As the culinary world expands, so do opportunities to learn a new craft. Culinary schools are popping up everywhere, from small local colleges to massive global university campuses. Some programs are designed to teach you the requisite skills for a career as a restaurant owner or chef; others provide the basics of cooking, baking, and service. Some offer a more holistic approach that includes classes in sustainable farming and nutrition.
Choosing the best culinary school for you depends on your goals and budget. A top option is the Culinary Institute of America, which has three US campuses and an international campus in Singapore. It offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees and specializes in training future restaurant owners on how to overcome the obstacles of running a business.
Another option is Metropolitan Community College, located in Omaha, Nebraska. It offers a number of different culinary courses, including a certificate program in food management and the flagship bachelor’s degree in culinary arts. Students can earn a certificate in less than two years, and can take advantage of on-campus scholarships and internships to offset the cost of tuition.
Other popular culinary schools include the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, with its small class sizes and low tuition prices. The school focuses on teaching techniques developed by the “King of Chefs,” Auguste Escoffier, and also offers unique experiences, like a six-week “Farm to Table” program.
While it’s true that big names tend to get the most attention, there are a lot of diverse professionals working to overhaul our entire food system on various levels. They may be providing smart farming software to farmers in Latin America, or founding a food collective to raise awareness about the health hazards of fried chicken (both examples from our 50 Next list).
The James Beard Awards, the other major culinary award show, has started to change its image as well. In the first year since the #MeToo movement emerged, voters showed signs of shifting away from the white male dominance that has long characterized the awards. Winners included a Maryland crab cake with gochujang vinaigrette from James Beard Award-winning chef Edward Lee and a modern Israeli eatery, Zahav.
Michelin, too, is trying to shift its reputation as the arbiter of fine dining. Its latest guide to New York City, for instance, awarded one star to a Mexican mole temple and the Japanese ramen shack of Claro. It will be interesting to see whether the anonymous inspectors follow suit next year.