Culinary Schools in Chicago, IL: Culinary Arts & Cooking Colleges

Culinary Schools in Chicago

The Second City really has it all: big city, comfortable neighborhoods, culture, art, nature, a diverse population, comedy galore, and an unparalleled food scene -- in the Midwest or anywhere. Some of the country's most storied restaurants are located in Chicago, and if you like Polish or German food, you've come to the right place. Beyond the Midwest staples of meat, potatoes and hot dishes, Chicago has evolved into one of the country's top food meccas.

In Chicago the food is the celebrity, and nowhere does that hold more true than at some of the deep-dish pizza joints, where people will line up before the place even opens. Greektown is where you can have some of the best Greek food this side of the Atlantic, and Chi-Town is also home to fantastic Polish food, especially pierogis. And let's talk hot dogs -- a Chicago-style hot dog comes with onion, relish, tomato, pickles, peppers, celery salt, and always with mustard, never ketchup.

Famous Chicago foods, restaurants and festivals

Without question, Taste of Chicago is the city's premiere food event, and it's worth braving the crowds for. As one of the world's largest food festivals, it brought 1.4 million visitors in 2014. Held every year in July in Grant Park since 1980, this admission-free festival has restaurants, pop-up restaurants, food trucks, concerts, celebrity chefs, kids' activities, and much more. Chicago also has a lot to offer beer-lovers. In fact, there's an entire Chicago Craft Beer Week that takes place throughout the city every June, at more than 300 venues.

It may be near impossible to choose our favorite restaurants in Chicago, but for students who are getting to know the food scene, you can't miss these:

  • Alinea: It's fancy, it's complicated, it's expensive, it's legendary, and it has three Michelin stars: that about sums up Chef Grant Achatz's highly innovative cooking. Getting a reservation is tough, so reserve months ahead, and prepare to taste things you have never tasted before. 
  • Pizzeria Uno: This is the opposite of Alinea in many ways. It's comfortable, simple, and very, very good. Lines are long here, too, but this top-notch Chicago deep-dish pizza is affordable and constitutes comfort food at its best. There are two Chicago locations.
  • Girl and the Goat: Stephanie Izard won Bravo's tough-as-nails cooking competition, Top Chef, in 2008, but more importantly, she's the winner of a James Beard award in 2013. Her small plates and innovative cooking are tremendously popular with foodies. You might just see Stephanie working her magic in the open kitchen.
  • Frontera Grill: Chef Rick Bayless is not Mexican by birth, but his Mexican food is undisputedly top-notch. He's built an empire based on his encyclopedic knowledge of Mexican food and its delicious results, and Frontera Grill is where it all started in 1987. It earned a James Beard award in 2007.

Chicago culinary arts career outlook

Graduating with a culinary is usually the norm for most chefs and bakers, and in big cities it could be especially useful due to the high level of competition. Aspiring students at culinary schools in Chicago can look forward to healthy job growth that's about on par with the average growth of most jobs in the U.S.


Total Employment in Illinois (2014)

Average Salary in Illinois (2014)

% Job Growth in Illinois (2012-2022)





Butchers and meat cutters




Chefs and Head Cooks




Food Service Managers




Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Wages and employment opportunities will tend to be better in the Chicago metropolitan area, since there will be a much higher volume of bars, restaurants and customers alike.



Total Employed (2014)

Average Salary (2014)

Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL
Metropolitan Division




Butchers and meat cutters






Food Service Managers



Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Choosing to attend one of the culinary schools in Chicago is surely a great decision. Now, the question is: which one? We've compiled a handy list below that should help potential students decide which school is best for them. Best of luck, and don't forget us when you are famous!


  • Chicago Craft Beer Week:
  • Frontera Grill:
  • Girl and the Goat:
  • How to Make a Chicago-Style Hot Dog, The Paupered Chef, Blake Royer, July 22, 2009,
  • May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Illinois, 2015, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
  • May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetromplitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL Metropolitan Division, 2015, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
  • Pizzeria Uno:
  • Taste of Chicago:
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This list also contains online schools that accept students from Chicago

Other Chicago, Illinois Culinary Schools

School Name Programs Offered
Robert Morris College - Chicago Associate Degree Culinary Arts