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Culinary Schools in Kentucky

The Bluegrass State is home to Derby Pie, the Kentucky Hot Brown, and even that fast-food staple, Kentucky Fried Chicken. Years ago the hills of the state were home to some of the most notorious moonshiners, but today, things are bit more refined, with world-famous bourbon and mint juleps. From the delicious art of Kentucky Burgoo to the famous name of Duncan Hines, Kentucky has a rich food heritage.

The Advantages of Culinary Arts Schools in Kentucky

Kentucky culinary arts schools offer students a wide variety of local fare to explore, as well as the flavors of international dishes. Kentucky offers bountiful farmland, allowing for culinary schools to use local ingredients in even the most exotic of dishes. Kentucky is also a state filled with avid hunters, so learning to cook game could be on the list. True foodies could be inspired by the famous Bourbon Trail, where some of the world's finest bourbons are produced.

Though Kentucky has long been known for Southern hospitality and Southern food, culinary students can embrace the challenge of creating healthier versions of classic favorites -- after all, if Kentucky Fried Chicken can evolve to "healthy-ish" yet still maintain the classic brand, aspiring chefs can do the same with a multitude of traditional dishes. Those who attend culinary school in Kentucky might even be moved to open up their own bakery or restaurant, where they can use all the nutrition knowledge and cooking experience gained to create something both down-home and healthy for patrons.

Kentucky Culinary Employment Outlook

Kentucky's rich food traditions are evident in a drive through the state. From roadside diners to five-star restaurants, there are more than a few places where aspiring chefs can find work. According to the Kentucky Occupational Employment Outlook, restaurant cooks may expect job growth of 7.83 percent, or 1,050 positions, from 2010 to 2020. First-line managers and supervisors are also looking at an increase, adding 810 jobs for a 5.37 percent growth. Bartenders can expect an additional 230 jobs, or 4.96 percent growth

Kentucky does expect to see a decline in the growth of jobs for head cooks and chefs from 2010 to 2020, and only a small percentage of growth for occupations such as short order cooks (2.48 percent) and institution and cafeteria cooks (3.42 percent).

But there are still plenty of jobs to be had, as evidenced by state statistics collected by the National Restaurant Association: Kentucky had 6,720 restaurant positions in 2011, bringing in $6.3 billion in sales and employing a full 10 percent of the state. By 2023, the National Restaurant Association expects job growth of all restaurant industry occupations in the state to reach 8.7 percent growth, or 16,600 new jobs.

Kentucky Culinary Wages

Those who attend culinary arts schools in Kentucky aren't limited to being a chef. There are numerous other positions that might appeal to those with an eye toward creativity and better health: Restaurant managers, waiters or waitresses, bartenders, caterers and even nutritionists are all options for those who love the culinary lifestyle.

According to the Kentucky Occupational Employment Outlook, the following positions in the food industry saw the highest rates of hourly pay in 2011:

  • Chefs and Head Cooks: $18.97
  • First-Line Supervisors: $13.88
  • Institution and Cafeteria Cooks: $11.15

Other food preparation workers, which could include caterers and demonstration cooks, earned $11.96 per hour in 2011.

From fine dining establishments focused on fresh farm fare to the comfort food of mom-and-pop diners, Kentucky's rich history shines in each dish prepared for eager diners. For those who want to use the kitchen to create, Kentucky culinary schools offer students the opportunity to hone their skills before they slip on the apron and head to Kentucky's many varied eating establishments.


Kentucky Bourbon Trail, "Traditional state foods & recipes: Kentucky," 2013,
National Restaurant Association, "Kentucky: Restaurant Industry at a Glance," 2013,
U.S. Department of Labor, "Kentucky Occupational Employment Outlook to 2020: A Statewide Analysis of Wages, Employmebt, Growth and Training -- Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations," Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, Department of Workforce Investment, Office of Employment and Training, July 2012,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Cooks," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, March 29, 2012,
The Food Timeline, "Traditional state foods and recipes: Kentucky,"

Culinary Schools in Kentucky

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