Would you love to make cooking or the food industry your career?

Or would you simply like to become more educated?

One of the biggest trends in the educational world today is online education.  As people get busier and busier, yoked with more responsibilites and requiring more hours at a job, for many, distance learning is the only option for those who want to advance or re-start their career.

But did you know that you can actually get a culinary degree online?  It's amazing, but many degrees and classes which you would never suspect could be taken online, now can.  I have personally taken drawing and photography classes online, and had great experiences with both, so I know it can be done.  It's all about finding the right school, with the right classes, to fit your schedule and goals.

online culinary schools
Credit: ollesvensson on flickr

Types of Online Culinary Schools

There are 2 main types on online culinary schools and degrees. 

The first type are schools that will allow you to earn an associates or bachelors degree in Culinary or Food Service management,

which will serve you well if you already have (or are planning on getting) experince in the food service industry, and want to be able to advance to a management position.  Management positions that these degrees could qualify you for are General Manager of a restaurant it the front end, or if you are already part of the cooking staff, Executive Chef.

The second type of online culinary schools are those that actually teach you about cooking and food preparation.

These degrees might be right for you if you want to learn more about the non-business side of the food industry, such as food preparation, nutrition, or the science behind the food.

Online Culinary School degrees in Management:

1. New England Culinary Institute

The New England Culinary Institute offers 2 degrees that can be completed entirely online: The  Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality and Restaurant Management, and the Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts.  

In addition to these degrees that you can get, there are also online Conintuing Education and Professional development courses that you can pursue.  Both degrees and courses require that you have, or are currently pursuing some indistry experience, such as working in a restaurant or other commercial kitchen. 

The school has a very good reputation, and has been around since 1980- 33 years!  Their online programs are a relatively new addition. 

2. Le Cordon Bleu

Le Cordon Bleu is a very well-known name in the culinary industry.  It can help to have a recognizeable name on a degree, so that may be something you will want to consider.  Le Cordon Bleu has the following all-online degree options: Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Management, and an Associate of Occupational Studies in Hospitality and Restaurant Management.   There is also a hybrid degree which requires some on-campus studies, which is an Associate of Occupational Studies in Culinary Management. 

There is tuition assistance and financial aid available to those who qualify, and the tuition is relatively reasonable.  The flexibility of these classes allows you to pursue a culinary career with all it's odd hours, while advancing your education.


3. ECPI University Online

ECPI University - Online offers one online culinary degree: A Bachelors of Science degree in Food Service Management.  This is a unique program, in that it includes an externship whereby you gain additional experience in the industry concurrently with earning credit for your degree. 

ECPI University is the overarching institution for this degree, but the college you would actually be enrolled in is the School of Culinary Arts in the Culinary Institute of Virginia.  This school seems OK, but if possible, I would reccomend that you go with Le Cordon Bleu or the New England Culinary Institute, as these schools are more reputable.

A video about the New England Culinary School Online

Online Culinary Programs in Food Arts:

1. Escoffer Online International Culinary Academy

If you are looking to brush up on your skills in the kitchen or learn entirely new techniques, then this may be just the educational experience that you're looking for.  Escoffer Online International Culinary Academy offers top-knotch video instruction which is the next best thing to going to in-person culinary school! 

EOICA offers 2 degree programs entirely online:  Culinary Fundamentals Online Program, and the Pastry Arts Program, which is also entirely online.  If you think this might be for you, you can attend a free webinar or view a sample lesson at the school site.

2. Online Culinary School.net

OnlineCulinarySchool.net is another high-quality video online cooking school.  This program is all about the cooking and baking side of the culinary business, not at all the business side.  This school is actually the world's first online-only cooking school, so they are pioneers in the field.

This school is pretty great becuase you can choose and pay course by course based on your educational needs and interests.  Some of the available courses include: Knife Skills, Sauce Making, and Soup Making. There is also a free demo course that you can view to see if this school  might be a good fit for you.

3. Online Cooking School.com by Americas Test Kitchen

If you have ever seen the show America's Test Kitchen on PBS or your local Public Television Station, then you will already be familiar with the style of this cooking school.  I would reccomend this online culinary school to those who are seeking an online education for personal reasons, or who don't need any credit for their course-work.  It has a very friendly user-interface, and is great (and really geared towards) the beginner to intermediate cook.

It has a 14 day free trial to try it out, and the membership plans start at only 19.99 a month, which is a relative bargain.

"So now America, with an open heart and an empty stomach,

I say unto you in the words of my uncle: 'Allez cuisine!'

Whichever program you choose, make sure you research it well.   I wish you the best of luck in your educational endeavors!