Louisiana Culinary Schools
The southern state of Louisiana is known across the country for its great food, particularly when Mardi Gras comes around. While some people come for the parties, many more people come for the southern Cajun food that only Louisiana can provide. Some of Louisiana's biggest cities include its food capital, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport.
One of the main benefits of living in Louisiana is its variety of great restaurants. Some of the best restaurants in Louisiana are RAW Restaurant, Verona Italian Ristorante, and Tommy's On Thomas. Another benefit of living in Louisiana is its low cost of living. In fact, the cost of living in Louisiana is 10% below the national average.
Louisiana is home to 14 excellent culinary schools, giving you the opportunity to take advantage of the state's delicious and multi-faceted cuisine. The average cost of tuition in Louisiana is $4,515, which can get even lower when you factor in the average scholarship award of $2,155.
One of the first steps to beginning your culinary career is deciding what type of degree you want to earn. A certificate can give you a strong foundation in many fields of the culinary arts, and it takes an average of one year to complete. An Associate's degree is a more in-depth program, and it requires two years of full-time study. A Bachelor's degree, which requires four years of full-time study, is the most comprehensive option.
Since most culinary programs aim to give you advanced skills, it's important to quickly master the rudimentary skills you learn. Skills like chopping, dicing, cleaning, and trimming may seem unnecessary, but you must be fast and accurate while doing these tasks in a kitchen. As you work on mastering these skills, you also learn about how to plan a menu, creating dishes that are nutritionally balanced, and what you need to do to successfully run a kitchen.
You may have the option of taking extra courses as a student. If you eventually plan on owning your own restaurant or catering company, you may want to take business or management courses.
One of the benefits of living in one of the most culinary states of the country is the many different ways you can use your skills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 46% of chefs work in restaurants. The majority of Louisiana restaurants are locally owned and feature fresh, local cuisine. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that many chefs work as private chefs or work for catering companies. If you have ever wanted to own your own business, you may be able to live that dream by owning a restaurant or catering company.
There are many prominent culinary employers in Louisiana. Some of them include the Petroleum Club of Shreveport, Patrice and Associates, and Coushatta Casino Resort.
Louisiana gives restaurant owners and chefs lots of freedom by not requiring any licensure or certification for chefs. Since there are no national requirements, you do not need to apply for any license after graduation.
If you want a certificate to demonstrate your knowledge in a particular culinary area, you can go through the American Culinary Federation. This group offers certification at various levels and in several different fields.
You may earn wildly different salaries at different jobs as a chef. Salaries depend on the type of restaurant you work in, how much experience you have, and how much seniority you have. Generally, more experience can net you a higher salary. Cooks in Louisiana earn an average salary of $21,900 per year (O*Net, 2012). The average salary for a chef in Louisiana is $37,300 per year (O*Net, 2012).
Louisiana is a great state for chefs, since the job outlook here is stronger than the national average. Chefs can anticipate a 5% increase in job openings between 2010 and 2020 (O*Net, 2010). In that same time frame, cooks can expect a 22% increase in job openings (O*Net, 2010).