Culinary Schools in Philadelphia, PA: Culinary Arts & Cooking Colleges

Culinary Schools in Philadelphia

If you're looking for a city with iconic foods, look no further than Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love is home to so much good food that tours of the culinary scene are a must-do for some visitors. Philly cheesesteak sandwiches are world famous, but the city's restaurants and diners are also known for their hoagies, soft pretzels and Sicilian pizza. In addition, Philadelphia supports a large number of ethnic eateries offering up authentic Thai, Middle Eastern and Italian fare, among others.

For students planning a food-related career, culinary schools in Philadelphia offer an opportunity to learn in an environment surrounded by good food as well as a large job market.

Famous chefs in Philadelphia

Philadelphia isn't only home to great food; it's also home to great chefs. Each year, the James Beard Foundation honors the best culinary arts professionals in the nation, and it's no surprise that Philly is well-represented among the nominees. The 2015 semifinalists for the awards included 19 restaurants, chefs and other industry leaders.

Of those, the following people became finalists for this year's awards.

  • Marc Vetri: Native resident Marc Vetri has created one of the most distinguished Italian restaurants in Philadelphia. Named after its founder, Vetri has won accolades since its start in 1998, including a spot on the list of 101 best restaurants in the nation according to The Daily Meal. Chef Marc Vetri is now a finalist for the 2015 Outstanding Chef award.
  • Stephen Starr: A finalist for the 2015 Outstanding Restaurateur honor, Stephen Starr has been opening excellent restaurants since 1995 when he founded STARR Restaurants. Today, his company is responsible for more than 20 dining establishments in Philadelphia.
  • Alex Bois: Alex Bois might be a name to watch in the coming years. Tapped as one of the finalists for the 2015 Rising Star Chef of the Year, he works at High Street on Market, a restaurant that has become a star of its own.

In addition, three of the five chefs have been named for the Outstanding Chef: Mid-Atlantic award are from Philadelphia.

Famous restaurants in Philadelphia

In addition to a host of great chefs, Philadelphia also has a rich historical legacy as the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and as a former U.S. capital. A pedigree like that means the city has historic districts that offer a unique dining vibe.

Students at culinary schools in Philadelphia may not want to miss these city mainstays.

  • City Tavern Restaurant: At the City Tavern, you can dine where the founding fathers met during the First Continental Congress in 1774. The building has been reconstructed, and its lunch and dinner menu seeks to recreate the dining experience of the 18th Century.
  • Laurel: According to Philadelphia Magazine, Laurel is the best restaurant in the city. However, don't expect to walk in the door and be seated. Diners need a reservation, and spots often fill months in advance.
  • Vedge: For those who trust Zagat reviews, Vedge gets some of the highest marks in the city. It's a totally vegan restaurant that promises to impress even meat-eating foodies.

Other notable restaurants in Philadelphia include Abe Fisher, Townsend, Zahav, Fork and Morimoto.

Culinary career outlook in Philadelphia

Graduates of culinary schools in Philadelphia may choose to go on to a number of different careers. Some may prefer to work on the business side of the industry, becomingrestaurateurs or managers. Others may find their passion in the kitchen and work as cooks, bakers or caterers.

While job opportunities and income potential can vary with the job, the following chart highlights Philadelphia employment for some popular culinary arts professions as well as the statewide job growth expected in the years to come.

OccupationTotal Employment in Philadelphia (2013)Average Salary in Philadelphia (2013)% Job Growth in Pennsylvania (2012-2022)
Chefs and Head Cooks1,820$53,3403.5%
Food Service Managers2,460$64,0700.8%
First-Line Supervisors of Food Prep and Service13,350$38,43011.4%

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

This is just a sampling of the jobs available to culinary professionals in Philadelphia. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the leisure and hospitality industry in the greater Philadelphia metro area employed more than 234,000 people in November 2014.

You too can pursue a career in the culinary arts. While a formal education isn't always necessary, students may find culinary schools in Philadelphia are able to support their goals by giving them sought-after skills as well as potentially connecting them to current industry professionals.


  • Projections Central, Pennsylvania,
  • Here are the 2015 James Beard Awards Finalists, Daniela Galarza, Eater, March 24, 2015,
  • 101 Best Restaurants in America, Arthur Bovino, February 20, 2014, The Daily Meal, San Antonio River Walk,
  • The 2015 Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists, James Beard Foundation,
  • 50 Best Restaurants in Philadelphia, Philadelphia Magazine,
  • Philadelphia, Zagat,
  • Philly's 20 Most Iconic Dishes, Eater,
  • Vetri,
  • STARR Restaurants,
  • The City Tavern Restaurant,
  • Philadelphia Area Employment - November 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
  • May 2014 Occupational Employment Statistics, Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
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This list also contains online schools that accept students from Philadelphia

Other Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Culinary Schools

School Name Programs Offered
Temple University Hospitality Services Management