Culinary Arts Colleges in Denver, CO

The Mile High City, snuggled in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, brags of a rich Western heritage and an active, healthy, outdoor-loving population of 1.8 million. Outdoor activities abound, skiing, mountain biking, hiking, hunting, fishing, rock climbing, kayaking, river rafting–this list goes on. With a young, active population it is no surprise that Denver’s night life is also vibrant with a large choice of culinary offerings for any taste and any pocketbook. No longer a culinary backwater, Denver attracts quality chefs to a variety of high-end restaurants. Schooling in the city supports this growing need for food service professionals.

Denver Skyline.

Degrees in Culinary Arts

Students can select educational programs that range from intense, short-term programs that result in a certificate or diploma to four year bachelor’s degrees in hotel and restaurant management courses. Others may choose two-year course work that results in an associate’s degree. In addition, online course work is offered to those working in the field who want to move into management. Schooling opens the employment door, but hard work, dedication, creativity, and a strong desire to succeed lead to success in the culinary arts field.

Selecting the Right School

Education is expensive. Before you commit to an educational program or school, make sure the course offerings support your particular goal. A bachelor’s degree in restaurant or hotel management caters to managers. If you are excited by the art and science of food preparation, your education should specifically support that desire. A school that leads to hands-on food preparation should have a quality teaching staff with educational qualifications and credentials in the culinary arts field. Well connected teachers can help point students to new industry trends and opportunities when they graduate. Look for state-of-the-art cooking facilities and a good externship program that puts you in contact with local employers. The school should also have a proven track record in job placement.

Denver Culinary Job Market

Typical food industry salaries in Colorado range according to position, city, and experience.

Major metro areas like Denver tend to have high turnover in entry-level jobs.  Entry level jobs in the food and beverage industry do not have formal educational credentials nor required work experience to enter the field. According to the BLS these jobs earned an average of $12.49 an hour or a median of $25,980 per year in 2021.

The BLS projects that the job outlook of Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers category will grow 9% per annum from 2021 to 2031. In 2021 there were 4,146,000 jobs. About 955,100 jobs in the category open each year due to high turnover.

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics section of the BLS stated in May 2021 there were 129,810 chefs and head cooks nationwide. 3,010 of these people worked in the state of Colorado with an average mean wage of $59,540 – which is close to the national average of $56,920.

Graduates can explore a wide range of jobs across thousands of restaurants, resorts, schools, and hotels in Colorado. Many entry level workers or first-line supervisors do not require a degree. Those with a passion for food can explore further investment into their career and passion to try to earn a position as a head chef, an executive chef, or even a registered dietitian.

2021 wage data sourced from the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook. Current wage conditions in your area may vary.

On Campus Culinary Programs

University of Denver
2199 S. University Blvd.
Denver, CO 80210-4700
Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management
NCACS accredited

Emily Griffith Opportunity School
1250 Welton Street
Denver, CO 80204
Bakery/Pastry Chef, Diploma
NCACASI Accredited

Metropolitan State University of Denver
P.O. Box 173362
Denver, CO 80217
Cultural Arts
Hospitality Management
NCACS Accredited

Cook Street School of Fine Cooking
1937 Market St.
Denver, CO 80202
Fine Culinary Arts and Wine, diploma
SCDHEDPOS approved
ACF endorsed
No accreditation

Johnson & Wales University
7150 Montview Blvd
Denver, CO 80220
Baking and Pastry, AS
Culinary Arts, AS
Baking and Pastry Arts and Food Management, BA
Culinary Arts and Food Services Management, BA
NEASC Accredited

The International Culinary School at the Art Institutes of Denver
1200 Lincoln St.
Denver, CO 80203-2172
Baking and Pastry, Diploma, AA
Culinary Arts, AA, BS
The art of Cooking, Diploma
Food and Beverage Management, BA
NCCU & ACACF Accredited

Online Culinary Arts Learning

New England Culinary Institute
Hospitality and Restaurant Management, BA
ACCSC Accreditation

The Art Institute Online
Culinary Management
MSCH Accredited

University of Phoenix Online
Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management

Stratford University Online
Hotel and restaurant Management
Hospitality Management
ACICS Accredited

Sullivan University, E-learning
Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management

Ashworth College online
Hospitality and Restaurant Management
Gourmet Cooking and Catering
DETC Accredited

Le Cordon Bleu
Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Management

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