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Home | Culinary Schools & Culinary Colleges | Culinary Schools by State | Iowa

Culinary Arts Schools in Iowa

Even opinionated globetrotters can agree that the American Heartland is one of the friendliest regions on the planet, and its food reflects it. Graduates of culinary schools in Iowa and nearby can find that the cuisine made here is hearty, delicious and, although unpretentious, also includes the upscale. In general, the state's deep immigrant roots and long history of agriculture have left a mark on the cuisine, witnessed in meat-based European fare and farm-fresh produce present on menus. Iowa is a leading producer of corn, soybeans, cheese and red meat, and the state's more than 11,000 different kinds of fertile soils ensure a steady supply of top-notch produce for Iowan chefs. Those who doubt Iowa’s ability to produce ethnic cuisine can look to Des Moines, the state's epicenter of innovative cooking and ethnic restaurants, where everything from Afghan to Laotian dishes can be found at the city's bustling Downtown Farmers Market. Festivals found in this state include the eclectic World Food Festival in Des Moines in September and the Sauerkraut Days, which are held in Lisbon in August.

Planning your Iowa Culinary Career

Restaurants are big business in Iowa, as 9 percent of the state's workforce earns a living in the food and beverage sector, according to data from the National Restaurant Association. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the 2013 mean annual wages for head cooks and chefs working in Iowa at $37,690. Chefs are made, not born, and an important part of any chef's success can depend on hard work and dedication to his or her craft. While a culinary degree is not always essential, having a formal degree from an Iowa culinary school could be a plus. The list of Iowa culinary schools below can lead you to learn how to cook with fresh corn, grass-fed beef and other ingredients important in the American Heartland.

Additional Resources for Students at Iowa Culinary Schools
National Restaurant Association: Iowa's Restaurant Industry at a Glance
The New York Times: 36 hours in Des Moines
Bureau of Labor Statistics career information for chefs and head cooks

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

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  • Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
  • Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
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  • 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.
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  • Offers more than 150 self-paced, career-relevant programs that are connected to a supportive 24/7 online community of students and faculty.
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  • Nearly 25,000 graduates each year.
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  • Founded in 1890 in Scranton, Pennsylvania    
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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
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Other Iowa Culinary Schools

School Name City or Town Programs Offered
Iowa State University Ames Culinary Science (AGLS)
Iowa Culinary Institute Ankeny Culinary Arts
Kirkwood Community College Cedar Rapids Bakery
Iowa Western Community College Council Bluff Culinary Arts
Eastern Iowa Community College District Davenport Culinary Arts
Iowa Lakes Community College Estherville Hospitality Culinary & Management
North Iowa Area Community College Mason City Hospitality/Foodservice Management
Indian Hills Community College Ottumwa Culinary Arts (AAS)
Hawkeye Community College Waterloo Culinary Arts