With 735,000 people living in this huge state, Alaska is one of the most sparsely populated states in the country. However, it is still home to large cities like Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau. The cost of living in Alaska is approximately 34% above the national average, although this may also be reflected in a higher salary.
Alaska is home to some excellent restaurants like Fat Olives Restaurant, Seong’s Sushi Bar and Chinese, and Old Power House Restaurant. It is important to note that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, an above average amount of Alaska’s residents are 18 or younger. This means that you’ll need to keep up with kid-friendly food trends.
There are three culinary arts schools in Alaska, including two that give you the chance to earn a Master’s degree. The overall average cost of tuition is $6,352, which is very low. In addition, the average scholarship award in Alaska is $2,468. You can get more one-on-one instruction from your professors with an average class size of 14 students.
There are certificate and Associate’s degree options in Alaska; these are the shortest options, at one and two years, respectively. However, the most common program in Alaska is a Bachelor’s-level program in culinary arts.
Culinary Schools in Alaska
Becoming an award-winning chef requires a variety of skills, so your culinary arts curriculum will likely be multi-faceted. Before you can learn about restaurant management and menu planning, you need to know basic cooking skills. Your lower-level courses will teach you about different tastes, how to cook and prepare different proteins, knife skills, and food pairing. As you progress through your program, you can expect to learn about more advanced cooking techniques, different types of cuisine, and baking skills.
Some schools offer concentrations. If you want to work as a pastry chef, you can take more electives in baking and desserts to get a more thorough education in that area. If you plan on owning your own restaurant, you may have to take some business courses to prepare you for the business aspect of restaurant ownership
Once you have a strong culinary background, you have to decide where you want to use it. Most chefs take on jobs in restaurants. However, you can also work for catering business, open a restaurant, or become a private chef.
When you start out in a restaurant, you generally start as a line chef. This is the lowest rank in most kitchens. New chefs start out here regardless of education level; this is so the executive chef can observe how you work in the kitchen. As your kitchen skills improve, you may become a sous chef or executive chef.
Some of the main culinary employers in Alaska include Alaska Tourism Corporation and LSG Sky Chefs. If you have a unique idea for a restaurant, perhaps being a restaurant owner is in your future.
Alaska does not have any licensing requirements for chefs or cooks, and there are not any national standards to adhere to. You will need a license if you plan on owning your own restaurant or catering business, however.
Certification by the American Culinary Federation can make it easier for employers to assess your skills. You’ll need to demonstrate your educational achievements and pass the required exams to get certified.
It can be difficult to pinpoint an average chef’s salary in Alaska since there are so many different job titles. Chef rankings from low to high are line chef, sous chef, and executive chef. Salaries rise accordingly with each level that brings new responsibilities. Head chefs in Alaska earn an average salary of $44,800 per year (O*Net, 2012). Cooks in Alaska earn, on average, $28,000 per year (O*Net, 2012).
The overall outlook for chefs and cooks in Alaska is very strong. The demand for cooks is expected to increase by 13% between 2010 and 2020, which is exactly in line with national growth rates (O*Net, 2010). Job openings for chefs are expected to increase by 12%, which is far higher than the national average (O*Net, 2010).