Known for its large cities of Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville, Tennessee has lots of culture for residents and tourists to enjoy. Because of its unique location, Tennessee’s cuisine is a blend of classic Midwestern food, southern cuisine, and East Coast Food. There are almost 6.5 million people living in this state. In addition to its cultural attractions, Tennessee has well-known restaurants like Emil’s Restaurant, Crawdaddy’s West Side Grill, and the Bull & Thistle Pub.
The cost of living in Tennessee is 10% below the national average. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the average house cost in Tennessee is almost $50,000 lower than the national average.
In Tennessee, there are five culinary schools that can give you the skills you need to start a culinary career. They are primarily located in urban areas. The average cost of tuition throughout the state is $8,367, but the average scholarship award is an impressive $2,028. Since the average acceptance rate in Tennessee is 49%, it is important to put forth a strong application.
Culinary Schools in Tennessee
There are two main ways you learn in a culinary program: lecture courses and hands-on courses. Lecture courses are initially used to introduce new concepts so that you can get a good feel for new techniques. In addition, chefs that work in a kitchen need to know a huge amount of unique kitchen terms. Lecture courses can help prepare you for that part of your career.
Lecture sessions are definitely important; however, the hands-on parts of your education may well be the most important. You can use these classes to get lots of practice with new kitchen skills. In addition, your instructors can give you one-on-one feedback so that you can perfect your skills. Hands-on skill courses also allow you to create your own menus, design your own dishes, and work with peers.
Since your courses take place in two formats, it makes sense that your assessments are done in two formats as well. Since your practical skills are such an important part of your education, you may want to practice them at home to prepare for exams.
A culinary degree can be very versatile, since you can take your career in many different directions. Overall, restaurants are the most significant employers of chefs. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that 46% of chefs are employed in restaurants. They also indicate that many chefs work in households and hotels. In addition, 13% are self-employed as restaurant owners, private chefs, or caterers.
In Tennessee, some of the biggest culinary employers are Southern Foodservice Management, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, and Flik International Corp.
Tennessee gives you lots of freedom in how you work as a chef or cook, since they do not require any licensure or certification. However, there are third-party certification companies that offer different types of certification. One of the most trusted groups is the American Culinary Federation. You can apply for licensure in different specialties and at different experience levels.
As a chef, you may notice that your salary differs from employer to employer. Chefs who work in high-end restaurants, for example, are more likely to earn higher salaries than chefs from more casual restaurants. Your experience level plays a role as well.
The average annual salary for a Tennessee cook is $20,200 (O*Net, 2012). Chefs earn an average salary of $32,600 per year (O*Net, 2012).
Overall, the job outlook for cooks and chefs is good across the country. Regardless of what happens in other fields, the hospitality industry continues to grow every year. Chefs are not expected to see a huge change in their job openings between 2010 and 2020 (O*Net, 2010). However, cooks can anticipate a 13% increase in job openings across the country (O*Net, 2010).