Culinary Schools in Des Moines, IA

Culinary Schools in Des Moines

Des Moines is a city with a true Midas touch when it comes to the culinary scene. From food and drink events, such as the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival in February to the World Food and Music Festival in September, chefs and culinary professionals have ample opportunities to strut their stuff. Also, the city holds a restaurant week, which falls in August of every year, and gives diners the opportunity to eat at top-notch restaurants and utilize special pricing and deals. Whether it's for restaurant week or a special event, chefs in Des Moines known the value of innovating, but also in offering tasty food.

Not every city has unique food attractions to check out, too, but this is the case in Des Moines. The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates, for example, gives visitors the opportunity to learn about past award recipients recognized for their contributions to improving food quality or availability globally. Then, there are also places like Broadbent Distillery, Maytag Blue Cheese, and Summerset Winery to explore. In fact, the culinary scene seems unending in this city, and students looking to build a career might benefit by attending one of the Des Moines culinary schools.

Famous restaurants in Des Moines

Des Moines never seems to be without awards and nods, including three James Beard nominations for restaurant or chef in 2013, two in 2014 and two again in 2015. Since Des Moines is known as a hip kind of town, and has a population of more than 200,000, there are plenty of top places to try out, including:

  • Eatery/A: This restaurant brings Mediterranean cuisine to life by incorporating bright, exotic flavors from North Africa. Chef Nic Gonwa received a Rising Star: Chef of the Year semifinalist spot in the 2015 James Beard awards, and turns to local, quality ingredients to create simple dishes. A wood-burning oven, a central focus in the kitchen, helps provide richly-flavored pizzas and sides to customers.
  • Café Di Scala: Imagination goes into every pasta dish at this contemporary Italian restaurant in Des Moines while fresh and local remains a priority, too. Not only has its wine list been recognized for excellence in Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast Chef magazine, but chef Phil Shires was a semifinalist for Best Chef: Midwest in the 2014 James Beard Chef and Restaurant awards.
  • Proof: Blending Old World flavors with local cuisine and tastes, Proof focuses on only the best for customers in terms of good food, wine, service and atmosphere. Chef Sean Wilson has received not one, but two semifinalist nods for Best Chef: Midwest, and the restaurant has received press in the Des Moines Register, Food and Wine Magazine, and dsm Magazine.

Other unique tastes, from baked donuts to German schnitzel, can be found in Des Moines, too. Some of these one-of-a-kind Des Moines establishments to check out include:

  • The Cheese Shop
  • Djonuts
  • Flying Mango
  • Miyabi 9
  • Zombie Burger & Drink Lab

Des Moines culinary salary and career info

Whether it's a diploma or an associate degree, students enrolled in Des Moines culinary schools have the opportunity to gain hands-on skills in the kitchen. From baking to menu planning and food preparation to sanitation and safety, students can gain skills relevant to the restaurant and hospitality industry. They also can find opportunities to travel to France with other culinary students or to prepare gourmet meals for diners in the community. Employment and average salary for some of those in the culinary professions in the Des Moines-West Des Moines metro include:


Total Employment in Des Moines (2014)

Average salary in Des Moines (2014)




Chefs and Head Cooks



Food Service Managers



Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Students looking for Des Moines cooking schools also can turn to online education for instruction in culinary management, culinary operations or hospitality and restaurant management. Online training offer students the opportunity to gain certificates all the way up to bachelors degrees. And, statewide, the restaurant industry in Iowa is expected to continue to grow:


Total Employment in Iowa (2014)

Average Salary in Iowa (2014)

% Job Growth in Iowa (2012-2022)





Chefs and Head Cooks




Food Service Managers




Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014, and Projections Central

More than 145,000 Iowans were employed in the restaurant industry in the state, as of 2014, according to the National Restaurant Association. This accounted for 9 percent of all jobs. In fact, statewide, there are more than 6,000 dining or drinking establishment providing food and dining services. While Des Moines culinary schools cannot make a guarantee of employment, they typically do offer valuable career-related-skills. To learn more about these Des Moines cooking schools, take a look at the listings below.


  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa, Occupational Employment Statistics,
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Iowa, Occupational Employment Statistics,
  • Café de Scala.
  • Eatery/A,
  • Iowa Culinary Institute, Des Moines Area Community College.
  • National Restaurant Association, Iowa.
  • Online Programs. Le Cordon Bleu.
  • Proof,
  • Projections Central, Iowa,
  • Restaurant Week 2015.
  • The 2015 Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists.
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This list also contains online schools that accept students from Des Moines