15 Top Culinary schools in Philadelphia|Tuition & Steps to License

If you are looking for the top culinary schools, you can find some of the best culinary schools in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Apart from the culinary schools in Philadelphia, you can also choose from a long list of technical and community colleges that offer culinary education in the country.

You can agree with me that choosing any of the culinary schools in Philadelphia is a big decision to make especially for high school students who are debating what their next move would be.

Culinary schools may open up new career opportunities to students, expose students to mentors and above all, students have the opportunity to benefit from the extensive network of culinarians.

However, it is very important that we state that the culinary schools in Philadelphia is not for everyone and therefore is such that requires investments of time and hard work. Read on as we list the different culinary schools in Philadelphia.

Culinary degrees in Philadelphia

One of the most important parts of starting your culinary program in any of the culinary schools in Philadelphia is deciding which type of degree you want to earn.

Most schools offer certificate programs which usually lasts a year or less, and then there are associate’s programs, which takes about two years to complete.

A Bachelor’s degree is the most thorough program, and it takes about four years of full-time study.

In the culinary schools in Philadelphia, there are different fields you will cover and they are:

  • The basic Kitchen skills
  • Chef duties
  • Food safety

These three parts are very important, however, food safety tends to be the most important part of any culinary program.

This part of your education covers food storage, food safety laws in Pennsylvania, and how food must be served.

Also, in addition to these areas, you might get a chance to take culinary elective courses that focuses on different cuisines, or you can take business courses that get you ready for restaurant ownership.

Employment options after graduation

Most people started searching for their first culinary job shortly before completing their program.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that 46% of chefs work in restaurants, therefore there is every possibility that you may find most of the job openings in restaurants.

However, there are several other opportunities to consider such as catering companies and private chef companies. These catering and private chef companies are always hiring skilled and educated chefs.

Apart from all that, there are self-employment opportunities for individuals who are business-minded.

That’s not all, chefs can equally decide to open their own restaurant or their own catering company.

The average cook’s salary

The average cook’s salary in Pennsylvania is $24,300 per year (O*Net, 2012). Chefs in Pennsylvania earn on average, $39,000 per year (O*Net, 2012).

Across the board, the outlook for culinary professionals is strong. Job growth rates in Pennsylvania are similar to national average job growth rates.

While O*Net does not predict a large change in job openings for chefs, cooks can anticipate a 12% increase in jobs (O*Net, 2010).

The degree types to look out for in the Culinary schools in Philadelphia

The scope of culinary employment is vast. Therefore to place yourself on the best path you have to refine your culinary dreams before launching.

Envision yourself working at your dream job and that will help you decide which degree to go for in the culinary schools in Philadelphia.

We shall look at:

  • Masters Degrees
  • Bachelor’s Degrees in Culinary Arts
  • Associates Degrees in Culinary Arts 
  • Diplomas or Certificates in Culinary Arts

Masters degree in Culinary arts

Maters Degree in Culinary Arts is for kitchen pros. Students train with top tier chefs. This degree is for those who are interested in going beyond the kitchen walls.

Hotel General Managers and Food and Beverage Directors, within corporate settings often hold such advanced degrees.

Bachelor’s Degrees in Culinary Arts

This degree is for those who want to step into entry-level hospitality management jobs. 

From the kitchen to the dining room, opportunities are plentiful for professionals who hold Bachelor’s degrees.

Associates Degrees in Culinary Arts 

This degree is based on a two-year curriculum and provides a general education foundation in culinary training alongside maths, English and communication skills.

Graduates can pursue chef work upon completion of the degree, or use it as a stepping stone to further education at the Bachelor’s Degree level.  

Diplomas or Certificates in Culinary Arts

This degree delivers culinary techniques and skills that are often focused on a particular area of the culinary arts.

The duration of study is usually one year or less, and graduates are issued a certificate of completion to illustrate their achievement.

General culinary certificates are designed to prepare you for entry-level employment in a commercial kitchen.

Furthermore, chefs take management courses that can help them to transition into restaurant ownership roles.

From all that, you must have seen that different career phases require that a chef expands his/her education.

The benefits of a culinary school

There are so many benefits of attending a culinary school, below are some of the benefits.

Study with professional instructors

Culinary schools expose students to multiple culinary instructors thereby exposing them to a variety of techniques and culinary styles.

Having access to these experienced culinary experts also provides opportunities for such things as mentorship to students.

Not only that, you also find out that in the culinary schools, students get the opportunity to build long-term relationships with their chef instructors who they can always reach out to from time to time for advice.

Great networking opportunities

Another thing culinary schools in Philadelphia will do for you is to expose you to like-minded fellow students.

These students can be future resources for job opportunities, moral support and further education.

Exposure to advanced techniques

While working in professional kitchens, you are exposed to a wider variety of skills, from basic knife skills and sanitation methods to more complex world cuisines and advanced cooking techniques.

Develop good kitchen habits

In the culinary schools in Philadelphia, you will be taught the importance of speed and that is why you see cooks trying to take shortcuts in order to move more quickly.

Therefore, students are taught these things from the onset and are expected to develop good habits and discipline from the beginning.

To be a successful cook, your organization and cleanliness are paramount together with good habits.

The disadvantages of a culinary school

There are challenges that come along with culinary schools and you should consider the following before applying.

Culinary schools require time

Not just culinary schools, education in general takes time. Getting a culinary degree may delay your chances of making big changes like getting a new job, taking a vacation or starting a new business.

Unlike the 4-year degree programs, culinary schools can issue diplomas to students in just 30 weeks while associate degrees might take as little as 60 weeks of instruction to be obtained.

Interestingly, if you do not attend a culinary school, those 30 or 60 weeks will still pass and you will end up not having the culinary skills that you would have had if you attended any of the culinary schools in Philadelphia.

Requires Finance

There are only a few cases where students find ample scholarships that can cover 100% of their costs. Therefore some level of financial investment will be required to attend.

Don’t forget that even after your investment there will be a financial return because most employers are willing to pay more for culinary school graduates.

Community and Technical Colleges for Culinary Arts, in Philadelphia

Community College of Philadelphia(Philadelphia,PA)

• Culinary Arts and Chef Training

• Culinary Arts• $8,640 Tuition Cost

• $750 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards

• Urban Campus Setting

Drexel University(Philadelphia,PA)

• Culinary Arts and Chef Training

• Culinary Arts• $36,893 Tuition Cost

• $15,227 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards

• Urban Campus Setting

Jna Institute of Culinary Arts(Philadelphia,PA)

• Culinary Food Preparation

• Culinary Arts

• $10,000 Tuition Cost

• $225 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards

• Urban Campus Setting

Star Career Academy – Philadelphia(Philadelphia,PA)

• Baking and Pastry Arts

• Culinary Food Preparation

• Culinary Arts

• $9,094 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards

• Urban Campus Setting

The Art Institute of Philadelphia(Philadelphia,PA)

• Baking and Pastry Arts

• Culinary Arts and Chef Training

• Culinary Arts

• $17,820 Tuition Cost

• $1,126 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards

• Urban Campus Setting

The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College(Philadelphia,PA)

• Baking and Pastry Arts

• Culinary Arts and Chef Training

• $19,050 Tuition Cost

• $1,850 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards

• Urban Campus Setting

The Walnut Hill College( Philadelphia, PA )

The Walnut Hill College provides learners with tailored programs that help them build successful careers in the culinary and hospitality industries.

Walnut Hill College
4207 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Other top colleges where you can go for your culinary arts education in Philadelphia include.

  • Montgomery County Community College
  • Delaware County Community College
  • Bucks County Community College
  • Delaware Valley University

I don’t want to attend a college

If you are interested in attending one of the culinary schools in Philadelphia but not a college, then you can consider the following culinary schools in Philadelphia.

Cozymeal Cooking Classes

Address: 325 Chestnut St 41 Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106, United States
Phone: +1 267-669-1422

La Cucina at the Market

1206 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: +1 215-922-1170


City Kitchen at the Reading Terminal Market

Address: 1136 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, United States
Phone: +1 267-534-4707


Wine School of Philadelphia

Address: 109 S 22nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19103, United States
Phone: +1 215-965-1514

Dumpling Academy

Address: 1017 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, United States
Phone: +1 267-213-6787

How to get a Food Preparation and Serving License

Upon graduation from any of the culinary schools, there are licenses that you will get and the food preparation and serving license is what you need to prepare and serve food in public in Philadelphia.

The Food License Application must be completed to serve, prepare, or distribute food within the City of Philadelphia.

You should apply for the Food License using this form and submit a single check or money order payable to the “City of Philadelphia” for the total fee amount.

The Health Department will determine which Food License(s) you require.

Health Department approval for all food licenses is a prerequisite to processing your Food License Application.

Please arrange for the Food Protection Unit to inspect your business operation and provide an eligibility report prior to completing the application.

A Health Department inspection can be requested by calling (215) 685-7495.

Your Food License Application cannot be processed until the License Eligibility Report is issued by the Health Department.

As a reminder, all business operations within the City of Philadelphia must have a valid Commercial Activity License prior to receiving any license from the Department.

You may need the license to operate a:

  • Restaurant.
  • Deli.
  • Catering company.
  • Bar.
  • Grocery store that makes sandwiches or serves beverages.

Non-profits that serve food free of charge need an Activity License Number. The license fee is waived in this case.

who needs this license?

Business owners and their agents can apply for this license.


Other licenses and registrations

Zoning approval

The location must have proper zoning approval and associated construction permits, if applicable.

To find zoning information, search the Zoning Map.

Tax compliance

The business must be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.

Where and when can you get the license?


You can apply online using eCLIPSE.

If you need help filing your application online, you can schedule a virtual appointment.

In person

You need an appointment to visit the Permit and License Center in person.

Permit and License Center
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
MSB, Public Service Concourse
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Office hours: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Offices close at noon on the last Wednesday of each month.

What is the cost of obtaining a license?

There are two categories:

(1) Small (up to 29 seats) license fee: $275

A non-refundable application fee of $20 is applied toward the license fee. The balance of the license fee is due once your application is approved.

(2) Large (30+ seats) license fee: $415

A non-refundable application fee of $20 is applied toward the license fee. The balance of the license fee is due once your application is approved.

Renewal late fee: If you renew your license more than 60 days after the due date, you will be charged 1.5% of the license fee for each month since the license expired.

Find out more..

Are culinary schools in Philadelphia worth it?

You might find the culinary schools in Philadelphia a bit tough if you are not used to kitchen practices but it is easier if you are humble, willing to learn and always asking questions.

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