"We teach you how to cook, not how to follow a recipe"

Start your application by talking with our admissions team

About our program

This year-long professional culinary diploma program is for anyone who wants to learn modern cooking techniques and pursue a career in culinary industry.

Whether you’re changing careers, your dream is to own a food-related business, or you’re a beginner who just graduated from high school, you receive the skills needed to make your culinary dreams a reality.

Start your application by talking with our admissions team

Learn modern recipes and techniques used in today’s restaurants.

You’re trained to become a seasoned culinary professional as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is done through a combination of focused curriculum, repetitious practice to develop muscle memory and restaurant mentorship opportunities.

Gain industry experience as a paid apprentice.

Your enrollment includes placement in one of our partner restaurants as a paid apprentice. This gets you integrated right into the industry, so you can start making an income before even receiving your diploma.

Start your application by talking with our admissions team

See what our students think about us

Alexis Rinaldi

About a year and a half ago, I decided to make a major career change to the culinary industry. I enrolled in CulinaryLab's Professional Culinary School for several reasons: reasonable tuition, small c...  more

Veronica Reyes

Amazing place to learn how to cook. Learning is immersive and very hands-on. Their professional track not only teaches you culinary techniques but also provides great insight into the foodservice indu...  more

Samantha L.

I recently graduated from the Culinary Lab and man was it worth it! Let me start by just saying what an amazing support system you get when you enroll in the Culinary Lab. Stacy and Chef Ryan, actuall...  more

Christy Licato

My daughter attended CulinaryLab Cooking School and loved it. She is now very knowledgeable and doing all kinds of things. I highly recommend this program; the staff is extremely competent and the p...  more

Charles W Rose

The highly trained chefs and instructors at CulinaryLab, are passionate about cooking and instructing future chefs on the skills required to cook professionally. We all know the difference between bei...  more

Yair R.

This school is hands down amazing! I'm from their first graduating class and I can say hands down I'm so glad I came here and not some other cooking school. Price wise it was cheaper than any other sc...  more

Karma M.

The chefs are great & very passionate about teaching. I was in the previous school they thought at, and if I had known this one was opening I would have gone here instead. The price is much more a...  more

Victoria Varon

I recently came out to the school to watch some professional chef instructor demos and must say I was blown away from the moment I walked in! The space itself is gorgeous... super modern and aestheti...  more

Amanda C.

CulinaryLab is run by a group of the more talented and passiknate chefs I've ever had the pleasure of learning from. If youre looking for a school that will get you on the right track into starting yo...  more

Bill Michael

Unbelievable great concept new students will surly get a hands on quality education

Victoria V.

I recently came out to the school to watch some professional chef instructor demos and must say I was blown away from the moment I walked in! The space itself is gorgeous... super modern and aestheti...  more

Sandi Jimenez

I participated in a culinary workshop and it was excellent. I highly recommend it.

Vollie Barton Mathews

The curriculum is tailored to people wanting to enter the field and pursue their dream to be a chef or pastry chef. it provides real world experience and education that is relevant to the workplace. f...  more

Sandie Diamond

I support CulinaryLab Cooking School 100% and believe in their model and mission!!

Rob Ladd

I got the chance to attend an open house event at CulinaryLab where each of the instructors did a culinary demo. I got to tour the school and speak to some of the team. I have a background in culinary...  more
Overall rate: 4.87/5

What you learn at CulinaryLab Cooking School

This 12-month program is broken down into the following five sections:

Part 1: SKILLS

Knife Skills & Vegetable Cookery | Salads & Dressings | Soups | Grains & Legumes | Plant-Based Cooking

Part 2: WHOLE ANIMAL

Poultry | Pig | Lamb + Beef | Finfish | Shellfish

Part 3: MODERN TECHNIQUES

Plate Design | Advanced Plant-Based | Sauces 2.0 | Modernist Techniques | Plating for the Camera

Part 4: SPECIALTY

Pastry 1: Breads | Pastry 2: Fundamentals | Pastry 3: Plated | Small Bites + Buffet Design | Family and Friends Buffet

Part 5: APPRENTICESHIP

1,000 Hours | Top Local Chefs & Bakers | Learning Modules Include: Culinary Career Paths, Field Trips, & Menu Development

Start your application by talking with our admissions team

Professional-level culinary instruction that gives you options after graduation

When you graduate from CulinaryLab, you leave with the knowledge and connections needed to excel in a variety of culinary careers.

Some students continue working where they apprenticed, others use their new network to land a different restaurant job. Others start their own businesses. The bottom line is, your CulinaryLab Diploma gives you the freedom to pursue whatever culinary career you desire.

What our industry partners say about our students

Andrew is doing a great job. He has taken on more responsibility, and at the stage he is in, I think he is doing very well. Whenever I give him constructive feedback, I know that it will be implemented immediately. This is a sign of how seriously he takes his job and I am thrilled to have him on my team.

Chef Craig Strong (Studio at Montage)

Morgan has shown a lot of motivation and a true eagerness to learn. He is a quick learner and I honestly forget that this is his first kitchen job. I hope that he continues to be a valuable asset to our team here for as long as possible.

Chef Devin Meyer (Terrace by Mix Mix)

Emily is great worker, with a high level of work ethic and follow through. We are very pleased to have Emily on our staff, and we look forward to her future growth in our company.

Chef Marlin Salazar (24 Carrots Catering)

Both Somi and Andy are amazing talents. They have learned their responsibilities in a short period of time, so thank you to your team for doing a great job. They are very pleasant and hardworking associates. They have blended in with all our values and have become Montage ambassadors. I am looking forward to more talents from your school to be selected and start working with Montage.

Chef Prabeen Prathapan (The Loft at Montage)

Cooper has gone a long way since he first started. Every week he has progressed in his work, and I'm really glad to see that he has taken on the challenges that I have given him. He’s still learning in this stage of his career, but I love his determination on accomplishing goals and continuing on being better every day.

Chef Jason Montelibano (Chapter One)

Molly has been a role model employee since day one. She has embraced our culture and followed the department guidelines. She displays commitment to excellence and monitors her own work. Molly is always enthusiastic to help guests and coworkers. She has built relationships based on trust and respect with her supervisors and peers.

Chef Jeff Lehuede (Resort at Pelican Hill)
Group-4

Chef Ryan

Owner of CulinaryLab

"My vision and belief"

I started CulinaryLab because I saw significant gaps in the traditional culinary school model, so I identified the opportunity to provide a more modern approach and address these shortcomings. I’ve worked for over 20 years in the industry, attended as a student at a traditional culinary school, and then later taught at another one. Class sizes were large and students worked in groups, preventing them from working hands-on with every technique and getting the one-on-one support …  more

I started CulinaryLab because I saw significant gaps in the traditional culinary school model, so I identified the opportunity to provide a more modern approach and address these shortcomings. I’ve worked for over 20 years in the industry, attended as a student at a traditional culinary school, and then later taught at another one. Class sizes were large and students worked in groups, preventing them from working hands-on with every technique and getting the one-on-one support they needed. Students were given lengthy textbooks to learn from and long lecture classes to attend. Tuition prices were as high as $100,000 for training that would only lead to students getting entry-level roles.

Bottom line, students were spending a lot of money and not getting the results they came for. I knew there was a better way. So I created CulinaryLab with the idea of making culinary education more contemporary and accessible. We teach students the way we know they learn best, with small class sizes, hands-on immersive learning, video-driven content, and a price tag that aligns with industry wages. We work directly with local chefs and business owners to find great kitchens for our students to work in while they’re still in school. It’s a key part of their training. We get students from newbie to working professional as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’s a straightforward model that gets great results.

Less

The founder Chef Ryan looks put for you and pushes you to be a better person, cook and everything in between. He hand selected the teachers based on his criteria and it shows. “

Chef Wagner has truly outdone himself and created a culinary school like no other that will no doubt rise to the top and be extraordinarily successful!”

What I know of Ryan Wagner, I am sure he is surrounding himself with knowledgeable and accomplished instructors. If you are looking to get into the culinary field, I would recommend checking this school out before deciding on where to study.”

Briana Bieluck

Director of Education

Rudy Kloeble

Culinary Chef Instructor

Tanit Parnprome

Culinary Chef Instructor

“I was so impressed with the Chef Instructors, the facility, the method of teaching and the over all course itself.“

“Love these people, to them you're not just a student, they treat everyone with love and support and they want nothing but to help you succeed and reach your goals.“

“All of the staff at the school are extremely professional and kind at the same time. It is amazing how much you learn from the staff, they continually focus on making sure the students are the focus.“

“The teachers are phenomenal! Each one not only give you lessons in cooking but also in life. They all genuinely want you to succeed in your career. Even after graduating they still keep in touch and help whenever they can.“

“The chefs are great & very passionate about teaching.“

“The chefs were all articulate, patient experts in their respective crafts and you could tell they were excited about teaching and sharing their knowledge with others. True foodies.“

“CulinaryLab is run by a group of the more talented and passionate chefs I've ever had the pleasure of learning from.“

“Colleen is the best at what she does and makes it fun.“

“Chef Mike helped me with ServSafe. Tyler, Sarah H., and Sarah were awesome as well.“

“It was wonderful experience to be in class under Chef Brianna's instruction. She is so knowledgeable and helpful.“

“The entire staff is so supportive & encouraging beginning with Founders Chef Ryan & Lisa Wagner. Chef Colleen is amazing“

“The teachers are excellent and truly help you both by showing you the proper way and correcting your mistakes.“

“All of the staff at the school are extremely professional and kind at the same time. It is amazing how much you learn from the staff, they continually focus on making sure the students are the focus.“

“Chef Paul was great!“

“When you first meet the instructors at The Culinary Lab they might be intimidating and what might come to mind is some episode of kitchen nightmares with Ramsey! but rest assured, they are the most approachable chefs you will ever meet!aaaaand the knowledge and resources the instructors poses @The Culinary Lab is abundant!“

“The collaborative environment makes for a fun atmosphere and Chef Matt encouraged everyone to ask any question we had. “

“The chefs are great & very passionate about teaching.“

“Chef Mike is an amazing teacher and really takes the time to go into detail and explain techniques.“

“The teachers are phenomenal! Each one not only give you lessons in cooking but also in life. They all genuinely want you to suceed in your careeer. Even after graduating they still keep in touch and help whenever they can.“

“I have been in classes taught by both Chef Wagner and Chef Johnson. They are both fantastic, knowledgable, approachable, witty and talented“

“CulinaryLab is run by a group of the more talented and passionate chefs I've ever had the pleasure of learning from.“

“The chefs were all articulate, patient experts in their respective crafts and you could tell they were excited about teaching and sharing their knowledge with others. True foodies.“

Start your application by talking with our admissions team

FAQ

Why is CulinaryLab so affordable compared to other culinary schools?

At $25,000 for the entire program, CulinaryLab costs less than most traditional culinary schools. We keep fees as low as possible because we don’t believe it’s fair to stick students with high debt after graduation. This is also one reason why we place you in an apprenticeship. You’re able to make money that you can put toward your education or to cover your costs while learning.

Do you offer financial assistance?

While we don't accept FAFSA, we work with two student loan companies to offer payment plans. Keep in mind, during your 1,000-hour apprenticeship, you make a minimum of $13,000 before graduation.

Can I choose my schedule?

We offer morning (7:00 am to 2:30 pm) and evening (3:00 pm to 10:30 pm) class options two days a week (Monday and Tuesday or Wednesday and Thursday) throughout the year. Our program is two days per week to accomdate students with outside jobs and/or family responsibilities.

Do you guarantee a job after graduation?

You graduate from CulinaryLab with the knowledge and connections needed to excel in a variety of culinary careers. A 1,000-hour paid apprenticeship program is part of the program. Many of our students stay at that job after graduation.

Do I have to take all the classes?

Chef Ryan and the team have narrowed down this program as much as absolute possible to teach students only what really matters. In order to leave CulinaryLab with the quality education and experience we think is necessary to succeed in the industry, students are required to complete all Five parts.

How soon can I get started?

Classes typically fill up quickly. However, we regularly start new sessions. So, if your application is accepted, you can begin in a few weeks.

COVID-19: What safety measures are we taking during COVID?

CulinaryLab takes many steps to ensure student safety, including mandatory face coverings, small class sizes, individual work (no partners), hourly disinfecting of high-traffic areas, and socially distant work stations. Each cooking station is six feet from the next, and chef demonstrations take place at the front of the room with video cameras and large monitors. Accomodations are made for students and staff to ensure that they can stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms.

Where are classes held?

CulinaryLab has two locations, one is located in Tustin, California, right off the 55 Freeway and 17th Street, next to Mimi's Café, and the other in Santa Ana at 4th Street Market.

17231 17th St. B
Tustin, CA 92780

201E 4th St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Pro Culinary in Action

Pro Culinary in Action

CulinaryLab compared to the traditional culinary school model

CulinaryLab's Approach

Exclusively Video-driven, hands-on
education in the kitchen
Modern Recipes + Techniques used in restaurants
today
16 Students Per Class
Contemporary Uniform
1,000-hour Paid Apprenticeship
$25,000

Traditional Approach

Textbooks + Lecture Halls + Hands-on
in the kitchen
Traditional French recipes and techniques
 
14-30 Students Per Class
Traditional Chef Uniform
200 to 500-Hour Paid or Unpaid Externship
$35,000 – $75,000

Start your application by talking with our admissions team

Check out one of our graduate, Veronica, talking about how she succeeded after her biggest change of her life

How to apply and what happens next?

Applying to culinary school can be a leap into the unknown. So we simplified the process, allowing you to gather the information you need without feeling pressured or rushed into a decision.
Classes fill months in advance. So if a CulinaryLab education and apprenticeship interests you, let us know immediately and we’ll get your name on the waitlist.

Step 2:

Set up an interview.

Once we receive your request, we’ll schedule a 30-minute phone interview with you to learn about you and your vision for your future in the culinary world.

Step 3:

Go on a tour.

If we determine together that a CulinaryLab program is a strong fit for you, you’re invited to tour the school so you can get a look and feel for our classes.

Step 4:

Apply.

If you like what you see and want to be considered for enrollment, you’ll submit an application. This puts you one step closer to making your culinary dreams come true.

Start your application by talking with our admissions team

0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop