The culinary industry in South Carolina plays a major role in the economy. Each year, residents and tourists spend over $9 billion in South Carolina restaurants. There are over 218,000 restaurant and foodservice jobs, with another 33,500 jobs expected to be added by 2026. Restaurant owners and hiring managers look for well educated and talented professionals to fill these positions, and earning a certificate or degree in the culinary arts is one way to stand out and get noticed!
We created a list of the top 10 best culinary schools in South Carolina. Schools included in our list offer hands-on training, a diverse culinary curriculum, internship/externship opportunities, and a positive reputation based on our research. Many of the schools featured in our list are accredited by the American Culinary Federation.
#10. Art Institute of Charleston-Charleston, South Carolina
Culinary Programs: Baking and Pastry Certificate; Culinary Arts Certificate; AA in Baking and Pastry; AA in Culinary Arts; BS in Culinary Arts Management
The Art Institute of Charleston features a wide variety of degree and certificate programs to meet the needs of those new to the industry and those who want to advance their careers. All programs are taught by experienced instructors in state-of-the-art kitchen labs, allowing students the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning throughout the program. Coursework covers areas such as cost control, sanitation, menu preparation, nutrition, and kitchen management. Students in the AA and BS degree programs look forward to their final course, a La Carte, where they prepare an extravagant “dining lab” for the public.
#9. Technical College of the Lowcountry-Beaufort, South Carolina
Culinary Program: Culinary Arts Certificate
The Technical College of the Lowcountry offers a Culinary Arts Certificate that can be completed in just four months. Students take 18 credit hours which include both online courses and hands-on courses taught on location at the Sea Pines Resort. Students complete internships at restaurants and resorts nearby to gain additional professional skills. The program is fast-paced and intense, much like the culinary field itself! Instructors are recognized professionals in the field and come from all over the world.
#8. Bob Jones University-Greenville, South Carolina
Culinary Program: Associate of Science in Culinary Arts
Bob Jones University is one of the few Christian institutions offering a culinary arts program. This top culinary school features an Associate of Science in Culinary Arts that can be completed in just two years. Students learn to determine food costs and develop appropriate menu pricing. They also learn different methods of cooking and receive hands-on instruction. Students learn how to make cheeses, sausages, baked goods, smoked foods, and wedding cakes. There is even a course in ice sculpting. Luncheons and fine dining events provide the opportunity to develop professional skills. Students even get experience working in a professional catering setting.
#7. Denmark Technical College-Denmark, South Carolina
Culinary Program: Certificate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts
Denmark Technical College is a top culinary school offering a Certificate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts for students who want to get into the industry on the ground level. Students in the program complete coursework related to food production, bakeshop production, sanitation, menu planning, and foodservice management. Skill development opportunities are offered in cooking techniques, cooking equipment use, and dining room operation. Culinary Students can also participate in the Culinary Arts Club, allowing them the opportunity for networking and professional development opportunities.
#6. University of South Carolina-Columbia, South Carolina
Culinary Program: Culinary Institute Certification
The University of South Carolina College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management features a Culinary Institute Certification Program designed to be completed in just one year. The program is comprised of 11 different courses offered in the evening to accommodate working professionals. Students spend four hours, two days per week, in a blended lecture/hands-on learning environment. Students complete courses in sanitation, seafood, meat cutting, baking, garde manger, and International cuisine. Students typically complete the program in order to advance their careers in the industry.
#5. Spartanburg Community College-Spartanburg, South Carolina
Culinary Program: Culinary Arts AAS Degree; Certificate in Culinary Arts
Spartanburg Community College offers both an AAS degree and Certificate in Culinary Arts that can prepare students for a career as a chef, baker, dining room host, server, or catering professional. The AAS program can be completed in under two years and includes hands-on coursework taught by experienced industry professionals. While students can enroll directly into the AAS degree program, it is designed for students who have already completed the Certificate program. Coursework covers areas such as baked goods and pastries, buffet planning, nutrition, dining room operations, and equipment operation. Students have access to a state of the art kitchen lab with all the modern conveniences found in a professional kitchen out in the field.
#4. Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College Greenville, South Carolina-Greenville, South Carolina
Culinary Program: Certificate in Baking and Pastry; Culinary Arts Certificate program
The Greenville Culinary program features two certificate options for students interested in Baking and Pastry and/or Culinary Arts. Students are able to earn both certificates in just 15 months. This top culinary school is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation. At Culinard, faculty take a personal approach to culinary education. They serve as mentors and assist students with job placement. Students work in state-of-the-art kitchen laboratories where they learn the skills to be successful and the foundation to establish themselves in the culinary industry.
#3. Horry-Georgetown Technical College-The International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach-Conway, South Carolina
Culinary Program: AAS Degree in Culinary Arts Technology; Certificate in Professional Cooking; Certificate in Kitchen and Food Preparation Techniques; Certificate in Baking and Pastry Arts
The International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach at Horry-Georgetown Technical College features a low student/ faculty ratio, allowing students to closely interact with their instructors. A new state-of-the-art culinary facility is planned for 2016 offering a nutrition lab, bakery laboratory, wine cellar, beverage bar, chef’s table, chef’s bar, and amphitheater. The new facility will allow the program to grow from about 170 students to over 400. There are also plans to offer a Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management degree program in the near future. Culinary students receive real-world training at the student-run restaurant, Fowler Dining Room, by preparing and serving a variety of dishes sourced from local produce, meat, cheese, and eggs.
#2. Culinary Institute of Charleston, Trident Technical College-Charleston, South Carolina
Culinary Program: AAS Degree in Baking and Pastry; AAS Degree in Culinary Arts Technology(exemplary); Certificate in Artisanal Foods; Certificate in Baking and Pastry; Certificate in Culinary Arts; Culinary Manager Certificate; Restaurant Cook Certificate; Baking and Pastry Advanced Certificate; Advanced Chocolate and Cake Certificate
The Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College has been a leader in the culinary education industry for over 25 years. This top culinary school is accredited by the American Culinary Federation and features a low student/faculty ratio, state-of-the-art equipment, and hands-on training. Two student-run restaurants, Relish Restaurant and 181 Palmer provide students with the opportunity to apply their skills in a fine dining setting. TTC features many different culinary degrees and certificate programs to meet the needs of culinary students at every level on their career path. Graduates are prepared to work in traditional culinary settings as well as in sports/nutrition, private homes, research, and health care.
#1. Culinary Institute of the Carolinas At Greenville Technical College-Greenville, South Carolina
Culinary Program: AAS Degree in Culinary Arts Technology (exemplary); Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate in Applied Science; Culinary Education Certificate in Applied Science; Sustainable Agriculture Certificate in Applied Science
The Culinary Institute of the Carolinas At Greenville Technical College is accredited by the American Culinary Federation and features state-of-the-art facilities, including five kitchens. Students also have access to an ice carving room, blast chiller, and programmable combination ovens. A student-operated dining room allows students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in a professional work setting. Over 80% of culinary courses at GTC are offered in the evening or on the weekend. Culinary students learn about nutrition, menu preparation, customer service, kitchen safety, sanitation, culinary and baking science, and quality standards.