Top 5 Culinary Schools in Michigan

Top Culinary Schools in Michigan

Whether you know it as The Great Lakes State, The Wolverine State, or The Mittens State, Michigan is undoubtedly a diverse and impressive place—particularly when it comes to food. Home to the 10th largest population in the United States and widely known as the automotive center of the country, Michigan’s rich heritage and somewhat turbulent history has created a food industry that blends fine-dining and comfort eats effortlessly.

Diverse Food Culture Creates Industry Opportunities

Michigan embraces being a state without definitions; it has no state dish, state fruit or vegetable, or state meal. Residents and tourists both enjoy the wide variety of foods available – the classic Detroit-style pizza, square, deep dish and loaded with Wisconsin block cheese, to apple cider and doughnuts, Paczki – a Polish donut loaded with jam – and Detroit Street Brick, an incredible citrus-tinged goat’s cheese flecked with peppercorns. Michigan’s agricultural successes also lend to the delicious range of fresh foods available. Tart cherries, blueberries, apples, grapes, milk, navy beans, and corn are all part of the prosperous agricultural industry, accessible to those who choose to pursue their culinary career here.

Michigan’s restaurant industry brought almost $16 billion in 2017, with nearly half a million food worker job roles in 16,000 establishments. With a large residential population and booming tourism in the state, the food industry is only set to get bigger, with growth predicted to create an additional 33,000 jobs over the next decade.

Competitive salaries are sure to draw more culinary experts to the state. Head Chefs can make, on average, around $47,000 per year, with Pastry Chefs earning around $43,000. With expansion on the horizon, even those who decide to embark on a culinary career in an entry-level position will find opportunities to grow and progress on their chosen path.

With so much to offer to the aspiring chef or food prep worker, let’s take a look at some of the best culinary arts schools in Michigan.

Secchia Institute for Culinary Education – Grand Rapids, Michigan

Secchia Institute for Culinary Education

Culinary Programs
  • Culinary Arts (A.A.A.S)
  • Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate
  • Craft Brewing Certificate
  • Culinary Arts Certificate
  • Personal Chef Certificate

Art merging with science. Talent combined with technique. These are the principles of success, according to the Secchia Institute, a part of the Grand Rapids Community College. The programs provided by this culinary arts school are designed to give students the tools they need to succeed in their chosen career path, whether they desire to work as a head chef, a baker or pastry chef, or to enter the booming business of craft brewing.

While each course is curated to provide students with the fundamentals of the culinary arts, the Secchia Institute stands out for the specializations it offers. The Personal Chef Certificate gives students the practical and theoretical skills they need to set up their own businesses, covering business management, dining room services, and restaurant operations as well as bakery, meal planning and nutrition, and food production.

The Craft Brewing Certificate is also particularly interesting – Grand Rapids is known as Beer City USA, and is the perfect place to hone brewing techniques. The course includes the intricate study of the science behind brewing, as well as hands-on experience at the student-operated brewing company and taproom. Individuals also have the opportunity to take part in an internship at a brewery or brewing-related operation as part of the course. The end goal of this Certificate is to prepare students for entry-level positions in brewing, service, and management with the ability to quickly progress in their chosen career.

Culinary Institute of Michigan

Culinary Institute of Michigan

Culinary Programs
  • Baking and Pastry Certificate
  • Baking and Pastry Associate of Applied Science
  • Culinary Arts Associate of Applied Science
  • Food and Beverage Management Associate of Applied Science

The food industry is the second-largest employer in the United States. The Culinary Institute of Michigan recognizes that this growing market requires highly skilled, versatile, and well-trained individuals to fill those roles and is dedicated to providing the education needed for success.

Both of their Baking and Pastry courses teach students how to create delicious desserts and pastries, the fundamental science behind successful baking, and give participants the opportunity to work in professional kitchens using the industry-standard equipment. The AAS course incorporates the business side of the baking industry, including credits for food and beverage management, food service career skills, and purchasing and product identification. While both courses equip students with the necessities for entry-level baking and pastry positions, the AAS course also provides the knowledge and skills for managerial restaurant and bakery roles.

The Culinary Arts and Food & Beverage Management AAS programs provide students with classroom-based learning, practical kitchen-based lessons, and work experience or internships to provide a complete, well-rounded education. Taught by instructors with years of industry experience, participants can develop new skills, through both hands-on and theoretical learning. The Culinary Institute aims to provide students with the ability to quickly progress on their chosen career path through advanced education in highly sought-after areas of employee expertise.

Great Lakes Culinary Institute – Northwestern Michigan College Great Lakes Campus


Culinary Programs
  • Level One Baking Certificate
  • Level Three Certificate
  • Associate in Applied Science Degree

The Great Lakes Culinary Institute recognizes that passion is necessary to achieve greatness in the food industry. Seeking to give their students a competitive advantage for entry-level industry positions, this institute provides a combination of theoretical and practical learning in four different culinary labs – a bakery, an introductory and food skills kitchen, an advanced cooking kitchen, and a garde manager outlet. Also available for students is a beverage management outlet and a 90-seat training restaurant to train for the right combination of skills, knowledge, and work experience upon graduation.

The Certificates offered by the Great Lakes Culinary Institute are designed to give students a thorough education in the fundamentals of both Baking and the Culinary Arts. With course credits such as safety and sanitation, world cuisine, nutrition, and café operations, individuals can expect to come away with a deep understanding of working in the food industry. This knowledge is essential for obtaining competitive entry-level positions, such as cooks, food prep workers, and food service managerial roles.

The AAS Degree gives students even better preparation, offering a more intensive yet rewarding program of study. The focus lies on the culinary arts with segues into management and business, providing individuals with a well-rounded education that has the potential to lead to more prominent industry positions, such as chefs, line managers, and restaurant management roles.

Macomb Community College – Warren, Michigan


Culinary Programs
  • Culinary Arts Associate in Applied Science Degree
  • Culinary Arts – Culinary Management Certificate
  • Culinary Arts – Prep Cook, Skill Specific Certificate
Macomb Culinary Arts

Taking into consideration both the working kitchen environment and a happy customer as an end result, Macomb Community College aims to provide students with a culinary education that encompasses every aspect of the food industry. Working as part of a team alongside experienced instructors, prospective students can expect to learn the fundamentals of the culinary world as well as some more unique and exciting course credits.

The AAS Degree offered by Macomb Community College gives students the opportunity to learn culinary and food management skills side-by-side, blending the two for an exceptional service-based education. While the fundamentals are apparent in their safety and sanitation, nutrition, and culinary techniques credits, students are also exposed to ice carving and design, vegetarian cuisine, and wine appreciation credits. These unique course credits give students of this culinary arts degree a new edge in the competitive food industry, in addition to setting them up for positions such as head cook and first line supervisor of food preparation, as well as more senior level managerial roles.

Certificates at this culinary institute give students a more specific education, focused on one particular area rather than a broader degree. Covering the basic techniques and both practical and theoretical culinary skills, the certificates provide students with the opportunity to obtain entry-level industry positions as food prep workers, line supervisors, and food service workers. Shorter in nature, these certificates can give students experience more quickly and still provide an advantage for them and their careers.

Washtenaw Community College – Ann Arbor


Culinary Programs
  • Baking and Pastry Skills and Operations Certificate
  • Culinary Skills and Operations Certificate
  • Baking and Pastry Arts and Management Associate in Applied Science
  • Culinary Arts and Management Associate in Applied Science

Source: WCC

Washtenaw Community College welcomes culinary students. It provides them with an education that could take them anywhere in the food and hospitality business, from becoming a head chef or prep cook to a restaurant or hotel manager. With the industry continually expanding, this community college equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to make a difference and obtain the career of their choice.

Both of the Certificate courses offered are entry-level, meaning that they cover the basics necessary for entry-level positions. With credits like culinary principles, nutrition, and baking science, these courses provide the foundation needed to take the first step into a culinary career. Certificate credits can also be applied towards an AAS degree with the college.

AAS Degrees taught by Washtenaw Community College are considerably more involved but can be taken on both a full- and part-time basis for greater accessibility. The college offers flexible scheduling for students, as well as practical training and classroom lecturing for a comprehensive combination of learning styles. Students work with experienced instructors and in a team with each other, and have the chance to work at Garrett’s, a full-service, student-operated restaurant on campus dedicated to developing the skills of both hospitality and culinary students.

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