Oregon is an exciting state for many aspiring chefs. The unique population offers chefs the chance to explore different cuisines and tastes in their restaurants. Oregon also has a sizable vegan/vegetarian population, offering opportunities for chefs that can cater to that population.
Many of Oregon’s 3.9 million residents are based in the state’s main cities of Portland, Eugene, and Oregon. These cities also have some of the most popular restaurants in Oregon, including Yummy Wine Bar and Bistro, Newmans at 988, and Amuse Restaurant. Although the cost of living in Oregon is 12% above the national average, living costs are often lower in rural and suburban areas.
There are 11 excellent culinary schools based in Oregon, most of which are located along the state’s western border. Tuition tends to be inexpensive in this state, and the average tuition rate is $6,991. The numerous scholarships available in Oregon have led to an average scholarship award of $1,766.
Culinary Schools in Oregon
There are several fields you tackle as a culinary student: kitchen techniques, developing dishes and menus, and food safety. Kitchen techniques are essential to any kitchen. Since it is likely that you will start out as a line chef and perform basic duties, it’s important to become flawless at as many kitchen skills as possible. Many schools encourage students to practice outside the classroom as well as in class.
Developing dishes and menus are tasks usually reserved for executive chefs and restaurant owners. If you aspire to reach this status, it is important to be able to create flawless dishes. You can expect to learn about food pairing, balancing dishes, and using seasonal ingredients.
Food safety is an incredibly important part of working as a chef. Oregon has its own state laws that mandate food safety and hygiene, and those laws must be followed at all times. Restaurant kitchens are prone to random inspections, and one wrong move by a chef can have serious consequences.
Oregon has many prominent culinary employers you may be able to work for, including Grand Teton National Park, LSG Sky Chefs, and Norwegian Cruise Line. If you want to be self-employed, there are many ways to do that. You can open a restaurant, start a catering company, or work as a private chef. However, being self-employed generally involves working much longer hours.
Overall, however, restaurants are the biggest work environment for chefs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 46% of chefs work for a restaurant.
If you are worried about getting a license or certificate to work in Oregon, you can breathe easy. There are currently no licensing or certification requirements for chefs or cooks. However, if you run your own restaurant or catering company, you do need a license.
The American Culinary Federation offers optional certification programs for chefs that want to have a way to prove their abilities to employers. You can get a certificate from them after passing a required practical and written exam.
Trying to figure out an average chef’s salary in Oregon is difficult, because a chef’s salary is impacted by numerous factors. Important factors include how much experience you have, how much seniority you have, and what type of restaurant you work in.
The average cook’s salary in Oregon is $22,800 per year (O*Net, 2012). Chefs earn, on average, $36,800 per year (O*Net, 2012).
Across America, the general job outlook for chefs and cooks is promising. However, O*Net expects little to no change in job openings for chefs and cooks in Oregon (O*Net, 2010).