Although South Dakota is a pretty sizable state, there are only about 845,000 residents in this beautiful state. With large cities like Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Aberdeen, there are plenty of cultural attractions for residents and tourists alike. However, the majority of South Dakota is covered by rural farms and ranches. This means that South Dakota chefs have access to some of the best meat and produce available. There are many excellent restaurants in South Dakota, including Cafe Brule, Lucky’s 13 Pub, and Sage Greek Grille.
The cost of living is about 8% below the national average. This can make it easy to live on a student salary or new chef’s salary.
Because of its sparse layout, South Dakota only has one culinary school. Mitchell Technical Institute has the Culinary Academy of South Dakota. The cost of tuition here is $5,160, and the average scholarship award is $468. You can look forward to an average class size of 14 students, which is one of the smallest in the country.
Culinary Schools in South Dakota
There are several parts to your culinary program. First, you have to be able to perfect basic kitchen skills. These skills, including food prep, simple cooking methods, and food timing, are the core of any kitchen. You’ll learn these early in your program and use them as the base for everything else you learn in culinary school.
Once you have mastered your basic kitchen skills, you learn the skills that can make you executive chef material. You will master the skills that can help you run a kitchen, take on advanced cooking techniques, and learn about menu planning and dish creation.
Finally, it is time for your real experience in the field. The Culinary Academy of South Dakota puts you through internships at restaurants, convention centers, and more. This experience is invaluable, and you may even meet one of your future employers. You can plan on getting experience in a variety of settings throughout the course of your education.
One of the main benefits of earning a culinary degree or certificate is the many ways in which you can use it. Clearly, restaurants are a popular employer for chefs. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that 46% of chefs work in restaurants.
Other employment options include catering or working as a private chef. All three of these tracks have self-employment options. You can work independently as a private chef, open your own restaurant, or start a catering company.
In South Dakota, some of the biggest culinary employers are Gecko Hospitality, Marlins, and CBM Food Services.
South Dakota, like most states in the country, does not have certification or licensure requirements for chefs and cooks. This allows you to start your career immediately. While certification is not a necessity, you can go for certification from the America Culinary Federation. You can choose your own field and level of certification.
Chef’s salaries are influenced by myriad factors, the most important of which are experience and seniority. When you get into the kitchen, executive chefs have the greatest earning potential. Their salaries are followed by sous chefs and line chefs.
The average salary for a cook in South Dakota is $22,300 per year (O*Net, 2012). Chefs earn an average salary of $36,300 per year (O*Net, 2012).
Since the hospitality industry is growing quickly throughout the country, many areas are in need of skilled cooks. This is true in South Dakota. Job openings for cooks are expected to increase by 7% between 2010 and 2020 (O*Net, 2010). The demand for chefs is expected to grow by 4% in this time frame (O*Net, 2010).