If you find yourself strolling through the grocery store aisles looking for new ingredients to sample, or if you consider yourself a “foodie,” then this list is for you! We’re breaking down the top 20 colleges for food lovers. The colleges found below don’t just have proximity to yummy restaurants, but also have culinary programs or activities on campus. So, cleanse your palate and review this heavenly sampling of possibilities.   

1. Best College for Cheese Lovers

University of Wisconsin-Madison

On-campus feature 

Most badgers don’t each cheese, but count Bucky Badger as the exception. UWM houses a Center for Dairy Research as part of its College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. A fully operational dairy plant, the Center advances research in areas as varied as microbiology to  quality assurance to plant efficiency. The Center also hosts short courses in Ice Cream Retailing and Milk Pasteurization.   

Off-campus attraction
From Fromagination to the Wisconsin Cheese Shop, you’ll find artisan cheeses aplenty in downtown Madison.

2. If You’re Looking for Dinner and a Show

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

On-campus feature

Foodies know that taste isn’t the only factor in finding the perfect meal. Ambiance and presentation count for a lot too! At the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality, students learn the ins and outs of the service industry. They have courses on everything from casino technology to wine pairings. 

Off-campus attraction

The Las Vegas Strip is nothing if not sensational and the over-the-top atmosphere doesn’t stop at the hotels. You’ll find some of the world’s best buffets, fine dining, and even lovable greasy spoon diners.  

3. Good Food 24-7

Culinary Institute of America, New York campus

On-campus feature

If you want food to be your passion and your profession, look no further than the Culinary Institute of America. They offer pathways to a variety of culinary and industry-related careers.

Off-campus attraction

You only need to take a short drive to New York City to find some of the best food in the city that never sleeps. Let your taste buds guide you on a food tour of the city where you can sample food from nearly every ethnicity.   

4. Michelin Star Gazing

University of San Francisco

On-campus feature

The USF Magazine just printed its first Food and Drink edition. The University owns its own organic farm and hopes to become a soldier in the fight against food insecurity on campus and in its hometown. You might say that food is baked into the culture here. 

Off-campus attraction

San Francisco boasts the greatest number of 3-star Michelin restaurants in the country. And, with Napa Valley close by, you can channel your inner sommelier (for those of age, of course!). 

5. Beer Aficionados

University of Denver

On-campus feature

The DU Foodie Club fosters fellowship through the breaking of bread. Students learn about other cultures and ethnicities by visiting restaurants around town. 

Off-campus attraction

With the amount of craft breweries in the Metro Area, Denver is arguably the Beer Capital of America. Be sure to sample those bespoke brews legally and responsibly. 

6. Food as Medicine

Simmons University, Boston

On-campus feature

A variety of programs in Nutrition, Dietetics, and Health Promotion allow students to look at food in a medicinal manner.  

Off-campus feature

Food and Boston go hand in hand. Fortunately, you can walk off the calories from that lobster roll or Boston cream pie by walking the Freedom Trail or hoofing it around the city. 

7. Farm-to-Table 

Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH

On-campus feature

Farm-to-Table campus dining options incorporate fresh, locally-sourced ingredients into menu items. 

Off-campus feature

The Buckeye state is filled with local farmers markets featuring some of the best produce the Midwest has to offer. But if you’re in the mood for something sweeter, check out the annual Banana Split Festival in Wilmington, OH. The festival honors the birthplace of the banana split and features a weekend filled with events paying homage to the sweet treat.

8. If You Scream for Ice Cream

Penn State

On-campus feature

The Ice Cream Short Course attracts students from around the world to learn the ins and outs of ice cream manufacturing. The 7-day program covers topics from “cow to cone”, including research and development, production and quality control, and sales and manufacturing.

Off-campus feature

The Penn State Berkey Creamery ships your favorite ice cream to 48 states. A staple in central Pennsylvania, the creamery first opened in 1865. The online retail store features over 20 sweet and creamy flavors ready to be delivered straight to your door.

9. Maple Syrup Seekers

University of Vermont

On-campus feature

Maple syrup serves as a staple among breakfast tables across the country. At the Proctor Maple Research Center, students learn about the collection of syrup from sugar maple trees and chemistry of sap.  

Off-campus feature

Visit a maple syrup farm during sugaring season (mid-February through April) and view a demonstration of the transformation from sap to syrup.

10. Cajun and Creole

University of New Orleans

On-campus feature

The Food Adventurers and Culture Club is perfect for the foodie looking to diversify their palate. Students and staff meet twice a month to learn about (and taste!) food from different cultures. The best part? Once a month the meetings are held in a restaurant in the New Orleans area. 

Off-campus feature

New Orleans dishes are famous for their Cajun and Creole roots. Take a stroll down the streets of the Historic French Quarter, where you’ll find plenty of restaurants to choose from. Order a traditional dish like gumbo or jambalaya for dinner and save room for beignets for dessert!

11. Fresh Seafood

Oregon State University

On-campus feature

The Food Committee is a student organization affiliated with the Oregon Section Institute of Food Technologists. Students receive hands-on training from culinary workshops and even learn to smoke salmon during the club’s annual trip to Astoria Seafood Lab.

Off-campus feature

Foodies have the option of dining on fresh seafood locally sourced from Newport, OR in addition to touring the farmer-owned Tillamook Cheese Factory.

12. Food(ie) Festivals

The Art Institute of Austin

On-campus feature

Foodies may know their way around the kitchen, but the Culinary Arts program elevates a student’s understanding of the global cuisine and the food service industry. The curriculum covers culinary techniques, management by menu, nutrition, and foodservice technology.

Off-campus feature

The Austin Food + Wine Festival attracts foodies from all over the world. A blend of gourmet dishes to sample, live music to dance to, and a vibrant community make events like the “Rock Your Taco” competition a fun and tasty attraction.

13. Southern Hospitality

Savannah Technical College

On-campus feature

New to the art of cooking? The Culinary Arts Diploma covers the fundamentals of baking and cooking principles as well as leadership and career success skills. 

Off-campus feature

Sample traditional southern dishes, including shrimp and grits and fried green tomatoes at the annual Savannah Food Truck festival. Thousands attend each year to visit craft vendors, participate in outdoor yoga, and of course – taste food.

14. For the Instagraming Foodie

Nossi College of Art, Nashville, TN

On-campus feature

Nossi offers a Food Photography course that teaches the basics of photographing food. Learn the tricks of the trade, including lighting and shopping for props, that will showcase each mouth-watering detail of your meal.

Off-campus feature

Located in Nashville, TN, foodies can expect to dine on hot chicken and barbecue while listening to sweet sounds of country music. 

15. Cuban-Inspired

University of Miami

On-campus feature

The Division of Student Affairs offers a “College Survival Cooking” class to help students learn the basics of preparing meals on a college budget. 

Off-campus feature

Foodies can start their day in Miami with a Cafe Cubano and later indulge in empanadas after a day at the beach.

16. Salivating over the Southwest 

Arizona State University

On-campus feature

For foodies interested in the business of food, a degree in food industry management from ASU’s W. P. Carey School may be the right fit. 

Off-campus feature

Treat yourself to southern Arizona’s Mexican-inspired dishes, including ceviche, tostadas and chimichangas at the Arizona Taco Festival. Held each fall, foodies can enjoy a taco eating contest, hot sauce expo, and live music.

17. Deep Dish for Days

University of Illinois ACES 

On-campus feature

Undergraduates are offered a Food Science Minor option featuring courses like Food Analysis and Sensory Evaluation of Food.

Off-campus feature

Illinois doesn’t disappoint when it comes to food. With Chicago located within a few hours’ drive, foodies can fill up on a slice of deep-dish pizza or a Chicago-style hotdog.

18. Coastal Cuisine

University of Maryland Extension

On-campus feature

University of Maryland Extension’s Grow It Eat It program teaches students to cultivate their own food using sustainable practices. 

Off-campus feature

Maryland is known for culinary dishes featuring the delicate blue crab. Dine at a local crab house to find out what makes these crustaceans irresistible to seafood lovers.

19. Wings and Things

University at Buffalo

On-campus feature

For the foodie interested in learning the fundamentals of nutrition, University at Buffalo’s Nutrition Minor is designed to accompany an array of undergraduate majors, including Psychology and Exercise Science.

Off-campus feature

Buffalo’s claim to fame is the chicken wing. Foodies flock to Buffalo to dine at the restaurants that first served deep fried wings in a spicy “Buffalo” sauce.

20. Paradise in the Pacific

University of Hawai’i, Maui College

On-campus feature

As part of the University of Hawai’i Maui College, the Maui Food Innovation Center offers non-credit and certificate-based training programs to help aspiring local food entrepreneurs bring their products to market.

Off-campus feature

This island in the Pacific is known for traditional Hawaiian dishes often found at a luau. From kalua pig to mahi mahi, your taste buds won’t be disappointed!

These schools offer foodies the opportunity to expand their palate while studying in the most delicious cities in the country. Need help finding the right school for you? Check out our College Search Tool.

 

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