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Culinary Schools in San Diego

Long known for fish tacos and Mexican fare, the San Diego food scene combines the best of old world flavors with the latest dining trends and cuisines. Residents and tourists to the metro area can choose from more than 4,000 establishments serving up everything from BBQ to sushi to fusion cooking. It's a foodie dream come true, and also an excellent place to start a career in the culinary arts. If you're considering culinary schools in San Diego, here's what you need to know about what some call "America's Finest City."

Culinary Arts

Famous San Diego chefs, events and restaurants

San Diego boasts not only of plenty of dining choices, but also chefs who are movers and shakers in the culinary world. What's more, there are plenty of special events that include beer tastings, food trucks, cooking classes and more.

Here are just a couple of the people and events you can find on the San Diego food scene.

  • Jason Knibb: It's been more than a decade since Jason Knibb landed the executive chef position at NINE-TEN. You may have seen him on one of his many TV appearances, including a showdown with Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America.
  • San Diego Bay Food+Wine Festival: Occurring annually for 12 years, the Food+Wine Festival brings together the region's top restaurants and exhibitors for a week-long celebration of food.
  • William Bradley: As the director and executive chef at Addison at the Grand Del Mar, William Bradley has been on the receiving end of accolades from Relais & Chateaux and StarChefs.com.

Of course, you don't need a celebrity chef or a food festival to find good eats in San Diego. There are options for every taste and budget, and no shortage of opinions as to which restaurants are the best of the best. The following are a couple notable establishments that are highly rated by food critics, the man on the street or both.

  • Sushi Ota: If you want to try the place with the highest rated food according to Zagat, then you need to head to Sushi Ota. Undeniably authentic, Sushi Ota has been a San Diego mainstay since 1990.
  • Bobboi Natural Gelato: If you're in the mood for dessert, you may want to try Bobboi Natural Gelato, the highest rated restaurant in San Diego according to TripAdvisor.com users. You won't find much seating at the shop, but you will find plenty of made-that-day gelato in flavors that could include pineapple and basil, moka and salted caramel.
  • George's at the Cove: If you ask readers of San Diego Magazine where to go for a fancy night out, they would likely direct you to George's at the Cove. It was the reader's pick in the magazine's 2014 survey for top local restaurants.

Other restaurants that get rave reviews time and time again include Café Chloe, Searsucker and Prepkitchen. Or if you want to check out one of San Diego's many food trucks, the MIHO Gastrotruck may be a good place to start.

Culinary arts schools & career outlook in San Diego

Award-winning chefs and food festivals represent only the surface of the city's vibrant food and entertainment scene. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 173,000 workers were a part of San Diego's leisure and hospitality industry in November 2014. What's more, the industry is still growing, with jobs for leisure and hospitality occupations increasing 3.9 percent from November 2013-November 2014.

These jobs include a wide range of positions from resort managers to event planners to hotel concierges. However, graduates from culinary schools in San Diego may be most interested in those jobs that take place in and around the kitchen.

The following chart shows the employment and wages for a few of the culinary occupations available in San Diego as well as the statewide expected job growth for these positions.

OccupationTotal Employment in San Diego (2013)Average Salary in San Diego (2013)% Job Growth in California (2012-22)
Bakers 1,720 $24,030 11%
Chefs and Head Cooks 1,440 $52,260 13.7%
Food Service Managers 3,660 $55,070 11.8%
Cooks, Institution and Cafeteria 2,510 $28,310 16.2%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013, and Projections Central

As you can see, these occupations are expected to see significant growth in the coming years. While a degree many not be needed for all food-related occupations, getting an education from one of the culinary schools in San Diego could be a solid investment in your future. To learn more, contact culinary schools in San Diego and nearby communities to learn more about what they have to offer and how they may positively affect your career.

Sources:

  • Projections Central, California, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
  • Best Restaurants in San Diego, CA, TripAdvisor, http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g60750-San_Diego_California.html
  • The Best Restaurants in San Diego, San Diego Magazine, http://www.sandiegomagazine.com/San-Diego-Magazine/June-2014/The-Best-Restaurants-in-San-Diego-2014/index.php?cparticle=1&siarticle=0#artanc
  • Economy at a Glance, San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.ca_sandiego_msa.htm
  • May 2013 Occupational Employment Statistics, San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos CA, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_41740.htm#35-0000
  • San Diego Restaurants, Zagat, http://www.zagat.com/p/san-diego#filter/vertical=46&orderby=score_food&sort=desc&page=1
  • The 38 Essential San Diego Restaurants, San Diego Eater, http://sandiego.eater.com/maps/the-38-essential-san-diego-restaurants
  • Sushi Ota, http://www.sushiota.com/
  • San Diego Food & Drink Events, San Diego Reader, http://www.sandiegoreader.com/events/food-drink/
  • San Diego Bay Area Food+Wine Festival, http://www.sandiegowineclassic.com/about.html
  • James Beard Foundation, San Diego, http://www.jamesbeard.org/search/site/san%2520diego
  • Jason Knibb, NINE-TEN, http://www.nine-ten.com/jason_knibb
  • William Bradley, Addison, http://www.addisondelmar.com/about/the-team/william-bradley/

This list also contains online schools that accept students from San Diego

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5 Program(s) Found
  • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
  • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
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Le Cordon Bleu Schools of North America , Online (campus option available)
  • Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
  • Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
  • Provide hands-on training from instructors who are certified, master chefs.
  • Offer flexible schedules and online programs.
  • Has 30 schools worldwide, spanning 5 continents, including 17 campuses in the U.S.
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  • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
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  • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
  • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
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  • Offers more than 150 self-paced, career-relevant programs that are connected to a supportive 24/7 online community of students and faculty.
  • Profiled in many publications such as The Boston Globe, Fox Business, and  Inside Higher Ed.
  • Nearly 25,000 graduates each year.
  • Accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
  • Founded in 1890 in Scranton, Pennsylvania    
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  • Has students attend one four-week class at a time and take their final exam before moving on to their next class.
  • Offers 24/7 online tech support, with a typical response time of 4 hours or less.
  • Has online help centers that offer assistance with writing, statistics, medical assisting, and more.
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  • Researches trends for growing fields to tailor a more effective curriculum.
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  • Founded in Southern California in 1998 by dog training expert Steven Appelbaum.
  • The largest independent dog training company in the United States.
  • Offers 11-stage programs that feature an in-home study component along with a hands-on training module.
  • A member of the MyCAA Financial Assistance program, which offers eligible military spouses up to $4,000 of tuition assistance that can be used towards any of their courses.
  • Helps graduates find employment and coaches those who are looking to start their own business.
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  • Online Courses
  • Ranked 25th among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • One of the world’s leading private research universities.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 9:1, and 56.8% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has an average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, of 96.8 percent.
  • Dedicated to a strong tradition of integrating liberal and professional education since 1880.
  • Its faculty includes National Academy members, Nobel Laureates, MacArthur Fellows, and more.
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  • Ranked 33rd among the Best Grad Schools for Social Work in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Founded in 1904 as the nation’s first institute of higher learning to offer training for clinical social workers.
  • Provides a rigorous education, including a nationally accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) Program and PhD in Social Work.  
  • Offers inventive programs with hands-on experience.  
  • Incorporates social justice values and multicultural perspectives into curriculum. 
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  • Online Courses
  • Some campuses host low-cost medical and dental clinics, where students can get real-world experience.
  • Designated as 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1976.
  • Campus-specific accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
  • 16 campus locations across the United States.
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  • Ranked #11 in the 2015 Best Graduate Schools in Social Work by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Offers more specialization opportunities than any other social work program, with 10 concentrations and sub-concentrations and 8 dual-degree programs.
  • The first elite researching university to offer a Master of Social Work degree online.
  • Has 4,000 field internship opportunities that give students real-world experience.
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  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
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  • Transferable Credits

• Originally founded in 1899, making it one of the oldest colleges of osteopathic medicine.
• Specializes in osteopathic medicine, which features a “whole person” approach to medicine, treating the entire person rather than just the symptoms with a focus on preventive health care. 
• Faculty conducts ongoing research projects and scholarly activities in the field of medicine and healthcare.
• Offers Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) and Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) programs and several graduate programs.
• Accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

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  • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Designated as a 2014 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
  • Houses one of the largest library systems in the Pacific Northwest, with 3 libraries on the Pullman campus and a library at each regional campus.
  • Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
  • Has 5 Washington campuses in Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities, Vancouver, and Everett.
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  • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2014 & 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
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  • Has achieved accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
  • Its main campus is located in Syracuse, New York, with extended campuses in a number of major metro cities including Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York City, and more.
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Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Offers several scholarship opportunities for students who qualify.
  • Laptop computers are issued to each student at the beginning of their program.
  • Provides programs in health care, business, information technology, and graphic arts.
  • Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • A private, accredited distance learning college based in Norcross, Georgia founded in 1987.
  • Ensures that service members, their spouses and veterans can maximize their military education benefits.
  • Gives students the option to customize monthly payments to fit their budgets and lifestyle.
  • Offers all-inclusive tuition: textbooks, learning materials, and academic support are covered in the cost.
  • Allows alumni to enroll in any future program at a reduced rate.
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  • Online Courses

Other San Diego, California Culinary Schools

School Name Programs Offered
San Diego Mesa College Culinary Arts/Chef Training
San Diego State University Foods & Nutrition Studies
Travel University International Foodservice Management Certificate