Culinary Schools in Rhode Island
Rhode Island has a reputation for state-specific foods such as gaggas (small hotdogs with mustard, meat sauce, onions and celery salt), fried cornbread jonnycakes and, of course, all things clam - stuffies (stuffed clams), clear broth clam chowder, clam cakes and clams casino. Add spicy Portuguese linguiça, an Italian grinder sub, or zeppole (fried dough with powdered sugar) to round out the state's culinary history.
Rhode Island restaurants and fine dining establishments also showcase a variety of other ethnic cuisines. Consistent with the state's innovative spirit, America's first diner was established in Providence in the late 1800s, according to the American Diner Museum. And, given that the precursor to that famous diner was a food wagon, Providence was ahead of its time with the earliest known "food truck."
The Advantages of Culinary Arts Schools in Rhode Island
Although a number of culinary management programs are offered online, Rhode Island is home to only one accredited culinary school, which offers certificates and associate and bachelor's degrees in baking and pastry arts, culinary arts, food service management and entrepreneurship and culinary nutrition. Recreational cooking classes are also available, and the local community college offers a culinary certificate program. Attending a culinary school in Rhode Island can mean participating in local internships, which in turn can provide the networking opportunities that are essential for employment in the culinary world.
For such a small state, Rhode Island has a huge taste for culinary innovation and excellence. In 2012, Travel & Leisure named Providence the #1 city for food/drink/restaurants in the U.S., ranking it #1 for hamburgers, #2 for ice cream and pizza and #3 for cafes. Additionally, the first annual Taste Trekkers Food Tourism Conference for extreme foodies is coming to Providence in 2013.
The Rhode Island culinary community is also at the top of its game for the hottest National Restaurant Association culinary trends. With a 400-mile coastline and a seriously short distance from "farm-to-table," Rhode Island's seafood, meat and produce are fresh. The sustainable RI initiative is working to make Rhode Island the nation's first Sustainable State and Farm Fresh Rhode Island (FFRI), with its Veggie Box program. The program delivers weekly boxes of seasonal farm-fresh produce at reduced rates to recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to help promote healthy and nutritious meals for children.
Rhode Island Culinary Employment Outlook
In 2013, restaurant workers represent 11 percent of Rhode Island's workforce, a figure slightly higher than the national figure, and job growth of 6.5 percent is expected by 2023, according to data from the National Restaurant Association.
Most culinary jobs are projected to have slow or little growth between 2010 and 2020. One notable exception is dietitians/nutritionists careers, which are projected to have 20 percent employment growth nationally (bls.gov/ooh, 2012). Although nutrition courses are generally part of a culinary education, nutrition degrees are also an option for those interested in food preparation and delivery. As national focus turns toward improving nutritional habits in general and those of children specifically, nutrition is a field with potential.
Rhode Island Culinary Wages
In May 2012, Rhode Island culinary workers earned mean annual wages that are close to or higher than the national figures, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
According to the American Personal & Private Chef Association, the median income for personal chefs ranges from $35,000 to $50,000 per year, depending on geographical location.
American Diner Museum, "Diner History and Culture," http://www.americandinermuseum.org/site/history.php
American Personal & Private Chef Association, "WCR Chefs Get Personal," http://www.personalchef.com/WCR2003-ChefsGetPersonal.pdf
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, "May 2012 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates," May 13, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#11-0000
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, "May 2012 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: Rhode Island," May 13, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ri.htm#11-0000
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Dietians and Nutritionists," July 18, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dietitians-and-nutritionists.htm
EdibleRhody, Special Delivery Vegetables to the People," http://ediblerhody.com/online-magazine/winter-2013/special-delivery-vegetables-to-the-people/
Kickstarter, "Taste Trekkers Food Tourism Conference," http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mysterymeet/taste-trekkers-food-tourism-conference
National Restaurant Association, "Rhode Island Restaurant Industry at a Glance," http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/rhodeisland.pdf
Travel and Leisure, "America's Favorite Cities, 2012," http://www.travelandleisure.com/americas-favorite-cities/2012/city/providence