Connecticut Culinary Schools
There are almost 3.6 million people living in Connecticut, many of whom live in or near the state's largest cities. Some of Connecticut's largest cities include Bridgeport, New Haven, and Hartford. While the cost of living is 31% above the national average, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the median household income is over $16,000 higher than the national average.
Connecticut is home to great restaurants like Rebeccas, Winvian, Eleven14 Kitchen, and South End. While many Connecticut restaurants focus on fresh seafood available in the area, there are lots of modern and ethnic restaurants that allow chefs to explore different types of cuisine.
There are nine culinary schools in Connecticut that offer an array of diplomas and certificates. Most programs allow you to earn either an Associate's degree or a certificate. An Associate's degree in culinary arts takes about two years of full-time study, while a certificate in a specific culinary field generally takes one year or less.
Culinary programs in Connecticut tackle several different learning goals and outcomes. At the end of your program, you'll need to be able to complete different culinary tasks in tight time constraints, plan menus that are nutritionally and aesthetically appealing, and maintain strict safety and health standards.
Early cooking courses in your culinary program will likely focus on technique. While technique and speed are both important parts of working in a kitchen, you must develop technique first. You will need to develop knife skills, different ways of cooking proteins and vegetables, and the ability to time different items so they are all finished at the same time.
Depending on what you plan on doing with your culinary degree, you may have the chance to take supplemental courses. If you want to own your own catering business or restaurant, you may be able to take business courses that prepare you for business ownership.
After earning your culinary degree or certificate, it's time to decide where you want to take your career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 46% of chefs work in restaurant settings, while 13% of chefs are self-employed. If you get a cooking job at a restaurant, you can plan on starting out as a line chef.
In Connecticut, there are many large culinary employers, including the Capital Grille, Eurest Dining Services, and Ethan Allen Hotel. If you have a mind for business, there are more opportunities to explore. You may choose to open your own restaurant, work as a private chef, or start a catering business.
Connecticut is one of many states in the country that have no licensing or certification requirements in place for cooks and chefs. However, you will need a license if you choose to open your own restaurant or catering company.
While no certification is required, having American Culinary Federation certification can make your job search easier. After passing both a written and a skills test, you can get a certificate in a variety of fields.
There are different earning levels for chefs in Connecticut. Executive chefs earn the highest salaries, since they are typically responsible for planning menus and running the kitchen. The sous chef, who is usually second in command, gets paid slightly less than an executive chef. Line chefs tend to be the lowest paid chefs in the kitchen.
The overall job outlook for cooks and chefs in Connecticut mirrors the average outlook across the country. There are expected to be 30 new openings for chefs each year between 2010 and 2020 (O*Net, 2010). The demand for cooks is expected to increase by 13% in the same time frame (O*Net, 2010).