Arkansas Culinary Schools
Arkansas culinary schools offer students a unique experience: The Natural State is big on its eats. Culinary tourism thrives here. Everything from farm-fresh produce to legendary local restaurants bring in hungry visitors and draw attention from skilled chefs. Arkansas's rich foodie culture can give prospective culinary professionals a chance to hone their skills.
Advantages of Arkansas Culinary Arts Schools
Food awareness is important in Arkansas. Raw materials are in abundance for chefs, culinary professionals and cooking school students, and the state's richness helps encourage culinary creativity. The state is among the nation's top producers in several farming sectors, including soybeans, sorghum, rice and cotton. Additionally, Arkansas is a hotbed of activity when it comes to the production of dairy products, eggs and poultry, hogs and beef cattle. Top employers in the area include Tyson Foods, Riceland Foods and ConAgra, according to the Arkansas Farm Bureau (arfb.com, 2013).
Students of culinary schools in Arkansas may learn how to craft healthy, balanced meals and menus from some of the freshest ingredients in the country. Many will likely find that their Arkansas culinary arts training or nutritional and dietetic education is useful in a variety of situations. For example, those interested in the organic food movement can study the production of unprocessed raw ingredients in Arkansas' farm-friendly environment. Graduates interested in a restaurant career will be able to create menus with special dietary needs in mind. Nutritionists and dietitians can use culinary arts training to help them coach clients with special dietary needs and encourage healthy eating and lifestyle choices.
Arkansas Culinary Employment Outlook
ConAgra, Riceland Foods and Tyson Foods all have operations in Arkansas. These corporations rely on chefs and culinary artists for product development and other unique functions.
The state's hospitality scene is booming, thanks to growing tourism efforts. The Arkansas Hospitality Association reports that their industry is the second largest industry in the state, employing more than 100,000 people and generating $5.6 billion each year.
Arkansas's restaurant scene is also thriving. Data from the National Restaurant Association reports that the state's nearly 5,000 restaurants employ 114,200 Arkansans, a number slated to rise to 130,000 by 2023. Arkansas restaurants include everything from down home mom and pop diners to swanky Little Rock bistros - each likely providing an opportunity for those skilled in the culinary arts.
Arkansas Culinary Wages
Numbers from May 2012 show that in Arkansas, head cooks and chefs took home mean annual wages of $34,800 (bls.gov/oes). First-line food supervisors had mean annual wages of $26,710, while bartenders earned $18,160. Though these numbers seem low compared to national figures, its important to point out Arkansas' low cost of living. Arkansas has the fourth lowest cost of living in the country, with an index of 91.5 during the fourth quarter of 2012 (missourieconomy.org, 2013).