Best 10 Culinary Schools in North Carolina

If you are interested in going to any of the top-rated culinary schools in North Carolina, you’ll want to look at the schools listed below. We have curated a list of some great North Carolina culinary and hospitality management programs for your review. 

The hospitality industry is one of the fastest-growing fields in the United States. This carries through in culinary professions as the demand for cooks keeps rising.

Culinary arts as a field of study refers to more than just cooking classes — it involves the art and practice of all aspects of food preparation, cooking, final presentation, and culinary management.

Taking training in culinary arts will prepare you for a wide variety of career paths in a dynamic and exciting culinary landscape. You will gain theoretical knowledge and practical applications that provide critical competencies to meet industry demands, including environmental stewardship, operational efficiencies, and professionalism.

Located on the East Coast, North Carolina is the 9th-most populous of the 50 United States. It is a culinary wonderland that brings together southern cuisine and East Coast styles of cooking, offering distinct and solid culinary opportunities for individuals who are interested in the food and hospitality industry.

With over 9.8 million residents here, the state also has an active tourism industry that brings in thousands of tourists every year. Most of them head for North Carolina’s major cities, including Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro. This is also where some of North Carolina’s best restaurants are. The highest-rated restaurants in North Carolina include Blue Moon Beach Grill, Kill Devil Grill, and Storie Street Grille.

Pasteries are other types of food that tourists like to try out when visiting a new city. If you would like to learn or perfect your baking skills, here is a useful resource you should check out. Don’t worry, it’s absolutely free.

North Carolina relies heavily on skilled, educated chefs, and this is clearly understandable considering the number of culinary schools in North Carolina which sums up to 22. These schools offer a variety of certificate and Associate’s degree programs on which the program duration depends.

If you would like to explore the culinary schools in other states, you can read our other articles featuring New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Louisiana.

To expand your options a notch, we have written articles on culinary schools beyond the United States, starting from the historic country of Italy, down to the United Kingdom, and also one more featuring the two major provinces of Canada.

How much does culinary school cost in North Carolina?

On average, the cost of culinary schools in North Carolina is $5,322, with scholarship awards that average up to $1,593.

Culinary Schools in North Carolina

Best 10 Culinary Schools in North Carolina

After thorough research, we have developed a list of the top 10 best culinary schools in North Carolina. Most of the schools included in this list are accredited by the American Culinary Federation and provide students with hands-on learning opportunities, practical work experiences, and expert industry instructors.

We did our best to include details such as the cost, duration, and admission requirements for each program. Let’s get into it.

1. Johnson & Wales University – College of Culinary Arts, Charlotte

The Johnson & Wales University was ranked top 10 culinary schools in America and therefore has qualified itself as one of the best culinary schools in North Carolina.

The Johnson & Wales University Charlotte campus offers multiple degree programs in culinary arts including an Associate in Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree in Culinary Arts and Food & Beverage Industry Management.

In the Culinary Arts and Food & Beverage Industry Management BS degree program, students will hone their culinary expertise while developing the business, managerial, and critical thinking skills they will need to succeed.

The Culinary Arts associate in applied science (A.A.S.) degree program offers an alternative fast-track route to becoming an industry chef. Students will not only learn the craft and art of cooking, but also business and management skills, science and nutrition, and global citizenship.

Duration of Programs: 4 years and 2 years for B.S and A.A.S respectively.

Admission Requirements

  • Completed application
  • High school transcripts or Home School Verification (PDF) (if applicable)
  • College transcripts if applying for transfer credits
  • Johnson & Wales is test-optional but encourages submission of all test scores

Non-U.S. Citizens’ Requirements (in addition to requirements above)

  • Proof of English proficiency
  • Completed and signed International Student Financial Declaration Form
  • Certified bank statement or government sponsorship letter verifying financial support for one academic year
  • Copy of biographical section of your valid passport
  • Non-U.S. students transferring to JWU from another U.S. post-secondary institution must submit a Transfer Verification Form

Cost: $35,750/semester; $71,500/year

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2. Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Asheville

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College is one of the top culinary schools in North Carolina offering programs accredited by the American Culinary Federation.

The college has a solid industry reputation with the Culinary Team ranking 2nd in the country in 2013, a 2012 graduate named the Best Young Chef in the World in 2012, and in 2007 winning the American Culinary Federation Student Culinary Competition.

If you are looking for the best learning experience, this is it for you. Here, you will receive a hands-on education with access to five state-of-the-art kitchen labs with modern equipment, get to learn directly from expert chefs in the industry, and also build internship relationships with some of the finest restaurants, country clubs, and hotels in the Southeast.

Program Duration:

  • A.A.S degree in Culinary Arts – 4 semesters or 2 years
  • Certificate Program – 2 semesters

Cost of Tuition: $1,216 (Residents) and $4,288 (Non-residents) for 16+ credit hours at $76/credit hour (1-15 hours) per Semester. Other fees are applicable.

Note: A.A.S requires 71-course credits while the certificate course requires 18-course credits per hour each.

Admission Requirements: General college admission requirements must be met. You can find more details about it below.

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3. Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte

Ranking 14 on Best Choice Schools’ (BCS) list of “Top 20 Best Culinary Schools on the East Coast,” Central Piedmont boasts one of the top culinary schools in North Carolina. Its culinary arts program happens to be the only program in Charlotte that is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC).

It offers an Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts and several culinary arts certificates. Students can earn these certificates on their way to earning their AAS Degree. You can explore the specialized certificate options for more details.

Duration:

  • A.A.S degree in Culinary Arts – 4 semesters or 2 years
  • Certificate program: 2 semesters

Admission Requirements:

  • Complete an admissions application to Central Piedmont.
  • Submit an official high school diploma as well as college transcripts to the Admissions, Records & Registration.
  • Complete all necessary developmental studies courses before beginning CUL, HRM, and BPA prefix courses.
  • Consult with an academic advisor regarding course placement after placement testing.
  • Consult with Culinary Arts Program Chair by calling 704.330.6341 before course registration.
  • Many courses have prerequisites or co-requisites; check the Courses section for details.
  • Students must have a CUL, HRM, or BPA program code.

Cost: $1,216 (Residents) and $4,288 (Non-residents) for 16+ credit hours at $76/credit hour per Semester. In addition to Central Piedmont tuition and fees, culinary arts students will need to purchase a uniform (price not specified) and culinary art tool kit which is approximately $450.

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4. Carteret Community College, Morehead City

Carteret Community College is also among the best Culinary schools in North Carolina with its degree and certificate programs designed to provide specific training required to prepare students for professional jobs in restaurants and other facets of the culinary industry.

Those who choose to pursue a full degree will complete classes in menu preparation, classical cuisines, and human resource management, among other things. Internships are also among the learning opportunities included in the curriculum.

Program Duration:

  • A.A.S degree in Culinary Arts – 4 semesters or 2 years
  • Certificate program: 2 semesters

Cost: $1,216 (Residents) and $4,288 (Non-residents) for 16+ credit hours at $76/credit hour per Semester.

For admission requirements and other details, visit the school website through the link provided below.

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5. Guilford Technical Community College, Jamestown

Having received exemplary status by the American Culinary Federation, Guilford Technical Community College still maintains its rank as one of the leading culinary schools in North Carolina.

It offers different culinary programs that cover courses in culinary skills, nutrition, food and beverage services, and baking. The programs feature a good blend of theoretical and practical learning.

Students will have the opportunity to intern in the industry and also show off the skills and knowledge they learn by earning a place on one of GTCC’s award-winning, Knowledge Bowl, Ice Carving, and/or SkillsUSA teams.

Duration

  • A.A.S Degree – 5 Semesters
  • Diploma Degree – 3 Semesters
  • Certificate program – 2 Semesters

Cost: $1,216 (Residents) and $4,288 (Non-residents) for 16+ credit hours at $76/credit hour per Semester.

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6. Cape Fear Community College, Wilmington

Cape Fear Community College has earned itself a rank among the best schools in North Carolina. Its culinary programs feature degrees in diplomas, an associate of applied sciences, and basic certificates.

The programs are designed to equip students with specific skills needed to thrive in the industry. Students get a lot of hands-on practice in the kitchen as they learn from experienced instructors. Potential coursework includes Farm-to-Table, Wine Appreciation, and Global Cuisines, to name a few. Students also have three opportunities for work-based learning experiences. 

Program Duration:

  • Basic Certificate in Culinary Arts – 2 semesters
  • BS in Culinary Arts – 4 Years
  • A.A.S in Culinary Arts – 5 Semesters

Cost: $1,216 (Residents) and $4,288 (Non-residents) for 16+ credit hours at $76/credit hour per Semester.

For details about admission requirements, visit the school website below.

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7. Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute, Boone and Hudson

One of the outstanding culinary schools in North Carolina is Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute which offers an associate’s degree in culinary arts and a diploma in mobile catering and food truck management. Both culinary programs are available on campuses in Boone and Hudson.

The programs cover fundamentals like food prep and sanitation, and exciting stuff like desserts. Practical experiences are also included in the programs to ensure students are equipped all around by the time they graduate.

Program Duration: A.A.S degree – Four semesters (2 years)

Cost information, as well as admission requirements, can be found through the link below

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8. Central Carolina Community College, Sanford

As one of the best Culinary schools in North Carolina, Central Carolina Community College features exciting culinary arts programs for those looking for a program focused on sustainable practices as well as many Culinary Arts Continuing Education Classes.

As a culinary arts student in this institution, you will receive individualized attention and communication from instructors given to their low student/faculty ratio of 10:1.

Articulation with Johnson and Wales University is available upon successful completion for those who are interested in a B.S. degree. With our training and job experience, graduates may advance to positions such as sous chef, executive chef, or food service manager. Menu selections may include gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian dishes.

Program Duration:

  •  Culinary Fundamentals Certificate – 2 semesters
  • A.A.S in Culinary Arts – 4 Semesters

Cost information, as well as admission requirements, can be found through the link below.

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9. Wake Technical Community College, Raleigh

Wake Technical College is one of the top accredited culinary schools in North Carolina with its programs accredited by the American Culinary Federation and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

With one of the lowest student-faculty ratios among culinary schools, Wake Tech students receive individualized attention in lab courses that have a ratio of 12:1.

Entry-level courses start each semester, therefore students have the opportunity to begin the program at any time. The college also offers daytime and evening classes to fit busy schedules, and students get to learn from instructors who are experienced professionals in the field both culinary experts and educators.

Program Duration:

  • Associate in Applied Science – 4 semesters
  • Diploma – 3 semesters
  • Certificates – 2 semesters

Cost information, as well as admission requirements, can be found through the link below.

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10. Lenoir Community College, Kinston

Last but certainly not the least among the culinary schools in North Carolina is Lenoir Community College in Kinston. This college offers different culinary arts programs including an Associate in Applied Science Degree with a mission to promote student success by providing a culinary education with a management component that emphasizes culinary fundamentals that will build culinary skill, knowledge, self-confidence, and pride.

Graduates will gain the experience and knowledge that will lead to professional culinary careers.

Program Duration:

  • Associate in Applied Science – 5 semesters
  • Diploma – 3 semesters
  • Certificates – 2 semesters

Cost information, as well as admission requirements, can be found through the link below.

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