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Where Top Chefs Attended Culinary School

Need inspiration to find the right culinary school? See where some top chefs trained.

chef in busy kitchen cooking on open flame

Follow in the Footsteps of Culinary School Stars

There's nothing quite like a great meal—whether it's a home-cooked meal made with love by Mom or a gourmet chef's skillful creation. And there's no lack of appreciation for those who feed us. While top chefs fill our stomachs with their culinary creations, they sometimes also fill us with awe at their thriving careers.

Although some top chefs out there are self-made, most attended culinary school. If you're passionate about cooking unforgettable fillet mignon and icing cakes to perfection, culinary school might be something to consider. With training and determination, you can have your own enviable culinary career.

Five Top Chefs and the Schools They Attended

Looking for inspiration? Here is where some of the crème de la crème of the cooking world studied:

  • Emeril Lagasse – The Food Network personality and owner of many restaurants has made quite a fortune from cooking. He attended cooking school at Johnson and Wales after turning down a full scholarship to study music at the New England Conservatory of Music.
  • Ann Cooper – A former celebrity chef, who once cooked for the Grateful Dead, Chef Ann is now giving public school cafeterias around the country a major facelift. She's currently Director of Nutrition at Berkeley Public Schools where she has replaced all canned and processed foods with fresh meat and vegetables and baked goods from local bakeries. Cooper studied at the Culinary Institute of America.
  • Erika Bruce – Bruce is a test cook on America's Test Kitchen, public television's most popular cooking show. On the show, test cooks like Bruce experiment with recipes and tinker with cooking tools to find out what works and what doesn't. Bruce attended the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts.
  • Walter Scheib – As the executive chef at the White House for 11 years, Scheib was in charge of preparing meals for the First Family. He graduated with highest honors from the Culinary Institute of America in New York in 1979.
  • Julia Child – She's the queen mother of the culinary industry. In 1948, while her husband, an officer for a federal government agency, was posted in Paris, Child enrolled in the world famous Cordon Bleu cooking school. After just six months of training, Child and two of her classmates opened up a culinary school of their own called L'Ecole de Trois Gourmandes. They also published a book together called "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Child promoted the book in the U.S. and one Boston public broadcasting station found her so charismatic they gave her a cooking show of her own. The show was an immense hit—it was syndicated all over the country and won many awards, including an Emmy.


Tell us a little about yourself and we'll connect you with schools that offer culinary arts programs.