If you’re passionate about food and cooking, Florida is the place for you.
Home to some of the most famous restaurants in the world, including the exclusive clubs in Palm Beach and Miami, Florida is also home to some of the best culinary schools in the country.
Florida’s beautiful beaches are a draw for visitors from all over the world, and they also serve as inspiration for the chefs who cook for the many visitors to the state.
In Florida, you can find everything from fine dining establishments to roadside barbecue joints, giving you the opportunity to learn every aspect of the culinary arts.
Also, in Florida, you can find a culinary school that will fit your budget and your needs.
Some of the best culinary schools in Florida are private, but there are also many excellent options in the state university system.
These schools offer everything from a certificate program to a four-year degree, giving you many options to learn and grow in the culinary arts.
Here are our picks for the best culinary schools in Florida.
Keiser University - Fort Lauderdale
Keiser University is a private, not-for-profit university with multiple campuses across Florida and the United States.
Keiser University's International School of Culinary Arts has an intensive, year-long program that gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and earn a Professional Diploma in Culinary Arts.
The program consists of four months of classroom instruction followed by two months of internship and placement in a professional kitchen.
Courses cover the basics, such as knife skills, but also go in-depth, covering topics such as food science, nutrition, and menu development.
Students gain experience in the kitchen at the school's demonstration kitchen and culinary studio, which has professional equipment and a full commercial kitchen.
This facility also has a cafe where students can showcase their skills to family, friends, and potential employers.
Keiser University's campus in Fort Lauderdale is home to many industry-leading facilities, including the 2,300-square-foot Carole & Barry Kay Center for Autism Education & Advocacy.
University of Central Florida
Established in 1963, the School of Hospitality and Restaurant Management at the University of Central Florida has been one of the state's leading educational institutions for over 50 years.
Housed within the College of Sciences and the College of Business at UCF, the School of Hospitality and Restaurant Management offers three different bachelor's degrees in hospitality management.
Students can choose from a general bachelor's in hospitality management, a bachelor's in restaurant management, or a international hospitality management degree.
Additionally, the School of Hospitality and Restaurant Management provides a number of excellent graduate programs, including a master's in business administration in hospitality management and a master of science in food and nutrition sciences.
Every year, the School of Hospitality and Restaurant Management graduates hundreds of students with highly sought-after degrees, ready to enter the workforce as highly qualified and charismatic professionals in the hospitality industry.
The School of Hospitality and Restaurant Management is a part of the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, an organization of the top practitioners and scholars in the field. Graduates of the School of Hospitality and Restaurant Management are invited to become part of the organization as well.
Gulf Coast State College
If you want to learn how to create beautiful dishes and become part of a vibrant culinary community, then Gulf Coast State College is the place for you.
Part of the Florida College System, GCCS has worked with some of the best chefs in the state, including James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Sichel, to establish a network of students, farmers, and foodmakers who share a love of good food.
Students at GCCS can take courses in the culinary arts certificate and degree programs to gain the technical skills needed to work in restaurants and kitchens across the state.
In the culinary arts certificate program, students gain hands-on experience in cooking, baking, and foodservice operations, as well as business and marketing skills.
Courses include Introduction to the Hospitality Industry, Career Exploration, and Professional Cooking I & II. The program culminates in a final capstone project, in which students put their new skills to work in a real-world setting.
GCCS also offers a culinary arts degree program, so students can learn not only the technical skills but also the business side of the industry.
In this program, students take core classes in the first two years, including Foods & Culture, Introduction to Culinary Arts, and Professional Cooking II. In the third and fourth years, students take courses focused on specific areas of the industry, including Foodservice Supervision and Management and International Foods & Culture.
Valencia College is one of the largest colleges in the United States, enrolling over 100,000 students annually. It was founded in 1971 and is a public institution located in Orlando, Florida.
Valencia College is home to several programs in the culinary arts, allowing students to choose between an associate in arts degree or an associate in science degree.
Students in the culinary arts associate degree program spend about half of their time in the classroom learning core culinary arts and foodservice management subjects. The other half of the program is spent working in the school's kitchens, gaining hands-on experience.
Courses include advanced food production, professional baking & pastry arts, and management of foodservice operations. Students also have the opportunity to earn certifications in the National Restaurant Association's ServSafe food handler safety certification and the American Culinary Federation's Professional Certification.
Students in the culinary arts associate in science degree are immersed in a learning-by-doing environment where they learn the fundamentals of baking and pastry arts, as well as the business of foodservice.
Courses include professional baking & pastry arts, fundamentals of foodservice, and foodservice management. Students also have the opportunity to earn certifications in the National Restaurant Association's ServSafe food handler safety certification and the American Culinary Federation's Professional Certification.
Daytona State College
Daytona State College has a couple of culinary arts programs to choose from.
In the associate degree program, students can expect to spend about two years learning the basics of the profession, including a couple of months in the kitchen and the rest in classroom instruction.
In the college's online associate degree in culinary arts, students have the option to select modules, which are like classes, individually or as a group, to meet their schedule.
Both programs culminate in a final project, in which students put their new skills to use in a professional kitchen.
Students also have the option to earn a certificate in commercial cooking, which takes about six months to complete. The program focuses on the skills needed to work in a commercial kitchen, such as a restaurant or hotel.
Daytona State College is located in the heart of the Daytona Beach area, which is home to some of the best restaurants in the state.
Florida State College at Jacksonville
The culinary program at Florida State College at Jacksonville is one of the most respected in the country.
One aspect of their program that sets FSCJ apart is their commitment to in-class, hands-on learning.
All culinary students spend their first semester in the classroom, learning the basics of cooking and baking.
They then move on to five months of in-house training, gaining experience in professional kitchens at the school's two on-campus kitchens, the Community Education and Culinary Arts Training Center.
The Center features two commercial-grade kitchens and a full commercial delivery and service restaurant, the School Café, which is open to the public.
Students gain experience working in the café, taking orders, preparing food, and cleaning dishes and equipment.
They also have the chance to perform management and leadership roles in the Center and Café, thanks to the training they receive in the program.
The school also offers a culinary arts associate degree and a baking and pastry arts associate degree.
Indian River State College
Where do you want to study? In a bustling city? In a peaceful rural area? Or perhaps by the ocean?
If your answer is somewhere near the beautiful waters of the Atlantic Ocean, then Indian River State College is the place for you.
Located in Fort Pierce, IRCC is a mere 15 miles from the beautiful Atlantic Ocean and Fort Pierce Beach.
Whether you're looking for a relaxing day at the beach or an adventurous day sailing the waves, IRCC has a spot for you.
With a student population of over 11,000, Fort Pierce is a perfect place to practice the culinary arts.
With so many people around you, you'll have plenty of people to practice cooking for and to sample your delights with.
Furthermore, IRCC is in a prime location for those who want to learn the culinary arts to start their own businesses. With the Atlantic Ocean nearby and so many people around you, you have all the tools you need to launch a successful seafood business.
Miami Dade College
With its main campus located in a city full of vibrant cultures and cuisines, Miami Dade College might be the perfect choice for culinary students looking to dive right into the action.
At MDC, students can take up to 36 credits in the culinary arts program, which includes core classes in food preparation, management, and marketing along with optional classes in international cuisine, baking and pastry, and menu development.
The school also offers a culinary arts certificate program, which gives students the opportunity to study at the Miami Culinary Institute for a shorter period of time. With this certificate, students can either return to MDC or go right into a job at one of the many local restaurants that use the school's curriculum as a hiring certification.
With such a robust curriculum, it's no wonder that the school has seen so much success in placing students in jobs. In 2019, the school placed over 100 students in jobs at places such as the Hilton Palm Beach, the Ritz-Carlton, and the JW Marriott Miami.
With so many options for study and experience, it's no wonder that the school has won awards for its culinary program, including a 2019 Bronze Medal for Overall Student Satisfaction from College Ratings Inc. and a 2019 Bronze Medal for Overall Student Satisfaction from College Rankings Inc.
Broward College, a public two-year college located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, offers a unique culinary arts program. Rather than offering a full-fledged, traditional culinary arts program, Broward College instead offers a fast-track culinary arts certificate that can be completed in just one year.
This intensive program trains students in the basics of cooking and prepares them for a career in the food service industry.
Students learn fundamental cooking skills in the college's professional kitchen, then apply those skills in a real-world setting during their final internship.
During their internship, students put their new skills to work at a local restaurant, working alongside professional chefs. They perform tasks such as preparing food, cleaning dishes and equipment, and interacting with customers.
Upon graduation, students receive a Certificate of Completion in Culinary Arts, along with an official seal of approval from the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
This accreditation, combined with the college's unique, fast-track approach to culinary education, makes Broward College a perfect choice for anyone looking to break into the culinary field.
Hillsborough Community College
Located in Tampa, Hillsborough Community College is one of the best schools in the state when it comes to preparing students for a career in the culinary arts.
HCC's associate degree in culinary arts provides students with a solid foundation in the basics, including cooking, baking and food processing, as well as a range of more specialized areas, such as management, marketing, and foodservice operations.
Through their coursework and internship opportunities, students gain hands-on experience that prepares them for a career in the industry.
HCC's nationally recognized programs have won awards from the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation and the Food Service Industry Association.
The school's state-of-the-art kitchen facilities and professional-grade equipment, including commercial convection ovens, mixers, processors, and griddles, ensure that students get to practice their trade using the same equipment that industry professionals use every day.
In addition to the regular classes it offers, HCC also provides a number of culinary classes that students can take as part of their community education program or in preparation for their A.S. degree.