July 5, 2021

Deciding to attend culinary school is a great first step on the path to a new career. But how do you know if you’re going to be admitted?

Culinary school isn’t like the traditional four-year college. You don’t have to write essays or take standardized tests because those skills don’t predict a good cook or hospitality manager.

Find out what we do look for in the admissions process, and what you can expect when you fill out your culinary school application.

How to Choose The Right Program For You

Most culinary schools—including Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts—have multiple programs. They may offer degrees and/or diplomas in several different disciplines, so you have to choose which is the right fit.

When considering your program, start by thinking about your career goals. If you hope to be an executive chef, for example, a culinary arts program will provide the type of well-rounded education that can help you get there. If you plan to start your own vegetarian restaurant, then our new plant-based culinary arts programs may be the right program for you.

Escoffier currently offers programs in four different disciplines.

Escoffier baking and pastry student holding baked bread

Culinary Arts

In the Culinary Arts programs, students will explore both traditional and contemporary culinary techniques, as well as business skills that may help them to improve profitability and provide better leadership.

Baking & Pastry Arts

Escoffier’s Baking & Pastry Arts programs highlight breads, doughs, cookies, cakes, confiserie, and more. Coursework is also dedicated to entrepreneurship, cost control, and other business-focused topics.

Food & Beverage Operations

An associate degree in Food and Beverage Operations helps to prepare students for a future in hospitality management and restaurant operations. Leadership and communication, as well as event catering, beverage operations, and menu design are included in the curriculum.

Maria Davenport, Escoffier Chef Instructor“A strong educational background can help someone with limited experience become a valued contributor to their employer. They can utilize the skills taught at Escoffier to work their way into a management position.”
Maria Davenport, Escoffier Chef Instructor, Food & Beverage Operations

Plant-Based Culinary Arts

Escoffier’s newest programs are in Plant-Based Culinary Arts. These courses build culinary foundations in both cooking and baking by focusing on the versatility of non-animal ingredients. They also include business-focused coursework, like Foodservice Management and Purchasing & Cost Control.

Gourmet Beet Salad Close Up

All programs at Escoffier culminate in an industry externship. This will be an opportunity to put what you’ve learned into practice and get a sense of how a professional kitchen or foodservice operation runs. Some students who already have industry jobs can use their current position for their externships. For others, the externship may be their first introduction to the professional kitchen.

Look carefully at the courses included in each program to see if they align with your goals. Remember that no culinary program will teach you absolutely everything you’ll ever need in your career. The goal is to provide foundational knowledge that you can continue to build on through real-world experience and further study.

What Are the Requirements to Attend Culinary School?

Minimum Requirements for Culinary School

To be considered for culinary school at Escoffier, you have to meet the following requirements:

Boulder Campus

  • Must be a minimum of 16 years old (with permission of parent or guardian if under 18)
  • AESCA Enrollment Agreement (inclusive of written permission of parent or guardian if under 18)
  • Proof of High School Completion or Equivalent (must be obtained through one of the following:
    • High School Diploma
    • High School Equivalency Exam: GED, HiSet, or TASC,
    • Official College Transcript from a Completed Associate or Higher Degree Program
    • State Approved Home School Certificate of Completion.
  • Application for Admission
  • Application Fee (see Catalog Addendum for current fee) or approved Fee Waiver and documentation
    Admissions Interview
  • FERPA Release Form
  • Must have the aptitude to complete the program. This will be assessed when you speak with an Admissions Representative.

Austin Campus

  • AESCA Enrollment Agreement (inclusive of written permission of parent or guardian if under 18)
  • Proof of High School Completion or Equivalent (must be obtained through one of the following:
    • High School Diploma
    • High School Equivalency Exam: GED, HiSet, or TASC,
    • Official College Transcript from a Completed Associate or Higher Degree Program
    • State Approved Home School Certificate of Completion.
    • For U.S. Veterans, DD-214 which reflects High School Equivalency
  • Application for Admission
  • Application Fee (see Catalog Addendum for current fee) or approved Fee Waiver and documentation
  • Admissions Interview
  • Tour of Facility
  • Record of Previous Education & Training (CSC-010)
  • Receipt of Enrollment Policies (CSC-005)
  • FERPA Release Form
  • Must have the aptitude to complete the program. This will be assessed when you speak with an Admissions Representative.

What don’t you need?

Previous cooking skills or work experience. While many culinary school students do have some experience or cooking knowledge, they’re not a requirement for admissions.

Personality Requirements for Culinary School

Beyond the minimum requirements listed above, what kind of person does well in culinary school?

First, you must be passionate about food. You’ll be thinking about food all day long! So you have to be excited about cooking (and eating).

Escoffier culinary students seasoning a plated dish

You must also be organized—or be willing to learn. A disorganized station is one of biggest pet peeves of chefs across the board. Students will be expected to build the habits of cleanliness and organization during school.

Another key trait? You must be teachable. No one enters culinary school knowing everything — not even executive chefs with years of experience. Every student is in school to learn. So you’ll be expected to come to class with an open mind and eagerness to absorb new information.

Lance McWhorter, Food Network “Chopped” contestant, Executive Chef & Owner of Culture ETX, and Escoffier Online Culinary Arts graduate“Even when I was the executive chef, I still needed to learn. I still needed to grow. Everything about you—your cooking chops, your palate, your knowledge base, your creativity—need to always be expanding.”
Lance McWhorter, Escoffier Online Graduate; Executive Chef/Owner, Culture ETX; Food Network’s “Chopped” Contestant

Finally, you must be committed. Culinary school is an investment of time, energy, and finances. Students are expected to make their education a high priority during their 30, 60, or 84-week program. If you’re having trouble, you can reach out to your Success Coach or Student Success Manager who will help you get back on track.

How Much Does Culinary School Cost?

Program costs vary depending on whether you’re in a diploma program or degree program, studying on-campus or online.

In general, you can expect culinary school at Escoffier to be much less expensive than a private or public four-year college program. Escoffier’s programs start at $15,718 as of the date this article was published.

With your tuition, you’ll receive your kitchen toolkit and some supplies, textbooks, and access to lifetime career services support, among other benefits.

Escoffier’s Financial Advisors work with students, helping them to arrange funding for their education. In fact, 90.2% of Escoffier Boulder (on-campus and online) students received financial aid in 2019! Students can also seek out grants and scholarships to help them cover their education expenses.

Tiffany Moore with Escoffier Logo

The Application Process

Applying to culinary school is easier than you might think!

First, you’ll fill out an online application form, which takes about 10 minutes to complete. You’ll also sign your Enrollment Agreement, pay your Application Fee ($25) or provide an approved Fee Waiver.

After completing your application, you’ll be contacted by an Admissions Representative who will do an admissions overview and get to know you and discuss your goals.

Then, you’ll submit some additional documentation, including a copy of your photo ID and proof of high school completion. This could be a diploma, equivalency exam like the GED, official college transcript, or a state-approved homeschool certificate of completion.

During this time, you’ll also work with the Student Finance department to look for financing options like loans, grants, and scholarships to fund your education.

Once you’re accepted and committed to the program, you’ll complete an orientation.

smiling male culinary student with bear din commercial kitchen with bacon peanuts ham

What You’ll Need When You Start Your Program

Most of what you need to get started will be provided by Escoffier and is included in your school tuition. These supplies will vary depending on your program and campus.

On-Campus Student Tools and Supplies

Students studying on our Austin, Texas or Boulder, Colorado campus will be provided with a uniform and toolkit that they’ll need during their courses. The official Escoffier uniform includes a white chef’s coat, apron, and skull cap, which students will wear daily.

In their toolkits, students can expect to find:

  • Kitchen scale
  • Chlorine test strips
  • 3.5” paring knife
  • 8” chef’s knife
  • Digital probe thermometer
  • Timer
  • Pastry bag
  • Plastic bowl scraper
  • Double zip case

There are also specialty utensils that students may receive based on their program. Culinary Arts students and Pastry Arts students have different needs, for example, so their supplementary kits will look different.

Online Student Tools and Supplies

Online students receive the same uniform and toolkits as on-campus students.

They also get some starter pantry ingredients for cooking at home, like flour, salt, oil, and some spices. This can help reduce their shopping list as they begin their programs.

Black female culinary student glazing dough on a baking tray

Since they’re studying online, these students also have some technological needs, beginning with a computer. Students can provide their own computer, or they can purchase a Chromebook through Escoffier. To access their learning platforms, they’ll need either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browser installed on their computers.

They’ll also need a phone or camera for taking food photos, and a high-speed Internet connection. Most students already have all of this equipment at home!

Mitchell Rodriguez“Escoffier has given me the culinary and business tools, resources, knowledge, and self-confidence I need in order to make my dream a reality!”
Mitchell Rodriguez, Escoffier Online Culinary Arts Graduate and Sous Chef, Holiday Retirement

Get Enrolled and Get Cooking

The application process and requirements for culinary school vary depending on the institution. At Escoffier, we work hard to make the process as simple and quick as possible, so you can get enrolled and start learning.

If you have any questions about the application process or curriculum, our Admissions Department is available to help!

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