Kansas Culinary Schools
With almost 2.9 million people living in Kansas, there is always a need for good food. The majority of Kansas residents live in or near large cities like Wichita, Overland Park, and Kansas City, although a sizable portion of the population does live in rural areas. The cost of living in Kansas is 12% below the national average, which means that it can be very affordable for students and new chefs.
Kansas is home to a variety of modern and historical restaurants, giving diners plenty of food choices and giving chefs lots of freedom to explore different cuisines. Some of the most popular restaurants in Kansas include Mr. K's Farmhouse, the Free State Brewing Company, and El Pulgarcito Restaurant.
There are six culinary schools in Kansas that you can look into attending, depending on whether you want to earn a certificate or Associate's degree. The average acceptance rate in Kansas is 60%, so there are some schools with competitive standards. However, with a good application, you stand a good chance of getting into the school you wish to attend. An average tuition cost of $5,994 and average scholarship award of $1,612 create an overall affordable education experience.
You may have the chance to choose what you want to study in the culinary field. Culinary arts and chef training are the same field. This field gives you the knowledge you need to work in a fast-paced restaurant kitchen, and it covers food safety, food prep, menu planning, and kitchen organization. Culinary food preparation includes many of the same topics, but it has more of a focus on preparing food that looks good in addition to tasting good. Baking/pastry gives you a strong foundation in desserts and baking. This is different from culinary arts because most culinary arts programs only touch briefly on baking and desserts.
In addition to cooking and baking skills, which are very important, you need to be able to adhere to strict safety laws. Laws cover where and how food must be stored, how it can be prepped, and in what ways it can legally be served.
Since culinary school prepares you for so many different lines of work, you have to decide what career path you want to follow as a new graduate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that 46% of chefs work in restaurants, so you may find your calling in a fine dining restaurant. However, many chefs also work for private clients or for a catering company. 13% of chefs are self-employed (BLS, 2012). Self-employed chefs tend to own catering companies or restaurants, which may be an option if you are business-minded.
There are lots of prominent culinary employers in Kansas. Some of them are Claridge Court, Canteen Refreshment, and Guckenheimer.
Kansas is one of the dozens of states in America that has no regulations on certification for chefs and cooks. This is great for you, since you don't have to waste time waiting for a license or certificate before starting your career.
However, you may want to consider American Culinary Federation certification. This optional certification requires a written and skills exam in a specific area of culinary arts.
As a chef, you can earn a wide range of salaries. The most important factor in your salary is your level of experience. While you may start out as a line chef, a job title that tends to pay the least, you can increase your earning potential by working hard and becoming a sous chef or executive chef.
Overall, the job outlook for chefs and cooks in Kansas is not expected to change much between 2010 and 2020. Cooks can anticipate job growth of 10% in that time frame, while there may not be much change in job openings for chefs (O*Net, 2010).