Culinary Schools in Fresno

The fifth-largest city in California and the largest city inland in the state, Fresno has plenty to offer culinary arts students. With a population just around 500,000, this city in the San Joaquin valley was founded in 1856 following the famed California Gold Rush. Many say it's just the right size -- large enough to offer all the amenities a large city has to offer, but small enough to not spend too much time on the freeways.

Culinary Arts

The San Joaquin valley produces much of the vegetables that feed not only California, but the nation at large. In fact, Fresno County produces 350 crops worth approximately $6.8 billion, as reported by the Fresno/Clovis Convention and Visitors Bureau. This might be just the place for students looking to attend one of the Fresno cooking schools. California State University, Fresno is the city's major university with an enrollment of 20,000 students. In addition, the school is also home to a 1,100-acre University Farm located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Famous Fresno restaurants and festivals

As you might imagine, food is big business here -- both on the retail and on the wholesale level. It's no surprise that many food festivals are held in Fresno, including California's leading Greek Festival, which takes place in August every year and is held on the grounds of the beautiful St. George Greek Orthodox church. This year's event market the 55th anniversary of this very popular Greek food festival.

The Fresno Food Expo is at the end of August, and it's a large event that attracts all stakeholders in the F&B industry, including manufacturers, processors, winemakers, and brewers -- and of course the public, as the one-day Fresno Food Expo Public Event is open to all.

With 120 distinct cultures, including Native American, Scandinavian, German, and many others, Fresno's food culture is as diverse as it can be. While there are quite a few large chain restaurants, there are also plenty of farmers markets and small, family-run gems that can be found here. It's quite a challenge to select only a few, but let's start with these three Fresno favorites:

  • Cracked Pepper Bistro: This local favorite features top-notch French cuisine, a delightful patio and great service. Don't miss the bread pudding for dessert. The eatery has seasonal menu and, not surprisingly, sources local products.
  • BJ's Kountry Kitchen: This uncomplicated and friendly restaurant strives to provide an old-fashioned diner experience, and it succeeds at it. Open for breakfast and dinner, it gets packed on the weekends, so get there early.
  • Diana's Classic Armenian Cuisine: This casual restaurant is not fancy, but the food is outstanding, especially the shish kabob and the lentil soup. Finish off the meal with a baklava.

Fresno culinary career outlook

We know that food is important, but so are the earnings that one could achieve working in the food and beverage industry. Those who study in Fresno could find many job opportunities in the entire state of California, home to two of the largest metros in the U.S. -- Los Angeles and San Francisco. Below is a snapshot of what to expect in the restaurant industry in California.


Total Employment in California (2014)

Average Salary in California (2014)

% Job Growth (nationwide, 2012-2022)





Butchers and Meat Cutters




Chefs and Head Cooks




Food Service Managers




Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

The Fresno metro also has opportunities for graduates of culinary schools in the area. Those who gain experience while still in school may have better opportunities in a competitive job market. Here is Fresno-specific data, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.



Total Employed (2014)

Average Salary (2014)





Butchers and Meat Cutters



Chefs and Head Cooks



Food Service Managers



Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Students who are interesting in studying culinary arts in Fresno can browse the links below to find a school that matches with their needs. Be sure to enjoy the sunshine, the fresh ingredients, and the friendliness of the San Joaquin valley.


  • BJ's Kountry Kitchen, http://www.bjskountrykitchen.com/
  • City of Fresno, Population, http://www.fresno.gov/NR/rdonlyres/99EEC85C-73A0-4DAF-B6B0-79C6A1718282/0/demographicssummary09.pdf
  • Cracked Pepper Bistro, http://www.crackedpepperbistro.com/
  • Diana's Classic Armenian Cuisine: https://www.facebook.com/Dianas-Restaurant-174796555865250/timeline/
  • Discover Fresno, City of Fresno, http://www.fresno.gov/DiscoverFresno/default.htm
  • Fresno Food Expo, http://www.fresnofoodexpo.com/content/expo
  • Fresno Greek Fest, http://fresnogreekfest.com/
  • May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates California, 2015, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ca.htm
  • May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Fresno, California, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_23420.htm
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bakers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/bakers.htm
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook, Butchers and Meat Cutters, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/butchers-and-meat-cutters.htm
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook, Chefs and Head Cooks, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/food-preparation-and-serving/chefs-and-head-cooks.htm
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook, Food Service Managers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/food-service-managers.htm
  • Restaurant industry names Valley's best places to eat, drink; Clough, Bethany; The Fresno Bee, March 17, 2015, http://www.fresnobee.com/living/food-drink/article19540344.html

This list also contains online schools that accept students from Fresno

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            Other Fresno, California Culinary Schools

            School Name Programs Offered
            Quality College of Culinary Careers Baking and Pastry Chef