Restaurants, chefs, and restaurateurs across Illinois continue to garner acclaim from publications like Michelin Guide, Forbes, and Wine and Spectator. This state of more than 13 million people take their food seriously. Dominated by the Chicago metro region, Illinois' culinary arts industry is a $22.4 billion per year industry, according to the National Restaurant Association (NRA). This presents a huge opportunity for prospective students who are thinking about a culinary career. Consider this: Illinois boasts more than 27,000 restaurants and drinking establishments who employ nearly half a million individuals. The state is known for deep-dish pizza, Italian beef sandwiches, and hot dogs, but that only scratches the surface. Illinois' 74,300 farms cover nearly 27 million acres, about 75% of the state's total land area. With 2,640 food manufacturing companies, Illinois turns the state's crops and livestock into food and industrial products. In fact, the state ranks first in the nation with $180 billion in processed food sales.

Whether your goal is to own a restaurant, become an executive chef, sous chef, pastry chef, hospitality director, or sommelier, a degree in the culinary arts can level the playing field when building a career in the food sector. According to employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) bakers, chefs, and restaurant managers are expected to see job gains throughout Illinois between 2.9% and 5.7% into 2022. Chefs and head cooks can expect a yearly salary around $43,000, bakers around $25,000 and food service managers in the low $50,000s. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also lists the top five paying metropolitan areas in the entire state for chefs including Chicago metro with an average salary of $44,930. For restaurant managers, the top paying metro areas in Illinois included the Chicago-metro region with an average salary of nearly $50,000. For bakers, the best paying areas include Chicago ($24,840), Peoria ($23,290), and Springfield ($22,410). As the state continues to place its mark on the culinary world, Illinois will remain a popular place for graduates of culinary schools to start their careers. 

There are 23 accredited culinary schools in Illinois and traditionally speaking, these culinary schools offer students four professional concentrations: Culinary Management, Baking & Pastry Arts, Hospitality Management, and Culinary Arts. Although Chicago is the epicenter of the culinary movement in Illinois, other cities are continuing to make themselves into foodie destinations. Typically the road to a culinary career begins with graduating from a culinary arts school and in Illinois, even famous chefs such as Chef Grant Aschatz of Alinea attended a culinary institution. 

Illinois holds the promise of a strong culinary movement. Part of that allure is its central location, and easy access from most anywhere in the country will keep demand strong for those in the food service industry. Like many states, Illinois also has a strong mobile chef component, be that food trucks or catering. In fact Illinois has its own food truck association and more and more chefs are opting for the freedoms of this type of venue over traditional sit down establishments.

Culinary Schools in Illinois by City

Culinary Schools Near Chicago Illnois

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College

Chicago IL

www.ccc.edu/colleges/washington/Pages/default.aspx

City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College

Chicago IL

www.ccc.edu/colleges/kennedy/pages/default.aspx

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago

Chicago IL

www.aii.edu

Kendall College

Chicago IL

www.kendall.edu

City Colleges of Chicago-Harry S Truman College

Chicago, IL

www.ccc.edu/colleges/truman/pages/default.aspx

Robert Morris University Illinois

Chicago IL

www.robertmorris.edu/

Saint Augustine College

Chicago IL

www.staugustine.edu

City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X College

Chicago IL

www.ccc.edu/colleges/malcolm-x/pages/default.aspx

Moraine Valley Community College

Palos Hills IL

www.morainevalley.edu

Harper College

Palatine IL

www.harpercollege.edu

Triton College

River Grove IL

www.triton.edu

College of DuPage

Glen Ellyn IL

www.cod.edu

College of Lake County

Grayslake IL

www.clcillinois.edu

Elgin Community College

Elgin IL

www.elgin.edu

McHenry County College

Crystal Lake IL

www.mchenry.edu

Culinary Schools Near Springfield Illnois

Lincoln Land Community College

Springfield IL

www.llcc.edu

Parkland College

Champaign IL

www.parkland.edu

Joliet Junior College

Joliet IL

www.jjc.edu

Richland Community College

Decatur IL

www.richland.edu

Southwestern Illinois College

Belleville IL

www.swic.edu

Culinary Schools in Peoria Illinois

Illinois Central College

East Peoria IL

www.icc.edu

Carl Sandburg College

Galesburg IL

www.sandburg.edu

Other Cities in Illinois

Vatterott College-Quincy

Quincy IL

www.vatterott.edu

John Wood Community College

Quincy IL

www.jwcc.edu

Danville Area Community College

Danville IL

www.dacc.edu

Olney Central College

Olney IL

www.iecc.edu/occ

Rend Lake College

Ina IL

www.rlc.edu

Kaskaskia College

Centralia IL

www.kaskaskia.edu

Degree: 
Associates
Bachelors
Certificates
Program: 
Culinary Arts
Baking & Pastry
Hospitality Management
Location: 
Illinois
Chicago Illinois
Peoria Illinois
Springfield Illinois