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Culinary Schools in Alabama

From savory slow-cooked barbecue to fragrant fried chicken and collard greens, sweet home Alabama has a flavor that's all its own. Culinary arts schools in Alabama may offer prospective food professionals a unique opportunity to add to the state's rich food heritage.

Advantages of Alabama culinary arts schools

Alabama culinary schools may give aspiring chefs an opportunity to hone their skills while soaking in succulent Southern flavor. Students can draw from Alabama's rich culinary heritage, while learning to add their own spin to Deep South style.

Though generations of proud Southern chefs have perfected the art of comfort food, Alabama culinary arts schools offer students a chance to expand their skills by experimenting with new techniques. Health conscious future chefs might use their time in culinary school to perfect lightened-up versions of classic Southern favorites. Others might prefer to spend their time branching out into pastry making or baking. Students here also have access to some of the freshest ingredients in the country: Seafood comes straight from the state's Gulf coastline, while acres of rolling farmland provide garden-fresh, organic veggies.

In many cases, culinary arts training also includes nutritional and dietetic education. Students can learn how to create a healthy, balanced meal. This training could be applied to a variety of situations. Graduates who go on to become chefs or restaurant professionals can rely on these skills to create menus for those with special dietary needs, like people with diabetes or gluten intolerance, or to encourage healthy food choices and lifestyles.

Alabama culinary employment outlook

Many Alabama employers are trending toward green jobs, and this applies to many culinary careers as well. Interest in locally sourced and sustainable ingredients might create opportunities for employment in Alabama's culinary arts scene. As of April 15, 2013, there were more than 3,600 posted job opportunities for food preparation and serving occupations (GreenJobsinAlabama.com, 2013).

Data from the National Restaurant Association suggests a positive outlook for culinary employment as well. In 2013, Alabama's restaurants will account for more than 167,000 jobs. This number is expected to rise 14.1 percent, to 190,700 by 2023 (restaurant.org, 2013).

On a national level, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that restaurants may hire chefs to expand their menus and create more exotic fare for their customers, but many will cut costs by ultimately hiring cooks with less experience to prepare the dishes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also points out that the fast-paced nature of culinary work can result in high turnover across the field, and can lead to more employment opportunities. Chefs with both business savvy and creativity will likely have the best job prospects in the culinary arts scene (bls.gov/ooh, 2012).

Alabama culinary wages

Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers from Alabama show chefs and head cooks here took home mean annual wages of $44,540 in May 2012. Food prep supervisors in Alabama had mean annual wages of $28,070, while bartenders took home $20,470 (bls.gov/oes, 2013).

Though culinary arts schools in Alabama could be a good choice for future chefs, other professionals can also benefit from thorough gastronomic training. Nutritionists, dietitians, allergists and other health professionals may find ways to relate culinary arts education to their chosen fields.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, Alabama, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_al.htm#35-0000
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Cooks, March 29, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/food-preparation-and-serving/cooks.htm
National Restaurant Association, News & Research, Alabama Restaurant Industry at a Glance, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/alabama
Green Jobs in Alabama, Alabama Department of Labor, April 16, 2012, https://www.greenjobsinalabama.com/

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