This is Where the Top Master-Chefs of the World Studied Culinary Arts!

Is the inner chef inside of you just wanting to express himself/herself in the world of culinary arts? So did the greatest Master-Chefs in the World! 

However, these people did not just become great overnight with raw talent alone. They needed to hone their passion and develop the skills in order to shine in the world and stand out amongst the competition. 

Ever wondered how these top chefs started out their culinary career? Continue reading to find out!


Anthony Bourdain – Culinary Institute of America, New York, USA.

He was a well-established Executive Chef at Brasserie Les Halles in Manhattan, New York. 

He wrote an article, “Don’t Read Before Eating This” which was published in The New Yorker in 1997 to rave reviews. 

Bourdain then started appearing in TV Shows, like ‘A Cook’s Tour’ and his eponymous, ‘Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations’. He also authored several books, which includes Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.

Bourdain attended and pursued a degree at Vassar College for two years and then graduated from the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, in 1978.


Emeril Lagasse – Diman Vocational High School, Massachusetts, America.

A famous chef, restaurateur and television personality, Emeril Lagasse owns a restaurant empire of six establishments. 

He endorsed his own line of cookware called Emerilware. Lagasse’s other endeavors include regular guest appearances on Good Morning America, as well as four bestselling cookbooks—Louisiana Real and Rustic (1996), Emeril’s Creole Christmas (1997), Emeril’s TV Dinners (1998) and Every Day’s a Party (1999).

As a teenager, he developed a passion for cooking while working at a local Portuguese bakery. 

He later enrolled in the culinary arts program at Diman Vocational High School in Fall River, Massachusetts, in 1973.


Chef Wan – California Culinary Academy, America.

Datuk Redzuawan Bin Ismail, or better known as Chef Wan, is comfortably the most famous chef in Malaysia. In 2009, he won the Best Celebrity Television Chef of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. 

The king of Malaysia bestowed the honorary title of ‘Datuk’ on Wan in February 2010, which was followed by his appointment as ‘culinary ambassador’ by Tourism Malaysia the same year. 

He has authored a dozen cookbooks which includes, “Chef Wan’s Sweet Treats: 240 Pastry Recipes from Asia’s Most Flamboyant Food Ambassador” about baking and pastry, which was released in Malaysia in 2012. 

Then, in 2013, Wan beat six other international chefs, including Jamie Oliver, to bag the award for best English-language television chef at the prestigious Gourmand Awards in Paris. 

Wan has also hosted numerous TV shows, including East Bites West, which featured him driving around the UK in a flowery food truck educating the British public about Asian cuisine.

He holds an Associate Degree in Professional Chef Training and Hotel Management from the California Culinary Academy and a Ritz Escoffier Diploma from the Hôtel Ritz Paris.


Martin Yan – Overseas Institute of Cookery of Hong Kong

He is both a chef and food writer who began hosting the acclaimed PBS cooking show Yan Can Cook in 1982. He received an honorary Doctorate of Culinary Arts by Johnson & Wales University and has won a Daytime Emmy Award as well as two James Beard Awards for Best TV Food Journalism and Best TV Cooking Show.

He first started cooking when he was 12 years old. He worked at his uncle’s Chinese restaurant while attending Munsang College before receiving a diploma from the Overseas Institute of Cookery of Hong Kong, and later a Master of Science degree in food science from University of California, Davis.


Rocco DiSpirito – Culinary Institute of America, New York, America

A celebrity chef, he has published numerous cookbooks and remains active in radio and television. 

He gained experience working at the popular New York restaurant Lespinasse in the 1990s before opening his own successful Manhattan restaurant, Union Pacific, in 1997. DiSpirito later broke into the TV industry with a show on the Food Network called The Melting Pot in 2000. 

His reality show The Restaurant showcased the opening of his New York restaurant, Rocco.

Influenced by his Italian heritage and the traditional dishes his mother cooked, he studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, at age 16 and then at the Jardin de Cygne in France.


Todd English – Culinary Institute of America, New York, America

Since opening his first Mediterranean-influenced Olives restaurant in 1989, English has gone on to become a prolific restaurateur, chef, cookbook author, and television personality. 

His restaurants span the continent, from New York to Las Vegas to Florida (and even the high seas, with restaurants on the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Victoria). 

Like English himself, his restaurants have received numerous accolades, beginning with Boston Magazine’s “Best New Restaurant” for the original Olives.

Todd English began his cooking career at the young age of 15 when he first entered the doors of a professional kitchen. At 20, he attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and graduated in 1982 with honors.


Vikas Khanna – Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, France

Hailing from India, Khanna owns an upscale Indian restaurant, Junoon, in New York, which was awarded a Michelin Star for six consecutive years. 

He has even gone on to cook for President Obama, twice, at the White House, and even gifted his cookbook, Utsav (one of the most expensive in the world) to Queen Elizabeth II.

After graduating from the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration in Manipal, India, Khanna pursued further study under many renowned chefs in India and beyond. 

Khanna continued his training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and, eventually landing in the United States, he studied at Cornell, New York University, and the Culinary Institute of America. He is pictured here receiving a Doctorate.


Grant Achatz – Culinary Institute of America, New York, America

Achatz is an American chef whose culinary innovations made him a leader in the cuisine inspired by molecular gastronomy. 

He was named Best New Chef (2002) by Food and Wine magazine and Rising Star Chef (2003) by the James Beard Foundation (JBF). In 2005 in Chicago he and Nick Kokonas (an enthusiastic Trio customer) launched Alinea, where Achatz had free rein for his increasingly inventive style. 

Within two years Gourmet magazine pronounced Alinea the country’s best restaurant. In 2008 the JBF named Achatz the best chef in the United States, and in 2010 Alinea was awarded a coveted three stars from the Michelin Guide.

Achatz grew up in a small town in eastern Michigan, where he worked at his parents’ family restaurant. He then attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and graduated in 1994.


Clare Smyth – Highbury College, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

She was Chef Patron at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay from 2012 to 2016. She became the first female British chef to hold and retain three Michelin stars. 

Smyth won the Chef of the Year award in 2013 and achieved a perfect score in the 2015 edition of the Good Food Guide. 

Smyth regularly appears on television shows such as Masterchef and Saturday Kitchen. In 2017, Smyth opened her first restaurant, Core, in London. It has been awarded two Michelin stars in the 2019 Michelin Guide.

Her culinary aspirations began when she left school at sixteen to study catering at Highbury College in Portsmouth, Hampshire. While at culinary college, Smyth served an apprenticeship at Grayshott Hall, Surrey.


Bobby Flay – The French Culinary Institute, California, America

He is the owner and executive chef of several restaurants: Mesa Grill in Las Vegas and the Bahamas; Bar Americain in New York and at Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, Connecticut; Bobby Flay Steak in Atlantic City; Gato in New York, and Bobby’s Burger Palace in 19 locations across 11 states.

He discovered his culinary identity at the age of 17, working as a cook at the famed theatre district haunt, Joe Allen’s. 

After a short time, Joe Allen himself became so impressed by Bobby’s talents that he paid the young cook’s tuition to The French Culinary Institute in Campbell, California, which Flay attended after earning his high school equivalency of a diploma.


Why study culinary arts? 

Follow your passion. If you love being in the kitchen cooking, baking or creating your own dishes, then the culinary arts is an opportunity for you to do something that you are passionate about while earning a living. Chefs are passionate about food and how food brings people together so you’re in the right place. 

Learn and develop professional culinary skills. You will have the opportunity to learn professional culinary techniques. Mastering these skills will enable you to be a top chef. You’ll discover different styles of cuisine and may want to specialize in it. The right technical skills will open up a world of possibilities in this industry. 

Train under master chefs. When you study culinary arts, you will have the opportunity to train under experienced chefs. Jumpstart your career by learning all you can from the masters of this industry. 

Open your own restaurant. Once you’re confident of your skills, you can choose to open your own restaurant. If running your own restaurant is your dream, then culinary arts is definitely one of the best paths that you can take. You’ll learn the skills needed in the kitchen, as well as how to manage and operate your own restaurant. 

Travel around the world. Professional chefs are needed around the world so once you’ve completed your professional qualification, you may choose to travel the world and work in some of the best restaurants or hotels in the world. Travel also brings great experience. You will be inspired by the different cultures and cuisines as you continue to sharpen your skills as a chef. 


What do you learn in culinary arts? 

Culinary schools aim to develop and hone your culinary skills. You will learn all you need to know to have a successful culinary career. Here are some common subjects in culinary arts:

  • Food and beverage services
  • Kitchen operations and management
  • Food hygiene and sanitation
  • Menu creation
  • Patisserie and baking

As part of your course, you will most likely have to undergo an internship or industrial training to gain experience in this industry. 


What can you do with a culinary arts certificate? 

Culinary school graduates can seek employment in the food and beverage industry. You will also be highly sought after in the hospitality industry. Some of the careers you can pursue with a culinary arts certificate or degree include:

  • Executive chef 
  • Sous chef
  • Commis chef
  • Station chef
  • Pastry chef
  • Restaurant manager
  • Food service manager
  • F&B manager
  • Food marketing


Is culinary arts for you? 

If you’re still deciding whether culinary arts is suitable for you, here are some questions that you can ask yourself. 

  • Do you love being in the kitchen? 
  • Do you like creating and working with your hands? 
  • Do you like to experiment with recipes and ingredients? 
  • Are you able to work under pressure? 
  • Are you okay with working on your feet for long hours? 
  • Do you want to start your own business in the F&B industry? 
  • Are you able to work in a team? 



Culinary school is the first step towards being a top master chef. If becoming a professional chef is your dream, then don’t delay. You might just be the next world-famous master chef. 

So ready to light up your passion in Culinary Arts? With the proper training and guidance, you can be like them too! Start today with UOW Malaysia KDU’s culinary arts program.

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