5 Best Culinary Schools in Jacksonville, Florida

Culinary Schools in Jacksonville, Florida

Culinary schools in Jacksonville, Florida provide a playground for culinary enthusiasts. If you live in Jacksonville and want to become a chef, join a culinary school in this coastal city for a culinary arts course.

Jacksonville, Florida has a great assortment of culinary schools for aspiring chefs. Approximately 270,000 culinary professionals are employed in the US state of Florida, including food service managers, chefs, cooks, and bartenders.

Culinary schools in Jacksonville, Florida provide both theoretical and practical training to prepare students for success in the food service field. 

Florida graduates have a unique opportunity to work within the state. Whether you want a comprehensive degree program or a specific course, there is a way to fuel your culinary passion in Jacksonville. This guide explores the best culinary schools in Jacksonville, Florida, detailing their programs and facilities. And if you are looking for online culinary courses you can check out our dedicated article on free online culinary courses with certificates which will help you find the best free culinary courses.

Why Study a Culinary Arts Course?

A Culinary Arts course can help you turn your passion for cooking into a fulfilling career. Here are some reasons why you should consider doing the Culinary Arts course:

  • Passion for Food: Candidates who have a true love for cooking and a great appreciation for food can turn their passion into a rewarding career.
  • Creative Expression: Chefs and culinary artists use their expertise to create visually appealing and delicious dishes by creatively blending flavors, textures, and presentation techniques.
  • Become a Master Chef: You’ll master basic culinary techniques like knife skills, proper cooking methods, plating, and menu planning. You will also study important areas, such as hygiene and food safety.
  • Versatile Career Opportunities: Culinary professionals like chefs, caterers, and restaurant managers are in great demand due to the growing food service business. Culinary education will provide you with the skills and expertise you need to get your desired job in the food industry.
  • Explore the World Through Food: Culinary courses provide opportunities to learn about and appreciate diverse cultures through their different cuisines. You can learn about and try international flavors and methods, expanding your culinary horizons. Culinary training can expand your perspective and increase your appreciation of the world around you.
  • Level up Your Home Cooking: Even if you don’t want to become a professional chef, a culinary school can help you become an expert in your kitchen. You’ll learn how to prepare restaurant-quality dishes at home, surprise your family and friends, and adopt a healthy cooking style.

What You Will Learn in Culinary Arts Classes 

  • Food Management and Safety: Food must be properly handled, stored, and prepared to ensure food safety and prevent foodborne illnesses.
  • Knife Skills: Tips for using knives to slice, cut, and dice items safely and effectively.
  • Cooking Methods: Cooking methods include grilling, roasting, baking, and frying.
  • Menu Plan: Creating balanced and attractive dishes that meet a variety of dietary needs and preferences.
  • Culinary Management: Learning about the commercial aspects of the culinary sector, such as cost control, inventory management, and customer service.

Eligibility Requirements for Culinary Arts Courses in the USA 

The eligibility requirements for Culinary Arts courses in the USA vary depending on the program you choose. Here are the general requirements.

  • High School Diploma or GED: Most Culinary Arts courses require a high school diploma or its equivalent (GED).
  • Age: The minimum age limit for some programs maybe 17 or 18 years.
  • Physical Ability: Culinary Arts programs involve prolonged standing, lifting, and working in a fast-paced environment. Programs may require a physical ability assessment to ensure you can meet the demands of the coursework.
  • Basic Skills: Some programs can measure basic reading, writing, and math’s abilities.
  • Passion for Cooking: Although not a formal requirement, having a passion for cooking and baking is a huge advantage!

Some culinary schools may require additional documentation, such as a portfolio of your culinary work experience or a letter of recommendation from a chef or culinary professional.

List of Top 5 Culinary Schools in Jacksonville, Florida

1. Florida State College at Jacksonville

Florida State College at Jacksonville
Florida State College at Jacksonville
  • Type: Public college
  • Established: 1966
  • Accredited by: SACSCOC

Florida State College in Jacksonville offers a Technical Certificate in Culinary Arts or Food and Beverage Management, preparing you for culinary careers in just one year. The program combines classroom training with practical experience in a simulated restaurant laboratory. 

You’ll learn about baking, food production, regional cuisine, and culinary nutrition. Plus, you will learn restaurant management, catering, and hospitality at one of the best culinary schools in Jacksonville, Florida. Internships are also offered at this culinary school, allowing you to gain valuable real-world experience before entering the culinary profession.

2. Florida Technical College

Florida Technical College
Florida Technical College
  • Type: Private college 
  • Established: 1982
  • Accredited by: MACHE 

Florida Technical College’s Culinary Arts Diploma program provides students with the qualifications they need to launch their culinary careers. Practical training in a restaurant-like setting will teach you how to prepare sauces, meats, and baked items, as well as important kitchen safety and hygiene measures. 

The program also covers menu planning, cost control, and restaurant supervision, giving you a solid foundation in this field. Professional chefs will guide you through innovative techniques and hands-on experience that will prepare you to work in the kitchen of your dreams.

3. First Coast Technical College

First Coast Technical College
First Coast Technical College
  • Type: Public college 
  • Established: 1965
  • Accredited by: CAAHEP

First Coast Technical College’s Professional Culinary Arts and Hospitality program equips you with the skills to thrive in the kitchen. You’ll gain practical experience in everything from knife skills and basic cooking methods to advanced baking and creating artistic food presentations. The program at this culinary school in Jacksonville, Florida also covers important areas, such as food safety, menu costing, and supervision, preparing you for a variety of culinary careers.  

From restaurants and hotels to catering and even starting your own business, this culinary program can be your launchpad for a successful journey into the exciting world of food.

4. Frank H. Peterson Academies of Technology

  • Type: Public high school 
  • Established: 1969

The Frank H. Peterson Academies of Technology offers a Culinary Arts Academy, a four-year program that prepares students for careers in the culinary arts. This program combines classroom instruction with practical experience in food service, preparation, and restaurant hospitality.

 The academy, which is aimed at students interested in both college and immediate work options, also helps them gain industry credentials to help them advance in their jobs. 

Additionally, the culinary school in Jacksonville, Florida fosters an intimate learning environment in which students form deep bonds with their professors and peers throughout their high school experience.

5. North Florida Technical College (FTC)

North Florida Technical College
North Florida Technical College
  • Type: Public college 
  • Established: 1965
  • Accredited by: COE

North Florida Technical College offers a Culinary Arts Diploma program that prepares you for entry-level careers in the culinary industry. With state-of-the-art facilities and experienced instructors, students have the opportunity to learn in a supportive and dynamic environment. 

The curriculum at this culinary school in Jacksonville, Florida covers a wide range of topics, including food preparation, menu planning, kitchen management, and culinary trends. Additionally, students gain practical experience through internships and industry partnerships, allowing them to apply their skills in real-world settings.

What Degree Programs Do Jacksonville Culinary Schools Offer?

Depending on whether you want a formal degree or a shorter course, Jacksonville offers a variety of culinary programs. Here are some options:

1. Associate Degree in Culinary Arts 

These 3-year programs provide students with a solid foundation in all aspects of the culinary industry, including cooking methods, food safety, sanitation, kitchen management, and hospitality.

2. Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Management

These 4-year programs build on the foundation of the Associate degree by providing students with a more comprehensive business education that includes accounting, marketing, and human resource management. It prepares graduates for leadership positions in the food service industry.

3. Diploma Programs

Diploma programs are shorter, more intensive courses that focus on particular culinary skills, such as baking, pastry, or ethnic cooking.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Culinary Arts School in Jacksonville

When searching for a Culinary Arts school in Jacksonville, you must consider several factors to ensure you find the right fit for your goals. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Accreditation: Verify that the culinary school you choose is accredited by a certification authority. This assures that the program meets quality criteria and that you will receive a quality education.
  • Skilled Instructors: Look for a culinary school where culinary programs are taught by chefs or culinary professionals with practical industry experience and skills.
  • Practical Training: Cooking is a practical field, so practical training is essential. Find a class that gives you many opportunities to practice your skills in the kitchen.
  • Networking Opportunities: Look for culinary schools that offer the opportunity to network with industry professionals. This can help you make key connections and gain access to potential work prospects.
  • Facilities: Check whether the culinary school is equipped with a kitchen and current facilities to improve your learning experience.

Job Opportunities in Culinary Arts

After completing your culinary courses and earning certification, you will be able to begin your career in the Culinary Arts field. Let’s take a look at some possible job opportunities in culinary arts.

  • Chef: Leading kitchen operations, creating menus, managing staff, and ensuring high-quality food production.
  • Sous Chef: Assist the head chef in menu planning, food preparation, and kitchen management.
  • Pastry Chef: Specializing in baking and dessert making, creating complex pastries and sweet dishes.
  • Line Cook: Prepare and cook dishes according to recipes and specifications during service hours.
  • Catering Manager: Coordinate catering programs from menu planning to execution, ensuring customer satisfaction.
  • Food Stylist: Working in advertising or media, preparing food for photography or film shoots.
  • Food Critic: Evaluate and criticize restaurants, write reviews, and provide feedback on food quality and service.
  • Food Photographer: Capture delicious images of food for cookbooks, magazines, websites, and advertisements.
  • Culinary Instructor: Teach cooking techniques, recipes, and culinary principles at culinary schools.
  • Food Entrepreneur: Start your own food business, such as a food truck, bakery, catering company, or restaurant.


1. How long do culinary programs in Jacksonville typically last?

The duration of culinary programs in Jacksonville varies depending on the type of program. You can find options ranging from high school programs that last a few years to colleges that offer 2-year Associate degrees.

2. Does the University of Florida have a culinary program? 

The University of Florida does not have a specific culinary program focusing on practical cooking skills. However, they do have a well-regarded food science degree that delves deeper into the science of food, which can serve as a solid foundation for a culinary career.

3. How much do culinary schools in Jacksonville, Florida cost?

Tuition for culinary schools in Jacksonville, Florida varies. The cost can range from $3,000 to $35,000, depending on the length of the program and the school. Public schools are generally less expensive than private institutions and Associate degrees are less expensive than bachelor’s degrees. There are also some free culinary programs available.

4. Which course is best for culinary arts?

CA and BCT are becoming popular culinary career options among students today. It is a 3-year undergraduate study that provides an in-depth understanding of culinary arts and catering facilities. Hence, this course is ideal for students who want to pursue a job in catering after graduation.

5. Can I get a job in Jacksonville after graduating from culinary school?

Yes, your culinary school diploma will undoubtedly open doors to Jacksonville’s restaurant environment.

The city boasts a strong hospitality industry, and with your training, you’ll be well-positioned for entry-level culinary positions or to pursue specific interests like baking or catering. You can research Jacksonville restaurant trends and tailor your applications to maximize your chances of getting the job you want.


Culinary schools provide a structured launchpad for future chefs. They teach not only basic technical skills such as knife use and good cooking techniques but also food science, nutrition, and menu planning.

Most importantly, culinary programs provide students with the safety and sanitation expertise needed in commercial kitchens. Beyond the essentials, culinary schools encourage innovation and expose students to a wide variety of cuisines, as well as internship programs that provide industry connections and practical experience – a valuable advantage in the competitive culinary field.

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