Can a Vegan Go to Culinary School?


Being a chef is probably the most obvious vegan career idea.

Unfortunately, vegans and culinary school don’t go well together.

Most “standard” culinary schools will compromise a bit with vegan cooks. They still have to cook with animal products, but don’t have to taste them. That still sucks in my opinion.

But as the demand for vegan chefs grows, there’s a slow shift in culinary schools happening.

There aren’t too many options, but there are a few accredited programs that you can use to launch your cooking career into a job or apprenticeship.

Natural Gourmet Center (New York)

natural gourmet center photo

This is the highest quality culinary school for vegans anywhere in the world.

It’s America’s first nationally accredited health-supportive, plant-based curriculum.

And real training programs come with a real cost: About $30,000 for 6-12 months of training.

This is not a course for hobbyists (stick to vegan TV shows in that case). But if you’re serious about being a chef for a career, that’s a reasonable investment.

Financial aid is available (mostly in the form of loans, not grants), especially for Americans.

Rouxbe’s Plant-Based Professional Certification Course

This is a much cheaper, but still fairly high quality and reputable option. It costs about $1,300 currently for the 6 month course.

Rouxbe offers online courses only, self-paced and available 24/7. When you successfully complete the course, you’ll get a certificate of completion.

An online course obviously won’t have the same credibility as a top in-person school, but it is recognized by the ACFEF (American Culinary Federation Education Foundation).

I’m not a chef, but from what I hear, most places hiring cooks and chefs care about skills a lot more than where you learned them from.

Other Options for Vegan Chefs?

Right now, there just aren’t many options aside from the above.

There are a few other online options as well, but many look a bit sketchy and low quality. I’d stick with Rouxbe if you’re looking for a high quality online course.

If you do happen to find other programs that I was not able to, please share them with other aspiring chefs in the comments below.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

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