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Alaska Culinary Arts Schools

Alaska is home to excellent fishing and big game hunting, so meats are often a dinnertime staple. Alaska is also known for its sourdough bread -- in fact, "sourdough" is slang for an Alaskan "old-timer," according to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Alaska is also home to a wide variety of berries, many of which grow wild in abundance throughout the state.

Early Alaskan natives made good use of foods in their local area. Seal meat, whales, polar bears and even walruses were considered staples of the diet, and the oil from each was considered a lifesaver in the harsh winters. In fact, early settlers of the state often lived on meat and fish alone, getting all the nutrients they needed by eating every part of the animal.

Today, there is definitely much more variety to the diet, and eating the traditional Inuit way is a thing of the past. From Alaskan king crab to smoked salmon, from caribou to sourdough, today's Alaskan cuisine combines typical American fare with the foods native to the region.

The Advantages of Culinary Arts Schools in Alaska

Given a location far away from the rest of the United States and the wide open spaces between towns, Alaska is a very independent state. As such, residents have learned to make use of what they have, and foods are no exception. As such, menus in Alaska are often seasonal, making the most of whatever local foods are available at a given time.

Graduates of Alaska culinary arts schools could find the challenge of creating nutritious fare an exhilarating one that tests their kitchen mettle. From caterers who create the finest delicacies to bakers who perfect the classic sourdough to nutritionists who plan balanced diets in a challenging culinary atmosphere, there may be many options for those who choose culinary arts schools in Alaska to launch their career.

Alaska Culinary Employment Outlook

Some culinary occupations in Alaska have a bright outlook. Institution and cafeteria cooks are among the biggest gainers, with projected job growth of 13.9 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the State of Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Other top occupations include bartenders at 13 percent growth, restaurant cooks at 12.8 percent, first-line supervisors at 11 percent and non-restaurant food servers at 12.7 percent.

The National Restaurant Association reveals that there were 1,332 dining and drinking locations in Alaska in 2011. That number is expected to increase, as is employment: by 2023, restaurants in Alaska will employ 31,600 people, a job growth of 14.1 percent.

When it comes to hot trends in the restaurant industry, Alaska is ahead of the curve. The National Restaurant Association lists locally sourced meats, local produce, environmentally sustainable meals and sustainable seafood as some of the top trends for 2013. Alaska has been indulging in such trends, by necessity, for many generations. Trends toward healthier meals, especially for children, are another way that nutrition-minded chefs in Alaska can put their skills to good use.

Alaska Culinary Wages

Making a good income in culinary careers is possible for graduates of culinary schools in Alaska. The State of Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports the mean hourly wages of several culinary professions in 2012. Below are some examples:

Culinary Professions
Mean Hourly Wage in Alaska
Institution and Cafeteria Cooks
First-line supervisors
Non-restaurant food servers

From caribou and reindeer to berries and salmon, the Alaskan diet is a diverse treasure trove of culinary possibilities. Graduates of Alaska culinary schools can rise to the challenge of serving unique, nutritious food that makes the most of this local fare.

Additional Resources for Students of Culinary Schools in Alaska:

Alaska Wild Berry Products, Alaskan Foods, http://www.alaskawildberryproducts.com/education/alaskan-foods.html

National Restaurant Association, Alaska Restaurant Industry at a Glance, 2013, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/alaska

National Restaurant Association, What's Hot in 2013, http://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/Research/What-s-Hot

State of Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Alaska Occupational Forecast, 2010-2020, http://live.laborstats.alaska.gov/occfcst/#g35

The Food Timeline, Traditional State Foods and Recipes, Alaska, http://www.foodtimeline.org/statefoods.html#alaska

University of Alaska Fairbanks, Cooperative Extension Service, Sourdough, March 2013, http://www.uaf.edu/files/ces/publications-db/catalog/hec/FNH-00061.pdf

Culinary Schools in Alaska

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