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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 10 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 2011 mean annual wages for head cooks and chefs working in Iowa at $36,350. 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

Browse Iowa Cooking Schools Today!

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

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  • 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.
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  • Offers a 10% scholarship to eligible active duty, active and drilling members of the Reserve and National Guard.
  • Its accelerated online courses allow students to learn new course material every 5 ½ weeks.
  • Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
  • Has been training students for creative careers since 1921. 
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  • 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).
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Find Culinary Schools in Iowa by City

Des Moines

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