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Culinary Schools in Jacksonville

Over the past few years, Jacksonville has slowly built a name for itself in the culinary world, attracting the attention of some of the nation's top restaurateurs. This includes Top Chef's season 7 winner Kevin Sbraga, whose brand new Sbraga & Co is set to open in Jacksonville soon. Dan Simons, principal of a Maryland-based restaurant consulting group, was instrumental in bringing Sbraga on board. Of Jacksonville's culinary scene, Simons says, "It's a dining scene with local folks working really hard and there's some good stuff going on," he said. "But it's young in its culinary development."

Culinary Arts

Simons also mentioned that the diners are more advanced in their desires for food and beverages than what the scene is giving them. Erin Thursby, co-founder of Jacksonville's all-day food party GastroJax, agrees: "We have a growing scene and that we're doing some wonderful things with locally sourced foods and sustainability…we might not be as exotic, but people here love to eat and we know what's good."

Famous restaurants in Jacksonville

While Jacksonville still has much to prove in the food world, it has a few key elements on its side: in addition to passionate community and increasingly widespread attention, the city also boasts great local produce for ten months out of the year, as well as fresh oysters, shrimp and snapper. Students who attend Jacksonville cooking schools get to learn and network amidst a food scene poised for success.

Students will get to know the culinary scene in Jacksonville as good as any local. Here are three great restaurants that we recommend to anyone who's new to the area.

  • Maple Street Biscuit Company - Culturally, Florida is practically a nation unto itself. Even its geography, with the majority of the state jutting out into the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, suggests a certain amount of isolation. But Jacksonville's proximity to Georgia and South Carolina make Southern influences inevitable, and they're at the best at Maple Street Biscuit Company. Maple Street's decadent sandwiches feature their own house-made flaky biscuits, with fillings like fried chicken, goat cheese and pepper jelly, or pulled pork and fresh slaw. Sides like fried green tomatoes and oatmeal with maple syrup and pecans further the Southern celebration to delicious effect.
  • The French Pantry - The French Pantry is a combination bakery and lunchtime stop, and a true Jacksonville original. Jaxons with a sweet tooth rave about the wedding cake, an over-the-top take on strawberry shortcake. Diners looking for something a little more substantial enjoy The French Pantry's wonderfully inventive sandwiches, like the Irish cheddar grilled cheese with duck confit and caramelized onions, or the shrimp, leek and mozzarella panini.
  • Hawkers Asian Street Fare - Hawkers takes the food truck ethos of small, perfect bites of ethnic fusion made from locally-sourced ingredients and presents it in a comfortable brick-and-mortar location. The menu highlights some of the beloved Asian street food, like coconut curry shrimp, wok-seared roast duck and roti canai, a popular Malaysian fry bread served with spicy curry dipping sauce.

Jacksonville culinary salary and career info

The very elements that make Jacksonville a young player in the world of fine cuisine also make it particularly hospitable to newer chefs. The River City's culinary scene is just now gathering steam, meaning that hardworking young chefs whose food tells a compelling story can get in on the ground floor. What's more, the average salary for many culinary careers in Jacksonville exceeds the national average.

That's the good news. The tough thing about making it in the restaurant world, wherever you live, is that in our current era of food obsession, interest simply outpaces opportunity. Students who attend Jacksonville cooking schools can set themselves apart from the masses by honing their craft, acquiring hands-on experience and networking with some of the area's most successful chefs.

Occupation Total Employment in Jacksonville Average Salary in Jacksonville Projected Job Growth Nationwide (2012-2022)
Bakers 580 $25,180 6%
Chefs and Head Cooks 330 $53,260 5%
Restaurant Cooks 6,480 $23,640 10%

Sources:

  • Bakers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/bakers.htm
  • Chefs and Head Cooks, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/food-preparation-and-serving/chefs-and-head-cooks.htm
  • Cooks, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/food-preparation-and-serving/cooks.htm
  • The French Pantry, Yelp, 2015, http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-french-pantry-jacksonville
  • Hawkers Asian Street Fare, 2014, http://eathawkers.com/
  • Jacksonville, FL - May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_27260.htm
  • Maple Street Biscuit Company, 2015, http://maplestreetbiscuits.com/

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