Culinary Education FAQs
How long is culinary school? Culinary school’s length is dependent on the type of degree you wish to earn. For students wanting to earn a certificate in cooking and the culinary arts, it is possible to do so in under a year. Pursuing an associates degree is typically a two-year endeavor, but fluctuates based on the exact discipline you choose. If you choose to earn a bachelor’s degree, you’ll spend about the same time at an institution as a traditional college student would: approximately four years. A Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts is the most extensive degree offered at Kendall College. In addition to learning fundamental and advanced cooking techniques, our students in the bachelor’s program also gain experience running and building a flourishing culinary business. A typical student will study full-time for three years to earn this degree, opening up many career opportunities once they graduate. Explore our example course sequence for more information. An Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts or Baking and Pastry will arm you with specialized knowledge as you undertake rigorous culinary training and develop key leadership and collaboration skills to thrive in the foodservice industry. The typical course sequence for the A.A.S in Culinary Arts takes seven quarters to complete, while the typical course sequence for the A.A.S in Baking Pastry takes six quarters to complete. Both degrees can be earned in as little two years when enrolled full-time. If you already have a bachelor’s degree and have discovered your passion for foodservice later in life, you can earn a standard two-year degree in five quarters. Our Accelerated Associate Degree in Culinary Arts takes you through the same course sequence as the full associates degree without repeated general education requirements you have completed previously. How much does culinary school cost? At Kendall College, the domestic tuition cost to attend our Culinary School full-time is $8,041 per quarter. Visit our tuition and fees page for a full breakdown of the cost of tuition for full-time, part-time, auditing, and more. Prices for international students are also listed, as are all of our fees and an approximate cost for housing. However, the cost is only one part of the puzzle. At Kendall College we pride ourselves on working with eager students to help them accomplish their educational goals and enter into a lucrative career without overwhelming debt. We offer financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships for incoming and returning students. Fill out your FAFSA and visit our Financial Aid Calculator to get an idea of what your financial aid package might look like. According to CollegeCalc, an online tool for comprehensive college pricing data, Kendall College is 18% cheaper than the average Illinois tuition. Even though we are a private institution in a large, thriving metropolis we always work diligently to keep costs manageable for our students. 74% of our 2014-2015 students received Pell Grants to help them pay for tuition, and still more received scholarships and other forms of financial aid. How do I get into culinary school? Every culinary institution has an application process with their own deadlines that dictate how and when you can be accepted into their program. Most applications consider transcripts, personal statements, experience, test scores and interviews to determine whom they accept. Visit the website of every culinary school you’re considering to learn what documents you must send in, and when the documents are expected. The application process at Kendall College is highly personalized, as we consider every applicant’s goals, potential and their history. We understand that some students enter straight from high school, while other students have already earned bachelor’s degrees and may be switching career fields. Unlike most colleges that follow strict deadlines, Kendall College offers admission on a rolling basis. Because our classes our structured on the quarter system, incoming students can begin their education at any time of the year. Getting into the Culinary School is simply a matter of submitting your application and supplementary materials and meeting the admissions requirements for your program. Kendall College’s admissions staff maintains communication with our applicants so no question goes unanswered. Once you begin your application process you will be put in contact with an Enrollment Advisor who will help you through the process. If you need help preparing any of your materials you can give the Enrollment Advisors a call at +1.888.90.KENDALL. We require a minimum score of 18 on the ACT, or a three-part SAT score of 1290 among other requirements. However, our students are much more than numbers. A deciding factor in your admission is your personal statement, in which you will address your goals, your experience, and your specific reason for choosing Kendall. Guidelines for writing your best personal statement can be found here. For a full list of application requirements visit our application process page. How difficult is culinary school? Culinary school is as challenging as any other discipline-intensive pursuit of higher education. In order to succeed in culinary school you will need to combine tactile learning with creativity, communication and leadership. Culinary school delves into a few interrelated subjects very deeply and expects you to transform knowledge into action and final products. Perhaps more than most other types of education, a degree in the culinary arts requires a broad mix of talents, strengths and convictions. This challenge is matched by the rewarding nature of a career in foodservice and the culinary arts. The programs at Kendall College are designed to prepare students for long-term success in a competitive and evolving industry. Our innovative curriculum works because it combines in-depth classroom learning with hands-on experience in a fast-paced kitchen. Our top-notch program teams you up with business and hospitality students to pitch ideas and form solutions. While at Kendall College you can intern at reputable foodservice establishments in Chicago and study abroad to gain an international perspective. In short, culinary school isn’t a cakewalk. It’s a lot of work, and it won’t allow you to sit on the sidelines. But the challenges will prove invaluable once you graduate into the workforce. Your education at Kendall College is designed to equip you to succeed in interviews and develop a career in ways that many other programs simply cannot. Employers seek out Kendall College graduates because we don’t simply educate students – we transform them. Students choose Kendall College because our graduates go on to create and run their own restaurants and businesses. Countless graduates have achieved their dreams because of the work ethic and problem-solving skills they developed at Kendall. Check out the success stories of some our students. How do I prepare for culinary school? Students that wish to pursue a career as a chef or a foodservice professional should begin by becoming acquainted with every facet of their home kitchen. You can also develop discipline by attempting to create new recipes and practicing your efficiency. However, what’s most needed to apply for culinary school is a demonstrable passion for culinary arts and a history of academic excellence. A powerful statement of goals and a solid transcript are a terrific place to start. The Culinary Arts program at Kendall College is designed to accommodate students from all walks of life and all levels of experience. The best preparation for a culinary education is to care passionately about food preparation, presentation and preservation. Obviously, experience in the kitchen will help you acclimate to the nature of our hands-on classes, but our esteemed faculty members will help you understand basic and advanced concepts from theory to execution. Once you’ve made the decision to pursue a career in the culinary arts you should consider yourself prepared to apply to Kendall College. To get the most out of your education, research the benefits available to you as a student. There are extensive active-duty and veteran benefits for studying at Kendall College, which you should take advantage of if you have or are serving our country. The process of entering culinary school will vary based on where you are in your education and where you’re currently living. If you’d like to transfer into Kendall College research how we can use your current education as a launch pad to a completed degree in our program. International applicants should look into our international application process to be better prepared for success. Make sure you don’t forget a step or document as you apply to Kendall! Take a look at our application checklist to ensure your application is in the best possible shape. What are the requirements of a culinary arts education? Most culinary arts schools require students to learn the basic techniques of food preparation for all major types of dishes during class. You must learn how to conduct yourself in a professional kitchen. A culinary arts education will educate you in the history of cuisine so you draw on inspirations from around the world and throughout history for your own culinary creations. Most programs require hands-on experience and training in an internship or a restaurant environment. As part of your culinary training you will of course master the essential kitchen skills in classes such as Methods of Cooking, Stocks, Sauces and Soups, Baking and Pastry and more. These techniques are vital for any burgeoning chef to learn. But at Kendall College we require more than cooking technique courses. While earning your degree you will also develop a deep understanding of the logistics and business practices behind the ever-growing foodservice industry. In required classes like Storeroom Operations and Purchasing, Menus, Food Service Management and Fine Dining Service you will attain a managerial and entrepreneurial mindset that will allow you to oversee every aspect of food preparation and service. Our holistic approach to culinary education means your required classes prepare you for more than life in the kitchen – they prepare you for a full career in the culinary arts. During your education you will be required to refine your skills in a hands-on three-month internship. You’ll be able to learn from the experts at some of the top dining destinations in the area and even overseas. Knowledge and technique from seasoned industry professionals will be indispensible as you enter into the job market. While at Kendall College, senior students participate in our thrilling and unique Capstone Project. Culinary arts students collaborate with hospitality and business students to conceptualize and pitch a multi-use project at the end-of-the-year Capstone Trade Show and Awards Ceremony. How can I earn culinary certifications? For many professionals in the restaurant, catering, and foodservice industries, passing a certification test offered by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) is the key to securing top positions in their field. These tests can be taken throughout the year and are open to any students who have completed the necessary prerequisite courses. Tests can be taken multiple times in order to earn your certification in your desired field. We understand that, in a competitive job market, many chefs and culinary artists will seek to earn their certifications as soon as possible. Included in our culinary arts faculty are Certified Master Bakers, Certified Executive Chefs and Certified Pastry Chefs. An education at Kendall College is designed to equip you with the industry knowledge and prowess in the kitchen you will need to succeed when taking your certification exams. Whether you seek to be a pastry chef, personal chef, executive chef, culinary administrator, or other certified position, Kendall College will allow you to achieve those goals. A full list of certification designations and the requirements for each can be found on the ACF’s website. For students who dream of becoming a certified wine sommelier or beer professional Kendall College offers multiple pathways. A concentration in Beverage Management in the Hospitality Management Program will help prepare you for your exams, as will continuing your education in our Wine Professional Program. We also offer culinary intensive classes for accomplished enthusiast chefs to develop their skills and earn certificates in various concentrations. Can I become a chef without attending culinary school? Absolutely! Like many career fields, a degree is not required to enter the foodservice and culinary industry. A chef’s educational background isn’t vital to earning the position itself in many restaurants – ultimately, your skill set, efficiency, and experience will determine what positions you earn. That said, many elite restaurants and positions are only given to applicants with culinary degrees. A degree can help you skip the formative years of your career working long hours in a kitchen. A degree from Kendall College will help jumpstart your job search and can open up doors to the top of your field. When aspiring chefs start their career in the kitchen as opposed to in the classroom they will most likely start as a dishwasher or line chef and work for years before being promoted. This is the reality for many chefs, but for those without a degree it is almost inevitable. As Huffington Post points out, a holistic culinary education at an institution like Kendall College opens up career possibilities that sheer restaurant experience may not. Many of our graduates want to specialize in the industry. A culinary education prepares you to also enter into careers like a personal chef, a food stylist, a food writer, a recipe tester and more. Our Career Services Office assists students secure a job upon graduation with counseling, career fairs, and on-campus job interviews. 96% of graduates who sought employment within their fields of study reported employment within 6 months of graduation. (self-reported—June 2016 graduating cohort) Our employment statistics paint a clear picture – an education from Kendall can provide an advantage in the job market. With the vast network of employers ready to hire Kendall College graduates, becoming a chef is an attainable goal when you have a degree. What other affordable options exist for education? Many students simply can’t afford to invest in a four-year bachelor’s degree. Culinary arts education is highly specialized, meaning many alternate options exist for hardworking individuals looking to earn a degree or certificate and advance their career. One popular path is to pursue an associate degree, which can be earned in as few as seven quarters when attending full-time or in as few as 13 quarters when participating on a part-time basis.. The Associates Degree in Culinary Arts uniquely fuses the art and science of cooking with an introduction to critical business management practices. Students can complete this degree in seven quarters. For those looking for an accelerated course of study, the Accelerated Associate Degree program fits the bill. Designed for students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree, this fast-track program enables you to earn a two-year degree in five quarters. Many students have already entered the workforce and are searching for a reasonably priced program that will hone their kitchen fundamentals. For individuals that aren’t looking for a traditional degree, the Culinary Certificate program at Kendall College presents a customizable, module-based alternative that allows you to focus on topics that pique your interest. The flexible scheduling and affordable pricing make the certificate route a terrific option. To learn more click here. What will I learn in a culinary arts education? While studying at a culinary arts school you will amass a foundational and thorough knowledge of the terms, procedures and techniques used in professional kitchens. Each degree varies in course requirements, but every student will learn the fundamentals of creating delectable dishes from a wide variety of regions around the world. As a student at Chicago’s No.1 institute that prepares students for careers in the culinary arts you will learn more than the necessary skills and methods for success as a chef – you will also study the business and logistical side of foodservice to help prepare you for entrepreneurship and maintaining your own restaurant. The courses in our culinary arts program vary from cooking classes like Intro to Stocks, Sauces, and Soups and Breakfast Production to more universal classes like Food Service Management and Professional Development. Our faculty utilizes their real-world experience to help prepare you for the fast-paced atmosphere of a restaurant kitchen while going beyond theory to teach you the invaluable methods for workplace success, communication, and confidence. All of our courses go beyond the textbook and focus on the reality of food preparation and service to create bona fide culinary experts. For a full list of our courses read our academic catalog. What should I look for in a culinary program? There are many factors to consider when choosing where to pursue your culinary arts education. You’ll certainly want to attend an accredited program to get the most out of your time in school. Beyond that, you’ll want to find the right fit for you. Some students choose to attend programs in vibrant culinary centers to learn from the city itself. Other deciding factors should be the facilities provided, the experience of the faculty, the flexibility of the program and curriculum, and the eagerness of the student body when you visit. Situated in the heart of Chicago, Kendall College provides endless opportunities for learning and growth. We’re at the heart of a thriving culinary city and provide a window into the finest cuisines. We also boast top-notch equipment and facilities so our students can learn in an environment that mirrors their future workspaces. If you’re going to invest in a culinary education it’s paramount that your program offers spacious kitchens, countertops, and plenty of hands-on training. At Kendall College you’ll prepare and serve dishes to real customers at our fine dining restaurant, our café and our chocolate and sugar kitchens. Kendall College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission as well as the American Culinary Federations for our A.A.S. in Culinary Arts and the A.A.S. in Baking & Pastry in the School of Culinary Arts. What jobs can I obtain with my degree? Plenty of students enter culinary school with the goal of becoming a chef. One of the careers that culinary students aspire to is that of an executive chef – being in charge of their own kitchen at a prestigious restaurant. Beyond this position, there are several other rewarding jobs for innovative cooks, including a personal chef, a sous chef and a caterer. Perhaps you’ll focus on wine cultivation and inventory and become a sommelier. Business-minded graduates often become the manager or owner of their own restaurant. For graduates of Kendall College’s Baking and Pastry program there are also multitudes of rewarding career paths. Once trained in the art of baking you could land a job as an artisan bread baker or a pastry chef. You can specialize in delicacies and sweets to become a cake designer or a chocolatier. Creative-minded graduates may gravitate to a research and development chef position for a major corporation. As you navigate the culinary job market you may not even want to cook for a living. Several graduates make their mark as food writers or corporate managers. With the business savvy and marketing skills honed in our program we help prepare you for more than daily life in the kitchen. See where notable Kendall graduates are now to learn where you could be tomorrow.