dcsimg
Home | Culinary Schools & Culinary Colleges | Culinary Schools by State | Illinois

Culinary Arts Schools in Illinois

The country's culinary landscape continually shifts and changes, but there are three foundational cities that anchor that landscape: New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago. In Illinois, Chicago is the heartbeat of the culinary world, one home to critically renowned, award-winning chefs and restaurateurs. It's an exciting place to be for students interested in attending culinary schools in Illinois. Evidenced by the city's annual recognition from the James Beard Foundation, Chicago is home to top-flight culinary talent and tastes. In 2014, there were three James Beard award winners, including:

  • Jimmy Bannos, Jr. (The Purple Pig): Co-winner of rising star chef category
  • Dave Beran (Next): Best chef, Great Lakes
  • Maria Contreras, Christopher Lawton, Micah Stanley (Grace): Outstanding restaurant design (75 seats and under)

Dominated by the Chicago metropolitan region, Illinois' culinary arts industry is a $22.4 billion per year industry, according to the National Restaurant Association. This presents a huge opportunity for prospective students who are thinking ahead about their culinary career: more than 26,000 restaurants and drinking establishments can be found in the state, establishments that employ 500,000 individuals.

Famous Illinois restaurants and chefs

Restaurants, chefs, and restaurateurs across the state have and continue to garner national, and even worldwide, acclaim from publications including Michelin Guide, Forbes, and Wine and Spectator. However, the Illinois culinary scene is dominated in particular by two Chicago restaurants: Alinea and Grace. Both were named Five-Star restaurants by Forbes in 2014. More importantly, both earned the critical distinction of Three-Star recognition from Michelin.

  • Alinea - Executive Chef Grant Achatz, along with Nick Kokonas, founded the 64-table restaurant in 2005, a restaurant that has redefined the dining experience through an 18 to 22 course meal based on a seasonally driven menu.
  • Grace - Renowned Executive Chef, Curtis Duffy, opened Grace in 2012 and it has been a sensational hit, garnering accolades including a Five-Star rating from Forbes Travel Guide, AAA's Five Diamond Rating, Three-Stars from Michelin, and was named the best restaurant in the world by Robb's Report in 2013.

As the focal point of the culinary world in Illinois, Chicago is also home to two additional Five-Star and four Four-Star Forbes restaurants. Other Five-Star winners also include L20 and Sixteen, while the Four-Star winners include Everest, Les Nomades, Shanghai Terrace, and Tru.

Complementing the Three-Star rated Michelin restaurants, Grace and Alinea, are another 22 restaurants that earned Two- and One-Star recognition from Michelin.

Although Chicago is the epicenter of the culinary movement in Illinois, other cities such as Rockford and Evanston, are quickly becoming known as foodie destinations. For example, in 2014, Zagat named the some of the best restaurants in Evanston, a college town expanding its palette of tastes with an influx of new chefs and restaurateurs, including establishments such as Lou Malnati's Pizza, Campagnola (Italian), Jilly's Café (American), Coast Sushi and Sashimi (Japanese) and more.

Illinois career outlook for culinary careers and professions

The path to a culinary career typically begins with graduating from a culinary arts school. In Illinois, even famous chefs such as Chef Grant Aschatz of Alinea have attended a culinary institution for training. Prospective students have a wide selection of educational opportunities and career avenues to consider and pursue. Traditionally speaking, culinary schools in Illinois offer students four professional concentrations: Culinary Management, Baking & Pastry Arts, Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts.

Whether the goal is to own a restaurant, become a sous chef, head baker, pastry chef, executive chef, bartender or hospitality director, a degree in the culinary arts can pave the way to an entry-level position in the field. According to employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth at the career level varies both by location and profession. For example, bakers, chefs, and restaurant managers are expected to see job gains statewide between 2.9 percent and 5.7 percent between 2012 and 2022. Below is a career summary table for culinary careers in Illinois:

OccupationTotal Employment in Illinois (2013)Average Salary in Illinois (2013)% Job Growth in Illinois (2012-22)
Bakers 7,980 $25,060 5.7%
Chefs and Head Cooks 4,610 $42,210 4.9%
Food Service Managers 12,070 $47,170 2.9%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013, and Projections Central

At the local level, the top five paying metropolitan areas in 2013 for chefs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, included the following:

  • Champaign-Urbana: $49,220
  • Lake County-Kenosha County: $46,040
  • Chicago-Joliet-Naperville: $44,930
  • Decatur: $44,920
  • Bloomington-Normal: $41,800

For restaurant managers, the top paying metro areas in Illinois included Bloomington-Normal ($55,470), Champaign-Urbana ($54,430), Chicago-Joliet-Naperville ($49,800), Lake County-Kenosha County ($48,300), and Decatur ($46,280).

For bakers, the best paying areas included Chicago-Joliet-Naperville ($24,840), Lake County-Kenosha County ($24,550), Peoria ($23,290), Kankakee-Bradley ($22,640) and Springfield ($22,410).

As the state -- specifically Chicago -- continues to place its mark on the culinary world, Illinois will long remain a popular place for graduates of culinary schools in Illinois to start their careers. Make sure to be fully aware of your options – if you're thinking of pursuing a culinary education in the state, be sure to peruse our list Illinois culinary schools below. Culinary arts schools, along with baking and pastry schools, are located throughout the state, so choose the one that looks right for you.

Additional Information on Culinary Colleges in Illinois from Chef2chef.net
Hotel Management Schools in Illinois

Sources

  • Forbes, Restaurant Rankings, http://www.forbestravelguide.com/restaurant
  • Michelin, Chicago Rated Restaurants, http://www.michelintravel.com/selections/2015-chicago-michelin-selections/
  • National Restaurant Association, Illinois, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2014/illinois
  • Projections Central, Illinois, projectionscentral.com
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Illinois, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_il.htm
  • Zagat, Evanston Illinois, http://www.zagat.com/c/chicago-il/evanston-restaurants
  • Best Chefs America, Illinois, https://www.bestchefsamerica.com/chef-city
  • Forbes, Travel Guide Award Winners, http://blog.forbestravelguide.com/the-2014-forbes-travel-guide-star-award-winners

This list also contains online schools that accept students from Illinois .

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef, Project Runway.
  • A team of about 4,000 faculty members are focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
  • Academic programs available in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
  • Program Coordinators work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
  • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
3 Program(s) Found
  • Students spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
  • Programs provide hands-on training from instructors who are certified, master chefs.
  • The first Le Cordon Bleu school officially opened its doors as a culinary school in Paris in 1895.
  • Offer flexible schedules and online programs.
  • 30 schools worldwide, spanning 5 continents, including 17 campuses in the U.S.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
  • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
  • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • Its career-focused online and hybrid programs are designed to address the skills gap in America.
  • Founded in 1890 in Scranton, Pennsylvania    
  • Offers over 150 self-paced, career-relevant programs that are connected to a supportive 24/7 online community of students and faculty.
  • Profiled in many publications such as The Boston Globe, Fox Business, and  Inside Higher Ed.
  • Founding member of the National Home Study Council in 1926 (now DETC).
  • Nearly 25,000 graduates each year.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • In a 2013 survey, 83% of students said they would recommend the university to others.
  • Most degree-seeking online and campus-based students are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
  • Average class sizes is 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Founded in 1937 in Davenport, Iowa as the American Institute of Commerce (AIC).
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Ranked #18 Best Education Schools by U.S. News and World Report in 2014.
  • Established in 1918 with the mission, “to improve learning in urban education locally, nationally, and globally.”
  • The first major research university to offer an online M.A.  in teaching program.
  • Offers certificate through doctoral programs in teaching, counseling, and more.
  • All programs taught with the guiding principles of leadership, learning, accountability, and diversity.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Why Earn Your Degree from GCU?
  • Options: Choose from a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Business, Nursing, Psychology, Education & more!
  • Convenience: Complete courses online, on campus, or a combination of both!
  • Earlier Graduation: Our 4-credit courses allow you to complete your degree program in less time.
  • Transfer Friendly: We will request your transcripts, evaluate your graduate coursework, and determine your anticipated graduation date within 24 hours.
  • Quality: Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is regionally accredited. Learn more today!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Providing accredited online courses and degree programs since 1987.
  • A military-friendly school, it ensures that service members, their spouses and veterans can maximize their military education benefits.
  • Students can customize monthly payments to fit their budgets and lifestyle.
  • Program and course tuition is all-inclusive: textbooks, learning materials, and academic support are covered in the cost.
  • Alumni can enroll in any future program at a reduced rate.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
ITT Technical Institute , Online (campus option available)
  • Through an agreement with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, its Yellow Ribbon Program provides tuition contributions to eligible students at a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Offers career-focused, degree programs to over 70,000 students at over 140 ITT Technical Institutes in 38 states.
  • Classes are offered year-round, typically in the daytime and evening. Online courses can be accessed anywhere, 24 hours a day. 
  • Nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. 
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Founded in 1951 by World War II veteran Donald Grantham to provide affordable, higher education for service members and their families.
  • Approved by all branches of the United States Armed Forces for Tuition Assistance (TA), and for benefits payments by the Department of Veteran Affairs benefits (VA).
  • Reviews applicants’ military and professional training for possible transfer credits, and honors credit earned through successful completion of Defense Acquisition University (DAU) courses.
  • Participates in GoArmyEd, Marine Corps Academic Explorer, The Air University Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative (CCAF), and many other virtual gateways.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Part of the Lincoln Group of Schools.
  • Lincoln Group of Schools made over $12 million available through scholarships to qualified students in 2014.
  • Lincoln Group of Schools were designated a Military Friendly School for the 6th year in a row by Victory Media.
  • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) and Accrediting Commission of Career Schools (ACCSC).
  • 8 campuses across the United States.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid

Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.

  • Online Courses
  • Offers classes online, as well as at 14 campuses across California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois and Virginia.
  • Curriculum is developed with input from employers, subject matter experts.
  • Has provided a hands-on, career-focused education since 1953.
  • Small class sizes promote one-on-one, student-teacher interaction.
  • No-cost tutoring available in every subject to every enrolled student.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • A private, Christian, liberal arts university founded in 1905 and open to students of any faith.
  • Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
  • Average class size is 20 students.
  • 97% of students receive financial aid, with the average freshman receiving $10,000.
  • Offers over 25 undergraduate degree programs.
  • Has approximately 5,000 students; 60% female and 40% male.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Online MBA program ranked 6th in the USA by CEO magazine. 
  • In a university-sponsored survey, 4 out of 5 alumni reported being satisfied with their experience.
  • #1 Online School for military veterans according to Military Times.
  • 75,000+ graduates across all industries offer extensive networking opportunities. 
  • My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.) lets students watch, view, read, or hear content. 
  • Smartphone app available for on-the-go learning. 
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Find Culinary Schools in Illinois by City

Chicago | Elgin

Other Illinois Culinary Schools

School Name City or Town Programs Offered
Belleville Area College Belleville Culinary Arts/Chef Training
Olivet Nazarene University Bourbonnais Family and Consumer Sciences
Southern Illinois University - Carbondale Carbondale Hospitality & Tourism
Kaskaskia College Centralia Advanced Cooking
Parkland College Champaign Foodservice
City Colleges of Chicago - Harold Washington College Chicago Hospitality
City Colleges of Chicago - Kennedy-King College Chicago Baking and Pastry Arts
French Pastry School Chicago Pastry Arts
Lexington College Chicago Associate of Applied Science Degree - Hospitality Management
Robert Morris College - Chicago Chicago Associate Degree Culinary Arts
Roosevelt University Chicago Hospitality & Tourism Management
Westwood College of Technology Chicago Hospitality Administration
Northern Illinois University Dekalb Nutrition, Dietetics and Hospitality
Illinois Central College East Peoria Culinary Arts - Associate in Applied Science
Elgin Community College Elgin Baker/Pastry Arts
College of Du Page Glen Ellyn Baking and Pastry Arts
College of Dupage Glen Ellyn Culinary Arts (AAS)
Southwestern Illinois College Granite City Certificate in Chef's Apprentice
College of Lake County Grayslake Hospitality and Culinary Management
Rend Lake College Ina Culinary Arts Management
Joliet Junior College Joliet Culinary Arts
Black Hawk College Moline Travel, Tourism & Hospitality
William Rainey Harper College Palatine Hospitality Management
Moraine Valley Community College Palos Hills Culinary Arts
Triton College River Grove Baking & Pastry Arts
Cooking wth the Best Chefs Roselle Baking & Cooking Classes
Lincoln Land Community College Springfield Baking and Pastry Certificate
Shawnee Community College Ullin Hospitality/Food Management.
University of Illinois at Urbana Urbana Hospitality Management