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

Atlanta Skyline.

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.

Local Community Schools

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

Atlanta Technical College

Offers an award winning Culinary Arts diploma program that prepares aspiring chefs and foods service professionals for the culinary profession. The Culinary Arts program emphasizes a combination of culinary theory and practical application necessary for successful employment. The Culinary Arts program at Atlanta Technical College is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation’s Accrediting Commission.

Atlanta Technical College
1560 Metropolitan Pkwy SW
Atlanta, GA

Southern Crescent Technical College

The Culinary Arts degree program is a sequence of courses that prepares students for the culinary profession. Learning opportunities develop academic, occupational, and professional knowledge and skills required for job acquisition, retention, and advancement. The program emphasizes a combination of culinary theory and practical application necessary for successful employment. Program graduates receive a Culinary Arts degree. Graduates who are current practitioners will benefit through enhancement of career potential.

The culinary field offers diverse job opportunities for cooks, chefs, bakers, cake decorators and caterers. The program prepares students for entry level management positions in hotels and restaurants as well as in the institutional hospitality industry such as school systems, hospitals and retirement homes.

Southern Crescent Technical College
5150 Sugarloaf Parkway
Lawrenceville, GA 30043

Gwinnett Technical College

Coursework includes: fundamentals of culinary arts, baking principles, culinary practicum, fundamentals of restaurant operations and culinary safety and sanitation. You'll learn to create your culinary masterpieces in a professional setting and gain real-world experience. Graduates of our program become chefs, caterers, pastry chefs, kitchen managers and sous chefs.

The program also helps prepare students for the National Restaurant Association SERVSAFE Certification. Gwinnett Tech's Culinary Arts program is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC).

Southern Crescent Technical College
5150 Sugarloaf Parkway
Lawrenceville, GA 30043

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.

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

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.

School addresses:

Young Chefs Academy of Atlanta
Howell Mill Village
857 Collier Rd NW#18
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 633-2633

Young Chefs Academy of Sandy Springs
220 Hammond Drive - Suite 368
Sandy Springs, GA 30328
(404) 255-9263

Find A Local Culinary School Today!