Go to School to Become a Chef Amid Atlanta’s Hot Food Scene

Atlanta, with its legendary reputation for southern cooking, is host to several cooking schools that offer college degrees in the culinary arts. The city has grown considerably since its nostalgic days as a Southern hospitality icon and is competitive in providing training in the preparation of world class international cuisine and the management of food service businesses.

Over the last two decades Atlanta has grown by leaps and bounds and now ranks among the top metro areas in the country. Rich in southern history—think “Gone with the Wind”—and with an increasingly recognizable city skyline, Hotlanta features some of the Southland’s best restaurants and master chefs. The demand for pro chefs and food industry professionals is also driven by the growth in tourism and the convention business.

If your passion for food spills outside a simple zeal for fresh food, check out the culinary arts programs available from career schools right in downtown Atlanta. Find out how to train to become a chef, pastry baker or restaurant manager.

Atlanta Food Scene for Budding Chefs

The fabric of food is rich in the south, and thanks to Atlanta’s top restaurants and chefs you have the opportunity to enjoy some of the most innovative contemporary and classic American dishes served up in a diverse and exciting cityscape. Atlanta metro areas and neighborhoods such as Buckhead, Decatur, Midtown and Downtown all feature award-winning restaurants with top chefs and chef-owners.

Popular Atlanta cuisines include Pan-Asian, contemporary American, seafood/steakhouse, Italian, Cuban/Latin, burger and fries, and range in price from cheap to very expensive.

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts of Atlanta

The Le Cordon Bleu curriculum is closely allied with the traditional Le Cordon Bleu Academy in France. This top-notch culinary program is featured in various schools across the country and attracts serious cooking students committed to an elite career in the restaurant business. Graduates go to work in leading kitchens around the country. Choose from Associates and Certificate programs in Culinary Arts and Patisserie and Baking.

The reputation of Le Cordon Bleu stretches back for over a century and crosses the ocean to find its roots in France. The Atlanta campus for this culinary arts school was established in 2003 as a branch of the Portland, Oregon, Le Cordon Bleu College. It offers an intense and focused program centered on classic European traditions, but also gives the student a taste of American and international cooking. It is known for its award winning pastries.

The Atlanta campus offers three levels of training.

  • Certificate in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts
  • Certificate in Pâtisserie and Baking Program
  • Associate of Occupational Science Degree

The certificate program is designed to get students into the workforce and emphasizes hands-on training in a kitchen setting. The Pâtisserie and Baking Program goes into depth with bread production, chocolate and sugar creations, and classic European pastries. For students who wish to make first-class cuisine their profession, the degree program covers a wider-ranging course of study. Credits earned from the associate program can be applied to a Bachelor of Arts in the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Management Online Program.

Le Cordon Bleu Atlanta is a commuter school, so student life centers largely on the training. There are a few student clubs and students are encouraged to explore the historical and cultural options that Atlanta has to offer. Le Cordon Bleu's Associate of Occupational Science Degree in Culinary Arts is accredited by the American Culinary Federation, Inc., Accrediting Commission.

School address:
Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta, Georgia
1927 Lakeside Parkway
Tucker, GA 30084

International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Atlanta

Also located in a couple dozen locations across the country, this popular culinary arts program consistently graduates talented and skilled new and experienced chefs and restaurant managers. Train with successful pro chefs in hands-on programs that give you the opportunity to hone your skills in real world kitchens. You’ll learn about the various international cuisines, how to buy ingredients, create innovative menus, manage a cooking staff in a working kitchen, pair ingredients, cut and portion your own meats and seafood and much more. The Atlanta International Culinary Schools offers the following degree programs: Associates, Bachelors and Diplomas in Culinary Arts, Culinary Arts Skills, Baking and Pastry, Culinary Arts Management, Food and Beverage Management, and Wine, Spirits and Beverage Management.

The Art Institute of Atlanta has been around for sixty years but its culinary arts program, affiliated with International Culinary Schools, offers students the latest in industry related technology. In addition to plenty of hands-on training that one would expect from a good cooking school, the Art Institute also has an extensive student support program of counseling, faculty advising, tutoring, financial aid planning services, and an internship program.

The Atlanta campus offers three levels of training: diploma programs, associate degrees, and bachelor degrees. The diploma programs and most of the coursework for the college degrees are done on campus, however online options are available for some classes.

Seven different courses are offered at Atlanta's International Culinary School.

Diploma programs in Culinary Arts

  • Baking & Pastry
  • Culinary Skills

Associate in Arts degrees in Culinary Arts

  • Culinary Arts
  • Culinary Arts with a concentration in Baking & Pastry
  • Wine, Spirits & Beverage Management

Bachelor of Science degrees

  • Culinary Arts Management-
  • Food & Beverage Management

The culinary school employs an international approach in the curriculum. A typical associate degree program would have classes in classical techniques, baking and pastry, Latin, American, European and Asian cuisine, planning, purchasing, management and dining room operations, computer applications and nutrition. The bachelor's degree classes expand upon business practices, marketing, leadership skills and foodservice management.

Classes are taught by professional, industry-experienced faculty members and are small enough that a student is able to receive individualized attention from the instructor. A resource center houses a library and computer lab for expanded research opportunity.

The culinary school has housing options for those who wish to live near campus and parking for commuters. Student life activities are organized for both networking and socializing. The Art Institute of Atlanta is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The culinary programs are accredited by the American Culinary Federation Foundation, Inc. Accrediting Commission.

School address:
International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Atlanta
6600 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30328

Culinary Institute at Chattahoochee Technical College

Chattahoochee Technical College is part of the Georgia State Technical College System. The Culinary Arts Associate of Applied Science degree is offered only at the Mountain View campus just north of Atlanta. The program is designed to combine culinary theory and practical application.

The program offers an associate degree, a diploma, and four certificates.

  • Culinary Arts Associate of Applied Science Degree
  • Culinary Arts Diploma
  • Assistant Food Service Purchasing Agent Certificate
  • Catering Specialist Certificate
  • Culinary Arts Line Cook Certificate
  • Prep Cook Certificate

The associate degree requires 109 hours of credit and can be completed in six quarters. Clubs, athletics, and a lecture series enhance the student life at this commuter school. Chattahoochee Tech is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The Culinary Arts Program has additional accreditation by the American Culinary Federation.

School address:
Culinary Institute at Chattahoochee Technical College
2680 Gordy Pkwy
Marietta, GA 30066

Non-accredited Cooking Schools in Atlanta


The Atlanta metro area is home to several other cooking schools that, while they do not offer college degrees, do offer a high standard of training to fill a specialty niche.

The International Sugar Art Collection School of Sugar Art

The School of Sugar Art was founded by Nicholas Lodge in 1999. Classes are scheduled throughout the year, usually as two-day seminars. The sugar art and cake designs are so fantastic that they attract students from around the world. More information is available at his website, www.nicholaslodge.com

School address:
The International Sugar Art Collection School of Sugar Art
Jimmy Carter Boulevard
Norcross GA

Ursula's Cooking School

Ursula's Cooking School caters to students who are looking for a short course in traditional Southern cooking. Founded in 1971, four classes are taught over an eight-week session. The website is www.ursulacooks.com

School address:
Ursula's Cooking School, Inc.
1764 Cheshire Bridge Road,
Atlanta, Georgia 30324

Young Chefs Academy

Young Chefs Academy is one of the few cooking schools that accepts young children and teens. Young Chefs' lessons include life skills in kitchen safety and manners as well as cooking. See www.youngchefsacademy.com

School address:
Young Chefs Academy of Sandy Springs
220 Hammond Drive - Suite 368
Sandy Springs, GA 30328


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