6 Best Culinary Schools In California | Fees & Details

Enrolling in one of the recognized Culinary Schools In California is the best way to kickstart your journey to a culinary career. So, if your dreams have been to become a professional chef, sommelier, or restaurateur, then, this article is “a must-read” for you.

A piece of advice I have for you and any other person going into the restaurant niche or culinary schools is that you should read up on everything about food that you can come across, learn from professional chefs who have been in the industry, and even make use of online lessons like free online cooking courses with certificates to garner more knowledge.

As a food lover, enrolling in free online baking courses can help to broaden your knowledge in the culinary industry. The same applies when you take food safety courses to enable you to maintain proper food hygiene, and ensure good health.

Just like there are many culinary schools in Canada, California too has a wide range of culinary schools, baking schools, hospitality management, restaurant management, etc.

California no doubt is a sought-after spot in the culinary industry as there are many restaurants and food services in the state such as the Son of a Gun, Osteria Mozza, the French laundry, etc. with over 1.6 million jobs to enable graduates or those in the industry earn and live their dreams to the full.

Research according to the United States Census Bureau has that there are about 39.51 million people in California, comprising above average Asian and Hispanic populations to create room for cooking different types of cuisines and that by 2026, there will be about additional 172,000 jobs in California. This makes the career not just exciting but also promises the security of jobs.

There are about 65 programs you can choose from when you enroll in one of the culinary schools in California. As a matter of fact, choosing a school depends on what you want to study as there are four main program choices in California which includes the culinary arts, the chef training, culinary food preparation, and pastry & baking arts.

While culinary arts teach you everything about the restaurant field, chef training trains you specifically for executive chef roles in the restaurant. Culinary food is a general overview of plating and appearance of food and pastry & baking educate you on how the nitty-gritty of the desserts field.

The average tuition fee for culinary education in California is $4,248 and $1,640 is the average worth of scholarship award you can receive.

Now, there are some requirements needed for a culinary school. Though the requirements differ for each school, there are still the general or basic requirements most culinary schools if not all will ask of.

Below are some of them:

  • You must have completed your high school and be ready to present high school certificates, official transcripts, GED, HISET, high school equivalency documents, etc.
  • You must pay a non-refundable fee of $25. However, it is important to note that in some schools, it may be more or less and it may not also be required in some schools.
  • You must provide your reference letters with valid ID cards.
  • You must write and submit your essay
  • You must possess a study permit card or a student visa for international students.
  • Your score for proficiency tests such as IELTS or TOEFL for English, DELE for the Spanish language, DELF or DALF for the French, and DSH, OSD, TELF, and TestDAF for the German language must be submitted. Note too that not all culinary schools require this.

Having seen the general requirements for enrolling in a culinary school, let us now move to the culinary schools in California. But before that, let me answer one of the FAQs below.

Do All Culinary Schools In California Accept International Students?

This is an important question to ask when applying for a school as an international student. Yes, there are many culinary schools in California that accept international students as far as they met the general requirements stated above, and a few other things which may be required of them by the school.

Without further ado, let’s look at the various culinary schools in California with their requirements such as the tuition fee, program duration, admission requirements, etc. I advise you to follow through closely as I list and explain these schools.


Culinary Schools In California

Below is the list of the best culinary schools in California with their admission requirements, program duration, tuition fees, etc.

1.      Living Light Culinary Institute

Living Light Culinary Institute, located at Fort Bragg is one of the culinary schools in California which serves as a birthplace of raw gourmet cuisine and a leader in plant-based culinary arts.

The institute has a variety of programs designed to create a practical, fun, and life transforming experience for the students. It also helps the students to create healthier, more conscious cuisine without sacrificing taste, presentation, or the emotional satisfaction of food.

The practical programs are designed to meet the needs of the students whether they are novices in cooking or skilled cooks through a progressively complex set of culinary skills i.e., mastering knife technique and learning how to set up a healthy pantry to charting a menu and hosting a beautifully raw, plant-based gourmet event.

The students enhance their creativity, confidence, and expertise in the kitchen by engaging in the practical knowledge dished out by the institute through their programs.

The institute has different packages and their tuition fees differ too, however, the overview of the cost of each package can be seen here. In the same vein, the overview of the program schedule can be seen here.

The requirements for the program include:

  • You must bring your own chef knives, a 6-to-10-inch santoku or chef’s knife, and a small paring knife of 5 inches. All knives must be with a protective sheath or in a knife case.
  • Appropriate clothing which includes a chef’s coat and hat, and two bib-style aprons to keep your chef’s wear clean.
  • Closed-toed shoes for safety while standing, walking, or working in the kitchen.
  • Hair restraints such as hair ties, caps, chef hats, or other appropriate headwear to keep hair out of your face and the food.
  • A notepad, pen, and pencil for writing
  • Your living light recipe binder if you are a returning student.

To apply, use the link provided below

Click Here

2.      Diablo Valley College

Diablo Valley College, located at Pleasant Hill, is also one of the culinary schools in California that provides you with the skills and experience needed to become a chef, caterer, etc.

The institute gives in-depth training on restaurant management, culinary arts, baking, and pastry using their teaching lab, fully-equipped kitchen, retail pastry shop, and restaurant open to the public.

Students enrolled in the associate degree programs are given the opportunity to gain a professional experience in the culinary industry by giving them internships, likewise, those in culinary arts have the opportunity to work in the Norseman restaurant and the Express bar.

Both the Norseman restaurant and the Express bar are located on campus and are student-operated to give them a better working experience.

The duration of the program is two years, although some may require more than that, and the overview of the tuition fees can be seen here. Note that there is free tuition for the first-time college students

The requirements for the program include:

  • Social security number (it may not be required but is highly recommended)
  • DREAMers
  • You must provide all the necessary details about your high schools and previous colleges attended.
  • You must provide a valid email address for follow-up and communication.
  • You will choose an educational goal, which simply means what you want to achieve at DVC.

To apply, use the link provided below

Click Here

3.      City College Of San Francisco

City College Of San Francisco, located in San Francisco, is also among the culinary schools in California which serve as a home to the culinary arts and hospitality studies department.

Though the programs are rigorous, taking full five days a week, depending on your commitment to time and goals, you can earn a culinary art, food service, or hospital management associate degree. You can also earn a certificate in culinary arts and hospitality management, culinary and service skills training, baking and pastry, or culinary arts basic training.

The duration of the class is four semesters but if you already have a degree, instead of 8 hours of classes a day, you will be having 6 hours per day. The overview of the cost of the program can be seen here and the requirement of the program can be seen in the PDF format using this link, Click here

To apply, use the link provided below

Click Here

4.      College Of Canyons

College of Canyons, located in Santa Clarita, is also one of the culinary schools in California that equips students with the necessary skills and knowledge to be professionals in the restaurant industry.

The students who are passionate and willing to learn about food pass through the 34-unit program which focuses on cooking skills, kitchen-based problem solving, principles of baking, general food knowledge, culinary fundamentals, international cuisine, etc.

Upon completion, students are offered an associate degree in culinary arts and 3 certificates- a baking & pastry certificate, a culinary arts certificate, and a wine studies certificate.

The culinary arts program and the wine studies take three semesters to complete while the baking & pastry arts take two semesters to complete. The cost of tuition fee is $46 per unit with an estimated cost of $2000- $5000.

To apply, use the link provided below

Click Here

5.      Los Angeles Trade-Tech College

The Los Angeles Trade- Technical College, located in Los Angeles, is also one of the culinary schools in California that offers programs of study in culinary arts, professional baking, and restaurant management.

It gives the students the needed skills to build credentials for lifelong career success as they venture into the foodservice industry through their continual existence in culinary school in the state. It is accredited by the American culinary federation educational foundation accrediting commission (ACFEFAC) and those who graduate with an AA degree can apply for the first level of industry certification with the ACF.

There is the availability of commercial kitchens, on-campus restaurants, cafeterias, and catering services to further give a more practical approach to learning. Students also go on culinary competitions, field trips, seminars, etc.

The overview and duration of the class schedules can be seen here. The cost of the program is $1,218 and the overview of the program requirements can also be seen here

To apply, use the link provided below

Click Here

6.      Culinary Institute Of America At Greystone

The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone is among the culinary schools in California which gives students seeking a culinary or baking and pastry career, a home cook, a food and wine enthusiast, or an entrepreneur starting a new business the opportunity to learn all about culinary education.

The school offers programs that cut across wine and beverage studies, baking, and pastry arts with their professional kitchen labs and instruction in farm-to-table practices. There are also restaurants like the bakery café by illy and wine spectator Greystone restaurants managed by students to help them get more professional experiences.

Upon completion of the CIA programs, you will be able to immerse yourself in a world of food and wine in the heart of the napa valley, learn from chefs and professors with outstanding industry and education credentials, explore the Williams Center for Flavor Discovery, Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies, the Spice Islands Marketplace, Ghiradelli Chocolate Discovery Center, and Vintners Hall of Fame.

The overview of the tuition fees can be seen here, and the duration of the program differs according to the degree you signed up for.

The requirements for the program include

  • You must present all official transcripts and documents
  • You must write and submit an essay
  • You must have a recommendation

To apply, use the link provided below

Click Here

Culinary Schools In California- FAQs

These are the frequently asked questions about the culinary schools in California. I’ve selected a few and answered them.

How Many Culinary Schools Are In California?

There are 65 culinary schools in California that give top-notch culinary education.

What Is The Cost Of Culinary Schools In California?

The average cost of studying in the culinary schools in California is about $4,248 and there is also a scholarship worth $1,640 available.