Early Cooking Schools

by Rena

I‘m giving credit to Juliet Corson, founder of the New York Cooking School in 1876, as being the inspiration that began the craze for cooking schools and cooking classes in the United States. Her book, Cooking School Text Book and Housekeepers’ Guide, published in 1879 by Orange Judd Company, laid out the directions for others to open schools, with explanations on furnishings, teacher requirements, and course content.

  • 1876: New York Cooking School, St Mark’s Place — director/teacher Juliet Corson
  • Maria Parloa taught cooking in Boston circa 1877, Mandarin, Florida c. 1878, and New York City in 1881.
  • 1879-1903: The Boston Cooking School — preceded by Women’s Education Association; directors/teachers Joanna Sweeney, Mary Lincoln, and then Fannie Farmer, and guest lecturer, Maria Parloa — Boston, Mass.
  • c. 1879: The New Century Club Cooking School –Philadelphia
  • 1883: The Philadelphia Cooking School — director/teacher Sarah Tyson Rorer
  • 1892: Drexel’s School of Home Economics –Home Economics Program is now Goodwin College of Professional Studies
  • 1895: Le Cordon Bleu — Paris, France
  • By 1900 there were cooking schools and/or public school cooking classes in most major cities
  • c. 1900: Simmons College’s School of Household Economics — no longer available
  • 1902-1944: Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery — directors/teachers Fannie Meritt Farmer until 1915, then Alice Bradley; Boston, Mass.
  • 1907: Cornell’s College of Home Economics — now called New York State College of Human Ecology
  • 1948: The Culinary Institute of America — main campus, Hyde Park, New York
  • 1971: The Elite Cooking School Newton Centre, Massachusetts — founded by Madeleine Kamman, now The School for American Chefs in Beringer Vineyards, Napa Valley, California, meeting 2-weeks per year
  • 1973: Johnson & Wales University’s College of Culinary Arts — they also have a great culinary museum.

    Click here for a list of Cooking Schools, or Domestic Science departments, in the United States in 1905. The article begins on page 174. Included are notes such as the Boston Cooking School, with the writer, Fannie Farmer as principal, cost $125 per 6 months, the same as Simmons College in Boston. Another Massachusetts school, The State Normal School in Framingham, had one of the largest Domestic Science departments in the country. The Philadelphia Cooking School, is listed with Mrs. Rorer as principal, another famous cook book writer.

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