Best Culinary Schools in Minnesota | Cost, Requirement & How To Apply

Culinary schools in Minnesota offer a variety of coursework and certificates, hands-on instruction, internship opportunities, and a commercial kitchen learning environment.

Several culinary schools in Minnesota are accredited by the American Culinary Federation, an indication of exceptional quality. Most culinary programs in Minnesota are offered at technical and community colleges.

At these locations, you can choose between a one-year certificate and a two-year Associate’s degree. If you attend a larger university, you can earn a Bachelor of Culinary Arts degree.

The curriculum of your culinary arts program depends on what you focus on.

Are There Culinary Schools In Minnesota?

There are no 4-year universities in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area that offer formal culinary programs; however, the University of Minneapolis-Twin Cities offers individual 2-hour cooking classes off campus.

Culinary training is also available at several community and vocational colleges in the area. There you can earn a 17-credit certificate in various areas of cooking, baking or management in addition to a 3-semester diploma in culinary arts.

Alternatively, you can pursue a 2-year Associate in Culinary Arts degree where you will study cooking, baking, management and general education. Check out the information below to decide what might be right for you.

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How Much Do Culinary Schools Cost In Minnesota?

Currently, Minnesota culinary schools typically cost over $20,000 to attend. For most students, this is a high price that will force many students to use financial aid.

When looking at culinary school tuition, consider whether the dollar amount covers the entire degree program or just a portion of it.

In many cases, this is not the same as the annual tuition you would find at a four-year college. Instead, culinary school tuition usually includes the cost of the entire training program.

If you want to become a chef in Minnesota, there are 10 schools that can help you get there. Six are located in or very close to the Twin Cities, and the other four are scattered throughout the state.

An average acceptance rate of 84% means you can skip complicated admissions processes. Tuition in Mississippi costs an average of $7,537. This is partially offset by an average stipend of $1,221.

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What Are The Requirements For Culinary Schools In Minnesota?

A high school degree or GED is recommended before starting a career. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) mandates that all Minnesota food establishments must have one Certified Food Service Manager (CMF). This certification must be renewed every three years

  • You must graduate high school and be prepared to provide high school transcripts, official transcripts, GED, HISET, high school equivalency documents, etc.
  • You must pay a $25 non-refundable fee. However, it is important to note that in some schools it may be more or less and in some schools it may not be mandatory either.
  • You must provide your letters of recommendation with valid identification.
  • You must write and submit an essay
  • You must have a study permit card or student visa for international students.
  • Your proficiency test results such as IELTS or TOEFL for English, DELE for Spanish, DELF or DALF for French and DSH, OSD, TELF and TestDAF for German must be provided. Also note that not all culinary schools require this.
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What Are The Best Culinary Schools In Minnesota?

South Central College

South Central College is a top culinary school with an excellent reputation in the field. Students are taught by an experienced chef who provides instruction in everything from menu planning to teaching culinary skills.

Students complete unique coursework such as butchery, sustainable food, organic cooking and hospitality. SCC has a dining hall and cafeteria, allowing students to apply their knowledge and learning in real-world settings.

Graduates are prepared to work in a variety of settings, including sports arenas, convention centers, hotels and restaurants.


Hibbing Community College

Hibbing Community College offers a variety of culinary training programs for those just starting out and those ready to advance to more challenging position.

Students in Hibbing community college can learn their trade in a fast-paced environment that prepares them for the challenges they will face in a real commercial kitchen. Students practice and demonstrate their skills in a modern kitchen laboratory.

This top culinary school has a low faculty/student ratio and a personalized approach. The 1-year diploma, 2-year diploma, and AAS degree options allow students to choose the program that best suits their professional needs.


Normandale Community College

Normandale Community College’s Food and Beverage Certificate Program is an exciting culinary program for those interested in food and beverage management.

Students learn a variety of skills, including how to analyze recipes and menus, determine cost, adhere to dietary guidelines, and coordinate banquets and special events.

Graduates are prepared to work as catering director, catering manager, kitchen manager or catering manager.


Southwest Minnesota State University

Southwest Minnesota State University is a top culinary school that offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Culinary Science.

Culinology is an exciting program that combines the art and science of food. Students learn in a state-of-the-art culinary facility that includes a demonstration kitchen, restaurant kitchen, dining room, skills kitchen and cooking lab.

Coursework includes food chemistry and analysis, aromas and flavors, sensory analysis of food, and technical and functional ingredients in food. Internships are also offered to students, allowing them to gain professional work experience.


St. Cloud Technical and Community College

St. Cloud Technical and Community College offers both an AAS and a Diploma in Culinary Arts. Students learn a variety of skills including menu planning, food presentation, financial planning, human resources, kitchen procedures and recipe development.

The culinary arts organization SkillsUSA offers students the opportunity to participate in local and national culinary competitions to gain additional experience.

Students in the diploma program complete coursework related to the culinary arts, including an internship experience in the food service industry.

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The program can be completed in just one year. The AAS program also includes an internship opportunity and offers additional coursework that meets general education requirements.


Central Lakes College

Central Lakes College offers a Culinary Arts Certificate culminating in a ServSafe Food Manager Certificate. To get a certificate, you need to earn 30 credits.

Coursework covers a variety of topics, including pastry techniques, culinary mathematics, and spreadsheet analysis, to name just two.

Participating in an internship earns a full 12 credits, providing plenty of opportunities for hands-on, real-world experience.


Hennepin Technical College

Hennepin Technical College is a top accredited culinary school that offers a variety of programs for students at every level of the career ladder. Students are taught the skills needed to develop menus, prepare banquets, cater events, decorate cakes and prepare a variety of first courses.

In addition to culinary skills, the program includes the business side of working in the industry. A gourmet dining facility on campus gives students the opportunity to apply their skills in professional work.

Advanced students have the opportunity to learn techniques such as ice carving, blown sugar, wine basics and international cuisine.


St. Paul’s College

Saint Paul College has a culinary program accredited by the American Culinary Federation. The AAS Degree program has been awarded Exemplary status by the ACF, demonstrating exceptional educational standards.

 Students learn to prepare both a la carte and banquet meals, as well as sanitation practices, cost control strategies, purchasing, and menu planning.

St. Paul College offers one of the largest culinary certifications in the state, allowing students to obtain specialized training in specific areas. Graduates are well-prepared to work in a variety of industries, including hotels and restaurants, resorts, catering and healthcare.


How Much Do Cooks In Minnesota Earn?

Chefs in Minnesota are paid well above the national standard. In 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that restaurant and cafeteria cooks earned a median income of $15.19 an hour.

Minnesota chefs and head chefs earned an average of $23.22 an hour, while other chefs in Minnesota were paid an average of $12 to $14 an hour.  Food service managers in Minnesota earned the highest wages, with a median income of $27.31 an hour.

In 2016, restaurant chefs accounted for the largest number of cooks, with 25,610 in Minnesota. That number is expected to grow 7.2 percent by 2026, according to the BLS.

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How Do I Become A Cook In Minnesota?

After completing a culinary program, you must decide how to use it to build a career. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 46% of chefs work in restaurants, there are other possible work environments for culinary graduates.

For example, you can work as a caterer or private chef and work with a variety of clients. If you are interested in being self-employed, you may want to consider owning your own restaurant or catering company.

In Minnesota, some of the top culinary employers include Benihana, Colony at Eden Prairie and EHS Hospitality Group.

You may be wondering what else you need to do to work as a chef after earning your culinary degree. However, one of the advantages of working in Minnesota is that you do not need any licenses or certifications.

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However, you can become certified by the American Culinary Federation. After passing the written exam, you can get a certificate.

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What Are The Best Paying Culinary Jobs in Minnesota?

Culinary jobs should continue to grow in Minnesota over the next few years. While not all of these jobs will require a college degree or formal education, students may find that a degree from culinary arts schools in Minnesota can help them stand out when hiring.

After attending culinary schools in Minnesota, culinary arts students can choose a variety of career paths. Some may prefer to stay in the kitchen and work as a head chef, private chef or caterer.

Others may find that the business side of the hospitality industry interests them and move into management. The following chart offers a look at a few common occupations for graduates of culinary arts programs in Minnesota.

Graduates are likely to find work to their liking at any of Minnesota’s thousands of restaurants, resorts, schools and hotels. Typical food industry salaries in Minnesota vary by job title, city, and experience.

A registered dietitian earns an average annual salary of $63,710; a first line supervisor will earn around $38,900; a chef will earn approximately $53,750; and a restaurant chef earns an average salary of about $30,620.

Culinary Schools In Minnesota FAQs

What Does It Take To Become A Chef In Minnesota?

There are no Minnesota culinary arts requirements other than a basic knowledge of food and kitchen safety. A high school degree or GED is recommended before starting a career. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) mandates that all Minnesota food establishments must have one Certified Food Service Manager (CMF). This certification must be renewed every three years.

Are Massage Cooks In Demand In Minnesota?

While job openings vary depending on the region you live in, the overall job outlook for culinary professionals is quite strong. Restaurant chefs can anticipate a 10% job increase between 2010 and 2020. However, the demand for chefs is not expected to change significantly over the same time frame.

What Is The Requirement For Culinary License In Minnesota?

The most widely recognized certification in the culinary arts is the ACF certification. There are 16 levels and specialties in Culinary Arts that can be achieved through working in the kitchen and in the classroom. By gaining work experience and training in culinary arts programs, cooks and chefs can earn advanced certifications and enhance their culinary reputation.


Culinary arts students in Minnesota quickly learn that the state has a unique food culture. Drawing on the heritage of Norse settlers, lutefisk, lefse and krumkake are a few of the unusual dishes found in this upper Midwestern state. Also, Minnesota is well known for its supposed affinity for pies and the hot dish better known as a casserole.

Whether they’re interested in cooking classic dishes or want to create gourmet dishes, Minnesota culinary school graduates can find a variety of employment opportunities in the state’s nearly 10,000 food and beverage establishments. The National Restaurant Association notes that more than 265,000 Minnesotans worked in the state’s restaurants in 2015, and that number is expected to grow by 7.1% by 2025.

References – Top 9 Best Culinary Schools in Minnesota 2021


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