Texas Culinary Schools
Since the state of Texas is so large, many people say that culturally it is more like two or three states. While the western edge of the state has more of a southwest culture, the eastern part of the state is more like the south. Overall, there are 26.4 million people in Texas. Many residents live in the state's biggest cities of Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas. Some of the best restaurants, including Gilhooley's, Ninfa's on Navigation, and Pappas Bros. Steakhouse.
Texas is home to 29 excellent culinary schools located throughout the state. No matter where you live in Texas, it's likely that you are near a culinary program. The average cost of tuition is $7,158, and the average scholarship award is an impressive $1,516. However, you definitely want to put your best foot forward while applying, since the average acceptance rate is just 59%.
The majority of Texas schools offer certificate programs and Associate's degree programs. These programs take one year and two years, respectively. However, there are also two schools in Texas that offer Bachelor's and Master's degree. For a Bachelor's degree, you can plan on four years of full-time study. If you want a Master's degree, you have to spend two years in school on top of your Bachelor's degree.
As a culinary student, you need to master many different skills. It all starts with basic kitchen prep. In order to do any other part of your duties, you need to be excellent at prepping veggies for service, cleaning and filleting different cuts of meat, and safely storing food. Once you have a handle on these skills, you can learn higher level chef skills. You'll need to learn how to create a menu, how to create your own delicious dishes, and how to supervise staff in a kitchen.
When you start your culinary career, you have a important decision to make: where do you want to work. Across the board, the Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that restaurants are the largest chef employers in the country. However, you can also decide to work as a caterer or private chef in different settings.
In Texas, some of the primary culinary employers are Del Frisco's Grille, Landry's Restaurants, and the Conservatory at Champion Forest. If you have dreams of being self-employed, you may be able to work as an independent private chef, catering company owner, and restaurant owner.
The state of Texas does not have any licensing or certification requirements for chefs and cooks. This can save you time as you start your career. While licensure is not a requirement, many chefs pursue optional certification. One popular option is the American Culinary Federation. They offer certification in many different specialties.
Trying to pin down a specific average salary for chefs can be tricky, since salaries in Texas range from $16,200 to $73,300 (O*Net, 2010). In general, the more experience and knowledge you have, the more money you can earn.
Hospitality is a great field to get into, because it is constantly growing and changing. While job growth is expected to increase across the country, it is increasing even more in Texas. Job openings for cooks are expected to grow by 34% between 2010 and 2020, and the demand for chefs is supposed to increase by 13% in the same time period (O*Net, 2010).