Nearly 481,900 individuals in North Carolina are employed in the culinary sector, which accounts for about 11% of all jobs in the state. By 2029, the growing food service industry is expected to add 64,100 new jobs, which is an increase of 13.3%.
Those who want to work in the field must make sure they have the skills they need to reach their goals. Those aspirations might come true with a certificate or degree from a prestigious culinary school.
You should consider the institutions listed below if you’re interested in attending one of North Carolina’s top culinary schools. For your consideration, we’ve put together a selection of outstanding culinary and hotel management programs in North Carolina.
One of the American industries with the quickest growth is the hospitality sector. This is also true of careers in the culinary arts, where there is a growing need for cooks.
More than just cooking classes, the study of culinary arts encompasses the art and practice of all facets of food preparation, cooking, final presentation, and culinary administration.
Learning the culinary arts will prepare you for a wide range of employment options in the vibrant and dynamic world of food. You will acquire the theoretical knowledge and practical skills necessary to meet industry demands for professionalism, operational efficiency, and environmental stewardship.
North Carolina, which located on the East Coast, has the ninth-highest population among the 50 states. It is a culinary wonderland that combines southern cooking with East Coast cooking techniques, providing distinctive and reliable culinary prospects for anyone interested in the food and hospitality industries.
The state, which has a population of over 9.8 million, also boasts a thriving tourism economy that draws in thousands of visitors each year. The vast majority of them travel to North Carolina’s largest cities, such as Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro. Additionally, some of North Carolina’s top eateries are located here. North Carolina’s top-rated eateries are Blue Moon Beach Grill, Kill Devil Grill, and Storie Street Grille.
When visiting a new city, travelers also like trying out the local pastries. This is a good site to look at if you want to learn how to bake or hone your existing talents. Rest assured that everything is completely free.
Given that there are 22 culinary schools in North Carolina, the state’s reliance on knowledgeable chefs is entirely understandable. The length of the certificate and Associate’s degree programs offered by these institutions varies.
Read our previous posts about the culinary programs offered in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Louisiana if you’d want to learn more about the culinary programs offered in other states.
To broaden your possibilities even further, we’ve created articles on culinary programs outside of the United States, starting with the storied nation of Italy and continuing through the United Kingdom and another piece highlighting the two major Canadian provinces.
The top 10 culinary schools in North Carolina are listed below. According to our study, we only included schools on our list that offer students opportunities for hands-on learning, real-world work experience, knowledgeable professors, and a good reputation in the industry. The American Culinary Federation has accredited several of the institutions on our list, and some of the programs have received exceptional status, which denotes high academic standards.
1. Johnson & Wales University – College of Culinary Arts, Charlotte
One of the top culinary schools in North Carolina is Johnson & Wales University, which was named one of the top 10 culinary schools in the nation.
Numerous degree programs in culinary arts are available at the Johnson & Wales University Charlotte campus, including an Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts and Food & Beverage Industry Management.
Students will hone their culinary skills in the Culinary Arts and Food & Beverage Industry Management BS degree program while acquiring the managerial, business, and critical thinking abilities they will need to thrive.
The associate in applied science (A.A.S.) degree program in culinary arts provides an alternate fast-track path to becoming a professional chef. Along with the science and art of cooking, students will also study about nutrition, business and management, and global citizenship.
2. Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Asheville
The American Culinary Federation has recognized Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College as one of the best culinary schools in North Carolina because it offers a number of programs that have been given their seal of approval.
The college has a strong reputation in the industry due to the fact that its Culinary Team finished in second place in the country in 2013, one of its graduates was named the Best Young Chef in the World in 2012, and in 2007, the college took first place in the American Culinary Federation Student Culinary Competition.
This is the opportunity for you to have the most successful educational experience possible. You will have the opportunity to learn directly from renowned chefs in the field, as well as build internship relationships with some of the most prestigious restaurants, country clubs, and hotels in the Southeast while attending this institution. In addition, you will have access to five modern kitchen labs that are outfitted with cutting-edge technology.
3. Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte
One of the best culinary schools in North Carolina can be found at Central Piedmont Community College, which holds the 14th spot on the list of the “Top 20 Best Culinary Schools on the East Coast” compiled by Best Choice Schools (BCS). It is noteworthy that the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission has granted accreditation to only this institution’s program in the city of Charlotte for the field of culinary arts (ACFEFAC).
In addition to a number of culinary arts certificates, it provides students with the opportunity to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts. Students have the opportunity to obtain these certifications while working toward the attainment of their AAS degree. You can learn more about the many alternatives for specialty certificates by looking into them.
4. Carteret Community College, Morehead City
Because of the degree and certificate programs it offers, Carteret Community College is also considered to be one of the best culinary schools in the state of North Carolina. These degree and certificate programs are designed to provide students with the specific training that is necessary to prepare them for professional jobs in restaurants and other aspects of the culinary industry.
Those individuals who decide to pursue a full degree will, among other things, be required to finish coursework in the areas of menu preparation, traditional cuisines, and human resource management. In addition to classroom instruction, the curriculum may also incorporate practical training in the form of internships.
5. Guilford Technical Community College, Jamestown
Guilford Technical Community College continues to hold its position as one of the most prestigious culinary schools in the state of North Carolina, in spite of having been awarded the exceptional status by the American Culinary Federation.
It provides a variety of programs for those interested in the culinary arts, including classes in baking, nutrition, food and beverage services, and culinary skills. The courses provide a balanced education in both the theoretical and practical aspects of their subjects.
Students will have the option to participate in an internship within the industry. In addition, students will be able to demonstrate the abilities and information they acquire by competing for a spot on one of GTCC’s award-winning teams in the Knowledge Bowl, Ice Carving, or SkillsUSA.
6. Cape Fear Community College, Wilmington
The Cape Fear Community College now has a place among the state of North Carolina’s most prestigious educational institutions. The academic credentials offered by its culinary programs include certifications, diplomas, and associate’s degrees in applied sciences.
Students will graduate with the exact set of abilities necessary to be successful in the sector thanks to the programs that are offered. In addition to receiving instruction from seasoned professionals, students have enough opportunities to gain practical experience in the classroom kitchen. Among the possible subjects for academic study are “Farm-to-Table” cooking, “Wine Appreciation,” and “Global Cuisines,” to name just a few. Additionally, students have the opportunity to participate in three different work-based learning activities.
7. Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute, Boone and Hudson
Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute is one of the best culinary schools in North Carolina. They offer an associate’s degree in culinary arts as well as a certificate in mobile catering and food truck management. Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute is located in Caldwell County. Both of these distinct culinary programs can be pursued at the campuses located in Boone and Hudson.
The workshops educate students on both fundamentals like food preparation and hygiene as well as more interesting topics like desserts. In order to ensure that students are prepared in all areas by the time they graduate from the programs, practical experiences are also incorporated into the curriculum.
8. Central Carolina Community College, Sanford
Central Carolina Community College is recognized as one of the top culinary schools in the state of North Carolina. The college offers a wide variety of exciting culinary arts programs, including one that is concentrated on environmentally responsible practices, as well as many culinary arts continuing education classes.
Due to the low student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1, this educational establishment will provide you with individualized attention and open contact from teachers if you choose to major in culinary arts there.
Upon successful completion, students who are interested in pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree will have the opportunity to articulate with Johnson and Wales University. Graduates have the opportunity to advance their careers to positions such as sous chef, executive chef, or manager of food service if they have the necessary training and work experience. Dishes that are gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian may be available as selections on the menu.
9. Wake Technical Community College, Raleigh
The American Culinary Federation as well as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools have both given the programs at Wake Technical College their seal of approval, making it one of the most prestigious culinary schools in the state of North Carolina.
Students at Wake Tech, which has one of the lowest student-to-faculty ratios among culinary schools, are given specialized attention in lab classes that have a ratio of 12:1, which is the industry standard.
Because there is a new cohort of students beginning the program at the beginning of each semester, students have the option to start the program whenever they like. In order to accommodate students with hectic schedules, the college provides daytime and evening programs. Additionally, students have the opportunity to study from instructors who are both experienced professionals in the field of culinary arts and educators.
10. Lenoir Community College, Kinston
Kinston’s Lenoir Community College is the state’s final but surely not the least of its kind when it comes to educational opportunities in the culinary arts. This college offers a variety of programs in the field of culinary arts, including an Associate of Applied Science Degree. The college’s mission is 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 have the opportunity to receive the expertise and knowledge necessary to launch successful careers in the culinary industry.