education and training.
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Careers you can pursue after finishing a culinary school

After completing a culinary school program, a world of exciting culinary career opportunities awaits. Here are some careers you can pursue with a culinary education:

  1. Executive Chef: With the comprehensive culinary knowledge and skills gained from a culinary school, you can aspire to become an executive chef, overseeing kitchen operations, menu development, and leading culinary teams.
  2. Pastry Chef: Specializing in the art of pastry and desserts, a culinary education can prepare you for a career as a pastry chef, where you can create delectable treats and showcase your creativity.
  3. Sous Chef: As a sous chef, you will work closely with the executive chef, managing kitchen operations, coordinating food preparation, and ensuring high culinary standards.
  4. Food and Beverage Manager: With a solid foundation in culinary arts and business management, you can pursue a career as a food and beverage manager, overseeing the operations and profitability of food establishments.
  5. Food Stylist: If you have a passion for food presentation and visual aesthetics, a culinary education can equip you with the skills to become a food stylist, working in the media and advertising industry.
  6. Private Chef: Culinary school graduates can explore opportunities as private chefs, catering to the culinary preferences of individual clients or families.
  7. Food Blogger: Becoming a food blogger as a culinary school graduate offers a unique perspective, blending professional culinary expertise with the ability to create engaging content. It provides a platform to share culinary knowledge, showcase culinary skills, and connect with a wide audience, inspiring and influencing others in their culinary journeys.
  8. Private Yacht Chef or Resort Chef: As a private yacht chef, one can indulge in creating bespoke culinary experiences for high-profile clients, while a resort chef can showcase their skills in a stunning setting, catering to diverse guests. These roles offer a chance to explore the world of luxury hospitality, global cuisines, work with premium ingredients, and deliver exceptional dining experiences, all while enjoying a dynamic and glamorous career path.

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Top online culinary schools in the world in 2023

Now, let's explore some of the top online culinary schools in the world in 2023, highlighting their programs, pros and cons:

The Online Culinary Academy by Chef Rudakova offers a unique approach to culinary education. With a vast library of courses and the opportunity to customize your degree, students can tailor their learning to their specific interests and career goals. The classes cover essential culinary skills, flavor profiles, nutrition, sustainability, and more.

Campuses Location:

100% online

Online degrees available:

Culinary courses on demand. Make up your degree yourself.

Online cooking classes include:

  • Essential Culinary Skills
  • Essential Flavors
  • Nutrition Basics
  • Stocks & Broths
  • Deep Dive into French Cuisines and Sauces
  • Baking
  • Patisserie
  • Sustainability on Cooking
  • Deep Dive into Food Plating
  • Deep Dive into Creative Recipe Development, and more.

Tuition & ROI Time:

The affordability of the program, with a monthly fee of $50, or $600 for lifetime access, makes it an attractive option for aspiring chefs. I.e. no need to save money or pay back student loan, instant ROI.

Pros of the Online Culinary Academy by Chef Rudakova:

  • Very affordable, optimal value for money option.
  • High-quality video classes.
  • Continuously growing library of courses, allowing students to expand their culinary knowledge.
  • Opportunity to test the program for one month or opt for lifetime access.
  • Direct feedback from Chef Rudakova for personalized guidance.
  • A vast library of recipes to enhance culinary skills.
  • Covers modern culinary topics not typically taught in traditional culinary schools.

Cons of the Online Culinary Academy by Chef Rudakova:

  • Not officially accredited, which may impact recognition in certain culinary circles.

 

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Culinary Institute of America (CIA)

The Culinary Institute of America is renowned for its excellence in culinary education. While primarily a traditional culinary school, the CIA also offers an online program for alumni focused on food business leadership. This program provides graduates of the CIA with the opportunity to further their education in the business aspects of the culinary industry.

Campuses Location:

New York campus in Hyde Park, Texas campus in San Antonio, California campus in Napa Valley, Singapore campus

Online degrees Available:

Food Business Leadership (online, only for CIA alumni).

Tuition & ROI Time:

The cheapest online degree at CIA is $850 per credit, with a requirement of 66 credits, totalling to $56,100. With average Chef salary in the USA being $53,486 (less taxes), it could be expected to pay off the tuition fees in 4 years.

Pros of Culinary Institute of America online program:

  • Certified by the Culinary Institute of America, adding prestige to the education. Consequently, considered as one of the best culinary schools in the United States.
  • Extensive alumni network for networking opportunities.
  • Focus on food business leadership to enhance career prospects.

Cons of Culinary Institute of America online program:

  • The online program is exclusive to CIA alumni.
  • The cost of tuition is significantly higher compared to other online culinary schools.
  • Not a prerequisite to securing a job in the culinary industry.

 

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Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts

The Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts offers a range of diploma and associate degree programs in culinary arts, baking and pastry, food entrepreneurship, plant-based culinary arts, holistic nutrition and wellness, and more. The school aims to provide a comprehensive education that combines culinary techniques, industry knowledge, and practical skills.

Campuses Location:

Austin campus, Boulder campus

Online degrees Available

  • Diploma in Culinary Arts and Operations
  • Diploma in Professional Pastry Arts
  • Diploma in Food Entrepreneurship
  • Diploma in Plant-Based Culinary Arts
  • Diploma in Holistic Nutrition and Wellness
  • Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Culinary Arts
  • Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Baking and Pastry
  • Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Food Entrepreneurship
  • Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Plant-Based Culinary Arts
  • Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Hospitality and Restaurant Operations Management
  • Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Holistic Nutrition and Wellness

Tuition & ROI Time:

The cheapest online degree at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts is $21,751. With the average Chef salary in the USA being $53,486 (less taxes), it could be expected to pay off the tuition fees in 2 years.

Pros of Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts online program:

  • Offers a variety of diploma and associate degree programs catering to different culinary interests.
  • Emphasizes hands-on learning and practical skills development.

Cons of Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts online program:

  • Although less expensive than the Culinary Institute of America, the tuition fees are still very significant.
  • Not a prerequisite to securing a job in the culinary industry.

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Le Cordon Bleu

Le Cordon Bleu is synonymous with culinary excellence and is one of the most recognized culinary institutions worldwide. While primarily known for its on-campus programs, Le Cordon Bleu offers online graduate certificates in hospitality management and business administration. Additionally, non-accredited short courses are available for enthusiasts seeking to enhance their culinary skills.

Campuses Location:

Various locations worldwide, including Paris, London, Madrid, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Tokyo, and more.

Online degrees Available: 

  • Graduate Certificate in Hospitality Management
  • Graduate Certificate in Business Administration
  • Graduate Certificate in Hospitality Decision Making
  • Graduate Certificate in Hospitality Leadership
  • Non-accredited 4-week courses available (average $210 per course/ month)

Tuition & ROI Time:

The cheapest online degree at Le Cordon Bleu is about $11,300 in total. With the average Chef salary in the USA being $53,486 (less taxes), it could be expected to pay off the tuition fees in 1 year.

Pros of Le Cordon Bleu online program:

  • Most recognized culinary school worldwide, renowned for its French cuisine expertise.
  • Offers a diverse range of culinary programs across multiple locations.

Cons of Le Cordon Bleu online program:

  • Not a prerequisite to securing a job in the culinary industry.
  • Although it is even less expensive than the CIA and the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, tuition fees at Le Cordon Bleu online programs are still very significant.

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Johnson & Wales Culinary School (Rhode Island)

Johnson & Wales Culinary School provides comprehensive culinary education, offering bachelor’s degrees in baking and pastry arts, culinary arts, food and beverage entrepreneurship, and food industry compliance management. They also offer master’s degrees in business administration and food safety.

Campuses Location:

Rhode Island, USA

Online degrees Available: 

  • Bachelor of Science Baking & Pastry Arts and Food Service Management
  • Bachelor of Science – Culinary Arts and Food Service Management
  • Bachelor of Science – Food & Beverage Entrepreneurship
  • Bachelor of Science – Food Industry Compliance Management
  • Master of Business Administration – International Beverage Management
  • Master of Science – Food Safety

Tuition & ROI Time:

The cheapest online degree at the Johnson & Wales Culinary School being $495 per credit, with a requirement of 121 credits, totalling to $59,895. With the average Chef salary in the USA being $53,486 (less taxes), it could be expected to pay off the tuition fees in 4-5 years.

Pros of Johnson & Wales Culinary School:

  • Offers a range of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in various culinary and hospitality disciplines.
  • Emphasizes practical skills and hands-on experience.

Cons of Johnson & Wales Culinary School:

  • Not a prerequisite to securing a job in the culinary industry.
  • Very high tuition fees. 

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Institute of Culinary Education (ICE)

The Institute of Culinary Education offers diploma programs in culinary arts and food operations, as well as a specialized program in plant-based culinary arts. With a focus on hands-on experience and industry exposure, ICE aims to prepare students for success in the culinary industry.

Campuses Location:

New York and Los Angeles

Online degrees Available: 

  • Diploma in Culinary Arts and Food Operations
  • Plant-Based Culinary Arts & Food Operations diploma program

Tuition & ROI Time:

The online degree at the ICE is $18,750. With the average Chef salary in the USA being $53,486 (less taxes), it could be expected to pay off the tuition fees in 2 years.

Pros of Institute of Culinary Education:

  • Offers professional development programs for culinary professionals.

Cons of Institute of Culinary Education:

  • Not a prerequisite to securing a job in the culinary industry.
  • Significant tuition fees. 

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Other Great Culinary Schools

While the focus of this article has been on online culinary schools, it is worth mentioning some other renowned culinary schools that don’t offer any online learning opportunities and focus on on-campus programs only:

  • Drexel University culinary arts program is a four-year bachelor’s degree program that combines hands-on culinary training with academic courses in hospitality management, food science, and nutrition. Students can choose from various concentrations such as baking and pastry arts, culinary arts and science, or culinary science. The program is offered at the Center City campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Westminster Kingsway College culinary arts program is one of the UK’s leading schools of hospitality and culinary arts, offering a range of courses from basic to advanced levels. Students can learn from award-winning chefs and industry experts, and benefit from the college’s enviable links with leading gastronomic associations and figures. The college has campuses in Victoria, King’s Cross and Soho, where students can experience the vibrant and diverse culinary scene of London.
  • Sullivan University culinary arts program is accredited by the American Culinary Federation’s Accrediting Commission, and prepares students for entry-level positions in the food service industry. Students can master both the art and science of cooking, learning basic culinary skills, nutrition, sanitation, garde manger, hospitality management and more. The program is offered in a hybrid format, with part online and part on-campus classes at Louisville or Lexington campuses.
  • Louisiana Culinary Institute culinary arts program is a 16-month diploma program that covers all aspects of culinary arts, from fundamentals to advanced techniques. Students can choose from four concentrations: Advanced Baking and Pastry, Culinary Arts and Occupational Studies, Hospitality and Culinary Management, or Savory Arts. The program also includes an externship at a local restaurant or food service establishment, where students can apply their skills in a real-world setting.
  • National Louis University Kendall College of Culinary Arts offers bachelor’s and associate’s degrees in culinary arts, baking and pastry, and hospitality management. The programs combine hands-on learning with academic rigor, exposing students to global cuisines, sustainable practices, business skills and innovation. The college has state-of-the-art facilities in Chicago, where students can access a variety of culinary resources and opportunities.
  • Hattori Nutrition College is a prestigious culinary school in Japan that focuses on nutrition and health. The college offers courses in cooking, dietetics, confectionery, bread making, food coordination and more. Students can learn from renowned chefs and instructors, and gain practical experience in the college’s restaurants and cafeterias. The college also has partnerships with overseas institutions, such as Le Cordon Bleu and Johnson & Wales University.
  • Metropolitan Community College culinary arts program is a two-year associate’s degree program that prepares students for careers in the food service industry. Students learn the fundamentals of cooking, baking, sanitation, and food safety, as well as business skills and customer service. The program is offered at the Fort Omaha campus in Omaha, Nebraska.
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