New Mexico, with almost 2.1 million residents, is a unique state because of the different cuisines it brings to the table. Many New Mexico chefs focus on blending traditional American cuisine with Mexican cuisine. Most of New Mexico’s best restaurants are in the state’s main cities, which include Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Rio Rancho.
One of the benefits of living in New Mexico is its low cost of living, which is about 3% below the national average.
New Mexico is home to many high-rated restaurants. Some of the best restaurants in New Mexico include La Cueva, the Ranchers Steak and Seafood, and the Trinity Hotel.
There are seven culinary schools in New Mexico, dispersed evenly throughout the state. New Mexico has some of the most affordable tuition costs in the country, with an average tuition cost of $1,455. Schooling can be even more affordable when you consider the state’s average scholarship of $832.
There are two types of programs you can attend in New Mexico. The shorter option is a certificate, which takes one year or less of full-time study. An Associate’s degree in culinary arts takes approximately two years of full-time study.
Culinary Schools in New Mexico
Culinary schools aim to teach you everything you need to know to successfully work in a kitchen. This includes routine tasks like food prep and cleaning in addition to advanced tasks like menu planning and dish creation. Most programs start with routine tasks, since any restaurant you work for will expect you to be able to perform these tasks quickly and accurately.
You may have the chance to take elective courses in addition to your required culinary courses. If you want to own a restaurant or catering company, you may want to take business and management courses. If you want to focus on a particular cuisine, you can often take elective courses that teach you new cooking methods and techniques.
After earning your culinary degree or certificate, it is time to explore your employment options. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that 46% of working chefs are employed by restaurants. 13% of chefs are self-employed as restaurant owners, catering company owners, or private chefs. If you have a business background or are willing to learn the ins and outs of the industry, self-employment may be right for you.
Some of the largest culinary employers in New Mexico are Sodexo, Bonefish Grill, and Cheddar’s Casual Cafe. Most of the large restaurants and catering companies in New Mexico are located in large cities.
New Mexico joins most of the states in America by not requiring certification or licensure for chefs and cooks. This saves you time, since you do not have to wait to begin your job search. Despite the fact that certification is not required, many chefs decide to pursue American Culinary Federation certification.
New Mexico chefs can earn a range of salaries. The salary you earn is largely dependent on how much experience you have and how much seniority you gain at work. Executive chefs are the highest paid chefs in kitchens, followed by sous chefs and line chefs.
While the job outlook for cooks is good across the entire country, it is excellent in New Mexico. Cooks in this state can anticipate a 29% increase in job openings between 2010 and 2020 (O*Net, 2010). The demand for chefs is expected to increase by 11% in the same time frame (O*Net, 2010).