Culinary school ranks among ‘Top 20’ in US


The GRCC Secchia Institute for Culinary Education in downtown Grand Rapids is ranked one of the top culinary schools in the nation. Photo via

A local culinary school is one of the best in the nation.

Grand Rapids Community College’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education is featured among the comprehensive culinary programs in the ranking of “America’s Top 20 Culinary Schools” published last month by Full-Service Restaurant magazine.

“Of the 20 schools listed in the article, most are the large, well-known private schools, such as Le Cordon Bleu, Johnson and Wales or CIA, that have tuitions two to four times that of Secchia Institute,” said Dan Gendler, program director, GRCC Secchia Institute for Culinary Education. “All of our GRCC faculty and staff put so much effort into helping our students achieve, so it’s nice to be noticed on the national stage for our work.”


FSR magazine selected the top 20 culinary schools based on several criteria: a curriculum combining culinary theory and hands-on experience; off-campus internship and externship opportunities; ability to connect with industry professionals to keep skills and techniques updated; and class size ranging from 10 to 20 students in kitchen labs to ensure instructor accessibility.

The ranking is also based on the various disciplines in culinary arts offered by the institutions and prior awards or ratings by professional organizations.

The selected culinary schools have received an exemplary rating for at least three programs by the American Culinary Federation, a professional chefs’ organization founded in 1929.

Secchia Institute for Culinary Education

The institute at GRCC has been recognized by the American Culinary Federation Foundation Accrediting Commission for its programs in the culinary arts and baking and pastry arts for more than 20 years, according to its website.

In a 60,000-square-foot space, the institute gives students hands-on experience preparing and serving food under the supervision of faculty in on-campus restaurants, including Art & Bev’s Bistro and The Heritage.

Students can earn an associate’s degree in culinary management, baking and pastry arts, personal chef and culinary tracks. The institute also offers certificates in baking and pastry arts and for personal chefs.

The institute was founded in 1980 and is located on GRCC’s main campus in downtown Grand Rapids.

Cooking industry

The chef market is expected to grow 5 percent between 2012 and 2022, while the employment level for cooks is anticipated to increase 10 percent in the same timeframe, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Although most chefs and cooks gain skills through work experience, a growing number of people are pursuing formal training through a culinary school, technical school or four-year institution, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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