Pennsylvania Culinary Schools
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Culinary Schools in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has five culinary regions, according to the Keystone Center for the Study of Regional Foods and Food Tourism:

  1. Philadelphia. Settled by the Dutch, Swedes and Finns, the City of Brotherly Love is famous for Philly cheesesteaks, hoagies, soft pretzels, stromboli and water ice.
  2. The Pennsylvania Dutch area was settled by Germans and Swiss who brought dishes from the old country, including the ever-popular funnel cake and shredded chicken on waffles, topped with gravy.
  3. The Northern Tier's culinary traditions are influenced by its proximity to New England.
  4. The Allegheny Mountains offer Appalachia-influenced foods, such as salt-raised bread and yellow grits with beans.
  5. The Northwest Lakeshore region bordering Lake Erie is Pennsylvania's wine country.

It's obvious that Pennsylvania's culinary style is heavily influenced by the immigrants who have settled there. Overall, however, simplicity is the key to Pennsylvania's culinary scene, whether it's the traditional fare of small diners and family restaurants or the new cuisine of posh restaurants.

Edible Allegheny magazine polled Pennsylvania chefs and found that many of their "what's in and what's out" findings echo trends published by the National Restaurant Association. Simple ingredients and presentation, smaller portions, wild and sustainable fish and edibles from local farmers and artisans are in, but wheat, dairy, bacon and molecular gastronomy are out.

Pennsylvania Culinary Arts Schools

Culinary arts educational opportunities for Pennsylvania residents are available at nationally-known culinary arts schools with locations throughout the state, community and technical colleges and four-year state and private colleges and universities. Programs include baking and pastry arts; enology and viticulture; nutrition; travel and tourism and hospitality, restaurant and lodging management. Certificates and associate and bachelor's degrees may also be offered, depending on the school and program of study. Individual personal interest classes and culinary vacation packages to the Keystone State are also a component of the state's culinary arts education.

The Advantages of Culinary Arts Schools in Pennsylvania

There are a number of excellent reasons to study at culinary schools in Pennsylvania. Many programs offer externships at local restaurants. Agriculture is Pennsylvania's leading industry, so the state is a gold mine of fresh, local food stuffs that professional chefs, amateur home cooks or those interested in better nutrition are looking for. The Keystone state is heavily invested in programs that focus on buying and promoting their local goods:

  • PA Preferred promotes local fresh fruits and vegetables, farms and farmers' markets, food retailers, restaurants and caterers and wineries and microbreweries.
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) encourages consumers to buy shares of a farm's seasonal harvest prior to planting at a fixed price and receive a weekly box of the harvest throughout the season.
  • Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) celebrates varietal wines, farmstead cheeses, pasture-raised lamb and regional foods, including heirloom fruits and vegetables.

Additionally, Pennsylvania celebrates food, wine and beer every month of the year with over 100 food and wine festivals and shows from the Pennsylvania Farm Show, from the beginning of January to the Peeps Fest at the end of December.

Pennsylvania Culinary Employment Outlook

Pennsylvania's restaurants are projected to bring in $17.8 billion in sales in 2013. Nationally, 2013 is expected to be the 14th straight year that restaurant-industry employment will outpace overall employment. Restaurants in Pennsylvania account for nine percent of the state's employment and are projected to experience a five percent job growth between 2013 and 2023 (

Pennsylvania Culinary Wages

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2012 annual mean wages in the Pennsylvania culinary industry include:

Culinary Professions
Annual Mean Salary in Hawaii
Annual Mean Salary Nationwide
Chefs and Head Cooks
Restaurant Cooks
First-line supervisors
Waiters and Waitresses

Another top national culinary trend identified by is better nutrition, something that has become a primary concern for culinary professionals as well as families and individuals. Culinary careers related to nutrition can include personal chefs and nutritionists. Personal chefs can earn from $200 to $500 per day, depending on geography and other variables (

Whether you plan to pursue a career as a chef, nutritionist or another culinary professional or just want to learn about what's new in nutrition, Pennsylvania culinary schools can provide that education.


"Building a Brand for Pennsylvania Products," Jean H. Kummer and Nichole L. C. Bucher, Fall 2012,

"Edible Allegheny Magazine,"

"FAQ," American Personal & Professional Chef Association,

"Learn at a Top Culinary School in Pennsylvania,"

"May 2012 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates," U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics,

"May 2012 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: Pennsylvania," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics,

"Pennsylvania Restaurant Industry at a Glance," National Restaurant Association,

"The Keystone Center,"


Pennsylvania Culinary Schools

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