Tucked neatly into the East Coast, North Carolina is a culinary wonderland that brings together southern cuisine and East Coast styles of cooking. There are over 9.8 million residents here, but the state also has an active tourism industry that brings thousands more to the state every year. Most tourists head for North Carolina’s major cities, including Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro. This is also where some of North Carolina’s best restaurants are. The highest-rated restaurants in North Carolina include Blue Moon Beach Grill, Kill Devil Grill, and Storie Street Grille.
Despite all of the attractions in North Carolina, the cost of living is slightly lower than the national average.
North Carolina’ s reliance on skilled, educated chefs is clear when you consider the 22 culinary schools in the state. These schools offer a variety of certificate and Associate’s degree programs. The average cost of tuition in North Carolina is $5,322, which is partially offset by the average scholarship award of $1,593. With an average acceptance rate of 51%, you may need to put your best food forward while applying.
Culinary Schools in North Carolina
Whether you choose to pursue a certificate or Associate’s degree, you may learn much of the same information. Rather than starting out with lots of book knowledge, you can get your start in a culinary program by getting lots of hands-on education. While book knowledge is important, you need practical cooking skills to work in a kitchen. You’ll move from basic prep work to advanced cooking techniques as you move through your program.
After you have started building a strong foundation of practical skills, it’s time to dive into the vocabulary and knowledge you need to successfully run a kitchen. For example, you will need to know the terms for different cooking techniques, kitchen terms used on a daily basis, and different parts of the kitchen.
You may be able to take different elective courses as you move towards the end of your culinary program. Your school may give you the opportunity to take business and management courses that can prepare you for restaurant ownership.
North Carolina is home to many prominent culinary employers, including Landry’s Restaurants, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Ovations Food Services.
If you want to become self-employed, a culinary program gives you plenty of ways to do so. You may work as a private chef, open your own catering company, or open a restaurant. Keep in mind that being self-employed often requires long hours.
Most chefs work for restaurants, since the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 46% of employed chefs work for restaurants. You may also find work as a caterer or private chef.
North Carolina offers a fair amount of freedom to chefs and cooks, since the state does not require any license or certification to work. However, there are optional certification programs that can help you get a job. The American Culinary Federation is one of the best-known certification programs in the country.
As a chef, your salary can be influenced by myriad factors. The most important factor is probably experience. The more experience you have, the more money you can make starting out and the more potential you have to increase your salary.
The hospitality industry is one of the fastest growing fields in the country. This carries through in culinary professions. The demand for cooks is expected to increase by 12% between 2010 and 2020 (O*Net, 2010). However, the outlook for chefs is not expected to change significantly this decade (O*Net, 2010).