Culinary schools might not be the most common type of colleges in the United States, but there are still plenty that have excellent reputations. When it comes to the absolute best, however, there are only a few. The most famed and acclaimed of culinary arts institutions have earned their reputation by producing some of the finest recipes, cooking pedagogy and, of course, skilled chefs famous for their restaurants or work as TV cooking personalities. Learn more about these most prestigious cooking schools, whether you're looking to enroll or simply discover more about the world of the professional chef.

The Culinary Institute Of America

Located in Hyde Park, New York City, the Culinary Institute of America was founded in 1946 and is a nonprofit organization offering classes to both professionals and amateur chefs. The CIA is the publisher of a line of cookbooks, including, "The Professional Chef," a standard culinary education text. Notable alumni of the CIA include Anthony Bourdain, Cat Cora, Anne Burrel and Dan Coudreaut, executive chef of McDonald's.

New England Culinary Institute

The New England Culinary Institute was established in 1980 and currently has two campuses in Vermont. The NECI boasts a high teacher-to-student ratio and instructs via a highly hands-on approach with an emphasis on sustainability in the food industry. Alumni of NECI include Alton Brown, Steve Corry and Steve Jackson, personal chef to the Chicago Bulls.

Le Cordon Bleu

Though famous for its culinary academy, Le Cordon Bleu is, in fact, a hospitality education school also offering course work in hotel management. The school was founded by Marthe Distel and officially opened in 1895 in Paris as a permanent home for cooking lessons sponsored by the culinary magazine, "La Cuisiniere Cordon Bleu." Today, Le Cordon Bleu is an international brand with 35 cooking school branches located on five continents. Notable Le Cordon Bleu alumni include Giada De Laurentiis, Mario Batali and Julia Child.

L'Acadamie De Cuisine

L'Acadamie De Cuisine is a U.S,-based school of French cuisine founded in 1976 by Francois Dionot. The school previously has been honored with the Cooking School of the Year award by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. The school includes amateur and professional divisions, with the professional division divided into culinary and pastry arts career preparation. Noted alumni of L'Acadamie De Cuisine include Virginia Willis, Harriet Siew and Carla Hall.

Johnson And Wales University

The culinary division of Johnson and Wales University is headed by Karl Guggenmos, a renowned WACS Master Chef and alumnus. The culinary school has divisions at all four of the J&W campuses across the United States featuring course work in cooking and restaurant management. Noted alumni of the school include Rahman Harper, Johnny Carino, the executive chef of Sara Lee, and Emeril Lagasse.

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