Top Culinary School Supplies

The new school year is synonymous with back-to-school shopping. Flashback to elementary school and it was book bags bursting with Crayola crayons and character lunchboxes. College comes with its own supply list, including everything from what you'll need for class to dorm room decor (XL twin sheets, string lights, and mini-fridge: check!) … but what supplies do you need for culinary school?

According to TJ Delle Donne '04, '07 M.A.T., C.E.C., assistant dean of culinary relations and special projects for Johnson & Wales University’s College of Food Innovation & Technology, culinary students are issued:

  • a knife kit or pastry tool kit, depending on whether they major in culinary arts or baking and pastry arts
  • full uniform (hat, apron, two side towels, chef coat and pants)
  • slip-resistant black leather shoes

White socks and a plain white T-shirt complete the attire, and culinary students should have a notebook, something to write with, and a school-issued thermometer with them at all times, added Delle Donne.

Culinary student Jenna Seely



Must-Have Culinary School Supplies

With the basics taken care of, what other supplies do culinary students need to help them be a cut above? Jenna Seeley '22, a Dietetics and Applied Nutrition major, offered the following advice based on her experience over the past few years in the culinary labs at JWU. Here’s what she turns to time and time again and why she finds it invaluable.

Small notebook: “This is great to take bullet-pointed notes during demonstrations, as well as documenting new foods and techniques.”

Honing steel: “This is included in most knife kits and will keep your knife blade sharp for precision cuts.”

Sharpie/marker, gel pen (personal preference), and thermometer: “We use these constantly to label containers and check temperatures of meats. They are great to have on your chef coat sleeve pocket at all times.”

Reusable water bottle: “Being on your feet for six hours in a hot kitchen environment can be tough! Make sure to keep hydrated.”

Spray starch: “JWU students look great in their uniforms. To look your most professional (and impress your chefs) use spray starch to have the sharpest creases on campus.”

*Bonus tip! “Remember, most students in your labs have the same knife kit. Head to Safety and Security to engrave your initials on your supplies so they remain yours.”

collage of culinary students


What Supplies Do Chef Instructors Recommend?

In addition to Seeley’s list, here are three more tips and tricks from chef instructors.

Comfortable shoes/orthotic insoles: Associate Professor Jonathan Poyourow '03, R.D., offers this advice: “If you wear the JWU-issued shoes, make sure you get comfortable insoles to put into them. If you wear your own chef shoes, it is worth spending extra money on really comfortable ones since you are on your feet all day.”

Labeled apron tags and side towels: When everyone’s gear is the same “chef white”, Associate Professor Branden Lewis, Ed.D., C.E.C., '06 said students should be sure to “initial apron tags and side towels. They often get mixed up.”

Smartphone: Believe it or not, one of the most useful pieces of equipment students can have in culinary school is one that they already do: a smartphone. Delle Donne said, “Their phone is a very important piece of the supplies … picture taking, research, and pulling up recipes.”

Interested in learning more about attending culinary school at JWU? Request Information to find out more.