Culinary Schools in Virginia
Virginia is quickly becoming a great culinary destination, and the variety of tastes and flavors are deeply rooted in its past. Since settlers learned the American Indian method for smoking meats in the 17th century, Virginia has become known for its smoked ham. The state is also known for its peanut fields, and of course, its decadent seafood dishes. Of course, no Southern state's cuisine would be complete without comfort foods. The state's combination of home cooked traditional foods and delicious seafood staples make culinary arts schools in Virginia a great destination for culinary students.
The Advantages of Culinary Arts Schools in Virginia
From Chesapeake Bay to the Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia's cuisine is as diverse as its landscape. Along Virginia's coastal areas and near Chesapeake Bay, you'll find succulent seafood dishes - ranging from raw oysters to blue and soft-shell crab. As you move south, you'll also find Virginia's peanut fields - which happen to grow the largest peanuts in the United States. Central and Southern Virginia are home to classic Southern foods like fried chicken, black-eyed peas, and vegetable stew. Culinary schools in Virginia are also able to take advantage of Northern Virginia's vineyards and wineries, and the Shenandoah Valley provides the state with beautiful peaches and apples. Even with all that the Commonwealth of Virginia has to offer, its culinary arts schools may also be influenced by traditional mountain fare - such as cornbread, beans, and venison - from the rustic areas of the west. And, of course, you can't go anywhere in Virginia without finding famous Virginia baked ham.
For those who love food but may not want to be a chef, pursuing an education at culinary schools in Virginia can still be a rewarding and fruitful investment. The study of nutrition is now a part of culinary education. Knowledge learned in culinary school can be applied in a wide range of careers related to the culinary arts. In fact, many graduates go on to become nutritionists, organic food growers, or specialty food shop owners. Industry trends suggest that consumers are growing more health conscious and opting for more locally grown products. Health and specialty food restaurants can be seen popping up all over Virginia, particularly near the coast and in densely populated areas.
Virginia Culinary Employment Outlook
Virginia culinary schools are preparing graduates for one of Virginia's biggest industries. Currently, restaurants in Virginia employ over 348,000 people - which accounts for about nine percent of the state's overall employment (restaurant.org/vrig, 2013). That number is expected to grow by about 10.2 percent over the next decade, signaling the addition of approximately 35,500 jobs. The restaurant industry in Virginia appears to be very healthy, with nearly 14,000 restaurants expected to bring in approximately $13.9 billion in sales in 2013.
Virginia Culinary Wages
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage in for chefs and head cooks in Virginia was $45,110 in May 2012 (bls.gov/oes, 2012). First-line supervisors made an annual mean wage of $34,070, while short order cooks made $21,490. The mean annual server wage in Virginia was $22,230 while bartenders made $25,760. However, nutritionists employed in Virginia made an annual mean wage of $56,320.