Culinary Schools in Wyoming
Wyoming's cuisine, often described as American West, is a combination of the culinary traditions of Native Americans who extensively hunted and fished for game, early cowboys with their chuck wagon dinners, and a fusion of immigrant cultures including Asian, French, German and Norwegian. Cowboy State menus regularly include "exotic" treats such as venison salami, elk sausage, boar bacon, and scrambled eggs and buffalo medallions with a raspberry reduction.
The Advantages of Culinary Arts Schools in Wyoming
Wyoming is uniquely positioned to respond to three top culinary trends (restaurant.org, 2013):
- Locally sourced meats and locally grown produce: Agriculture is one of the state's top economic drivers.
- New cuts of meat used in new and creative ways: Buffalo osso bucco or bison bourguignon are two tasty choices.
- Foods lower in fat and calories: Buffalo fits the bill.
Wyoming dining establishments cover the entire spectrum, from small or family-owned diners and restaurants to elegant restaurants in the state's many luxury resorts and lodges. According to the Wyoming Office of Tourism, visitor spending brought $3.1 billion tourist dollars to Wyoming in 2012 and poured $799 million into the food and beverage industry. Restaurant.org projects $0.8 billion in industry sales in 2013 and job growth of 6.8 percent between 2013 and 2023 in the state.
Wyoming Culinary Employment Outlook
The number of Wyoming culinary arts schools is limited because the vast state has a population of less than 600,000 (census.gov, 2012). Available culinary programs include certificates and associate degrees. Online programs from Wyoming culinary schools are also available but are generally limited to hospitality or food and beverage management and the business side of catering. Online programs generally do not provide students with hands-on cooking courses and may require prior culinary experience or a culinary certificate or degree for admission.
Because of Wyoming's many resorts and tourist attractions, opportunities for hospitality internships/apprenticeships are widely available to students attending culinary schools in Wyoming. Xanterra/Yellowstone works with the American Federation of Chefs to provide apprenticeships and has partnered with the University of Wyoming in a Culinary Extern Program. Industry apprenticeships are also available in Grand Teton National Park and at the Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole. Other resorts hire culinary students in a seasonal capacity and as permanent employees post-graduation.
Wyoming Culinary Wages
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, annual mean wages in 2012 for all Wyoming food service preparers and servers were $20,480 (BLS.gov/oes, 2013). Specific wages include:
The American Personal & Private Chef Association notes that personal chefs can earn between $200 and $500 per day, depending on where they work.
The importance of nutrition as a food trend is gaining in popularity as people become more attentive to eating healthy. Although nutrition courses are part of a culinary degree curriculum, an educational degree from culinary schools in Wyoming that combines culinary arts with nutrition can lead to a wider range of careers in areas such as health care, business and industry, foodservice, community/public health, and research, as well as entrepreneurship possibilities in Wyoming specialty restaurants. Obtaining a culinary arts associate degree at one of the culinary schools in Wyoming followed by a bachelor's degree in nutrition could be a stepping stone to a career with exciting potential.