Chicago Culinary Institutes

Written by Ingrid Chen
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Chicago is one of the fastest-moving cities in the Midwest, culturally and financially. What some may not realize is that Chicago has a rich culinary history as well. From its excellent steakhouses, such as Morton's and Charlie Trotter's, to its more rustic settings like Meritage Café and Kiki's Bistro, the Windy City brings fine dining and comfort together.

There are many job opportunities in the culinary field. Even in times of economic downfall, restaurants consistently add and change personnel. Beyond working in restaurants, many culinary enthusiasts follow career paths in event planning, catering, personal cheffing and independent consulting, among other opportunities.

Though it is a relatively easy field to get into as an eager young prep cook or dishwasher, restaurant work may not be as easily available for individuals changing careers later in life. Culinary school can give you a huge advantage in that sense. Individuals with culinary degrees or accreditations are oftentimes considered more seriously than those starting in the field with no formal schooling or experience.

Chicago's Culinary Opportunities

It is certainly possible to obtain a job in the culinary field without a degree, but some employers find the credibility of a formal education to be advantageous. One can pursue culinary education in many forms. The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (CHIC) is one of 13 Le Cordon Bleu accredited culinary academies in the country. Other schools, such as the Chicago Culinary Institute and the Art Institute of Illinois, offer various programs that allow students to train with professionals in school and restaurant settings.

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