Culinary Schools in Atlanta

As one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., Atlanta is filled with opportunity for students who want to enter the booming restaurant industry. Culinary schools in Atlanta certainly offer numerous real-world options for working with the best of the best, from celebrity chefs to down-home staples that have become famous.

Culinary Arts

Atlanta celebrates good food and drink every year with a wide variety of events, including the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, held every year in June, and the Atlanta Street Food Festival, which brings food trucks together in July. In addition to the down-home southern traditions, the city is also home to restaurants driven by celebrity chefs, as well as a huge array of ethnic restaurants along the popular Buford Highway.

In the wider state of Georgia, you can find many culinary claims to fame: The famous Georgia peach is grown here, as are Vidalia onions, plenty of pecans, and peanuts -- which are most often served boiled and hot. Fried foods, including chicken and okra, tend to be menu staples in even the trendiest of restaurants. Georgia is also home to a mean barbecue, with pork being the meat of choice. And finally, the most popular culinary offering to come out of Atlanta has become a modern staple: Coca-Cola. The drink was sold for five cents a glass in 1886, and a humble nine servings per day were served in Atlanta during the first year. Today, 1.9 billion servings of Coca-Cola are poured daily. That's definitely a Georgia success story.

Famous restaurants in Atlanta

Opportunities abound for graduates of culinary schools in Atlanta, including work at some of the hottest restaurants in the state. Here are a few of the places that draw locals and visitors to sample the fine cooking.

  • The Varsity: Sure, it's kind of a dive, but it's awesome. With a history that dates back to 1928, The Varsity bills itself as the largest drive-in restaurant in the world. It has plenty of room for 600 cars and 800 people, as well as its own lingo. Feeding that many people means a world-class volume of food, including 300 gallons of chili, 5,000 fried pies and much more -- made fresh every day.
  • The Busy Bee Cafe: Another staple of the city, this little cafe opened in 1947 and continues to top "best food" lists across the nation. Proud connoisseurs of Southern cuisine, fried chicken and barbecue ribs are tops on the menu, and the restaurant is considered the home of the famous "meat and three." Luscious cobblers round out the reasonably priced menu.
  • Ted's Montana Grill: Founded by Ted Turner -- the same man who founded CNN and once owned the Atlanta Braves -- this unique restaurant chain is known for an innovative menu and dedication to the environment. Not your average burger joint, there are dozens of locations in the U.S., with three of those in Atlanta.
  • Mary Mac's Tea Room: In 2011, the Georgia House of Representatives officially declared this restaurant "Atlanta's Dining Room." The last of the 16 original tea rooms that called Atlanta home in the 1940's, it's a haven for celebrities and offers many famous options, including fried okra, 'pot likker' and sweet tea.

Culinary schools & career outlook for Atlanta

Why consider an Atlanta culinary school? This booming city has developed into one of the top metropolitan areas in the U.S. Graduates of culinary schools in Atlanta can step into a rich tradition of good, simple food. According to the National Restaurant Association, Georgia was home to over 16,000 eating and drinking establishments in 2015, bringing in over 17 billion in sales and providing jobs for almost 422,000 people statewide. By 2025, that number is expected to rise by a healthy 21.1 percent.

In Atlanta, business looks good all across the board, with a 4.6 percent increase in overall employment from 2014 to 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth means more people moving to the area, which in turn means a higher demand for dining establishments. The pay is good, too -- most positions in restaurants tend to pay a higher wage in Atlanta than they do in the state overall. Here's what culinary graduates can expect from the mean annual wage of the most common jobs in the restaurant industry in Atlanta:

  • Food prep supervisors: $29,670
  • Restaurant cooks: $23,730
  • Bartenders: $20,830
  • Host or hostess: $17,930
  • Dining room attendants: $19,320
  • Waiter or waitress: $19,140

The job outlook for those in the culinary industry is robust. According to Projections Central, the following job growth is expected for culinary positions in Georgia from 2012 to 2022:

  • Food prep supervisors: 14%
  • Restaurant cooks: 14.2%
  • Bartenders: 27.5%
  • Chefs and head cooks: 14.3%
  • Waiters and waitresses: 11.1%
  • Host or hostess: 7.8%
  • Dining room attendants: 25%

In addition to these great options, graduates of culinary schools in Atlanta can spread their wings in any number of related positions, including that of baker, pastry chef, restaurant manager, catering, and even hotel management. No matter what the choice of career, Atlanta is a booming city that holds a great deal of promise for graduates of culinary schools.


  • About Us: Coca-Cola History, https://www.worldofcoca-cola.com/about-us/coca-cola-history/
  • Atlanta Area Employment -- February 2015, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/regions/southeast/news-release/areaemployment_atlanta.htm
  • Long Term Occupational Projections, Georgia, Projections Central, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
  • Mary Mac's Tea Room, http://www.marymacs.com/about-us
  • Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_12060.htm#35-0000
  • State Statistics: Georgia, National Restaurant Association, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2015/GA_Restaurants2015
  • Ted's Montana Grill, https://www.tedsmontanagrill.com/index.html
  • The Busy Bee Cafe, http://www.thebusybeecafe.com/en/
  • The Varsity, http://www.thevarsity.com/index.php

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