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Culinary Schools in Las Vegas

For such an epic entertainment destination, Las Vegas's culinary prowess is surprisingly new. For decades all-night diners and "chuck wagon" buffets catered to guests in search of cheap convenience, rather than refined cuisine. That was before Spago, the venture that triggered a full-scale culinary revolution. Epicurious food critic Heidi Knapp Rinella wrote that when world renown chef Wolfgang Puck decided to open a high-end restaurant in the land of all-you-can-eat buffets in the early 1990s, chefs and restaurateurs questioned his sanity. It was a gamble befitting Sin City, but one that certainly paid off. Spago succeeded, as did Puck's next four area restaurants. It was the dawn of a new era for Las Vegas cuisine.

Culinary Arts

As word of Las Vegas's culinary potential seeped out, Michelin-starred chefs like Guy Savoy, Alain Ducasse, Joel Robuchon and Gordon Ramsay rushed in. Las Vegas is officially a go-to place for culinary professionals hoping to make their mark. Its success helped make Nevada the nation's fastest growing culinary job market, but competition for jobs in top restaurants can be fierce. Students attending culinary schools in Las Vegas are in a position to learn from some of the best in the business

Famous Las Vegas restaurants

Las Vegas's top-rated restaurant scene is a magnet for rising culinary professionals in search of mentorship and experience. The following Las Vegas restaurants are mainstays on "Best of" lists by Zagat, Epicurious and other major culinary publications.

  • Spago: Spago in Caesar's Palace, founded by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, was the catalyst for Las Vegas's refined dining revolution. Executive Chef Eric Klein's seasonal menu features classic American cuisine with global influences.
  • Lotus of Siam: What started as a hole in the wall in a Las Vegas strip mall is now one of the city's best known and loved restaurants, thanks to the hard work of James Beard Award-winning chef Saipin Chutima and her husband. Lotus serves Northern Thai cuisine using family recipes more than a century in the making.
  • Restaurant Guy Savoy: Restaurant Guy Savoy is another award-winning Caesar's Palace venu, this time from the Parisian three-Michelin-star chef Guy Savoy. Managed by Savoy's son, Franck, the restaurant serves a number of Savoy classics, like oysters in ice gelee and crisp sweetbreads.
  • Joël Robuchon Restaurant: This upscale eatery in the MGM grand was launched by Joël Robuchon who, according to Epicurus, was dubbed Chef of the Century in his native France. Guests can dine on multi-course tasting menus featuring such delicacies as black truffles and caviar.
  • Sen of Japan: Sen of Japan was founded by the ever popular chef Hiro Nakano of NOBU fame. It also happens to have been named America's Top Japanese Restaurant by Zagat in 2010. Sen of Japan's menu features top-quality sushi, Kobe beef and other top-quality ingredients
  • Raku: Raku owner-chef Mitsuo Endo learned the art of traditional Japanese cuisine at prestigious restaurants in his native Tokyo before setting his sights on the U.S. market. He has since been nominated for multiple James Beard Awards. Raku, Endo's flagship, is widely regarded as one of the nation's top-rated Japanese restaurants.

These restaurants have won the hearts of foodies and critics from all over the globe, but represent only a sliver of what Sin City has to offer. Las Vegas is stocked with eateries of all cuisines and prestige, not to mention demand for professionals to run them.

Las Vegas culinary schools & career outlook

To say Nevada's culinary job market is hot would be an understatement. The National Restaurant Association reports that the Silver State was home to the fastest growing restaurant industry in the nation in 2013, and not for the first time. In 2015, restaurants accounted for nearly 200,000 Nevada jobs, or about 16 percent of the state's total employment.

Though these figures are statewide, Las Vegas's restaurant surge means many of these new culinary jobs will emerge in Sin City kitchens. The following table highlights state and metro-wide salary and employment projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Nevada Workforce.

OccupationTotal Employment in Las Vegas (2013)Average Salary in Las Vegas (2013)% Job Growth in Las Vegas (2012-2022)
Chefs and Head Cooks 2,820 $52,250 10.7%
Bakers 1,879 $31,260 19.9%
Food Service Managers 2,060 $66,860 7.0%
Restaurant Cooks 15,450 $29,570 19.7%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014, and Nevada Workforce

Demand for Las Vegas culinary professionals is growing, but competition for positions in top-rated restaurants can be tight. Training and experience can help. Culinary schools in Las Vegas offer formal education in a number of culinary specialties, not just cooking. The following programs are common.

Culinary programs, courses and degrees can vary significantly from one school to the next, so it is important for future students to research their options. Have a look at the baking and pastry schools and the culinary schools Las Vegas has to offer to start moving your career forward.

Sources:

  • "Top Restaurants in Las Vegas," Epicurious, Heidi Knapp Rinella, http://www.epicurious.com/archive/diningtravel/restaurants/lasvegas
  • "Nevada, Texas and D.C. led job growth in 2013," News & Research, National REstaurant Association, April 23, 2014, http://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/News/Economist-s-Notebook-Nevada-Texas-and-D-C-led-res
  • "10 Top Classic Las Vegas Restaurants: Vintage Guide for Hungry Visitors," Forbes, September 8, 2014, Larry Olmsted
  • "Nevada Restaurant Industry at a Glance," National Restaurant Association, 2015, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2015/NV_Restaurants2015
  • "May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: Las Vegas-Paradise, NV," Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 25, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_29820.htm
  • "Las Vegas MSA: 2012-2022 Long-Term Occupational Projections," Research & Analysis Bureau, Nevada Workforce, http://www.nevadaworkforce.com/?PAGEID=67&SUBID=197
  • "Las Vegas' Best Restaurants," Zagat, September 9, 2013, https://www.zagat.com/l/top-food-in-las-vegas

This list also contains online schools that accept students from Las Vegas

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5 Program(s) Found
  • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
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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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  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • 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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  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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1 Program(s) Found
  • Has been training students for creative careers since 1921.
  • Provides interactive course materials and unique approaches to curriculum that  support multiple learning styles.
  • Offers a 10% scholarship to eligible active duty, active and drilling members of the Reserve and National Guard. 
  • Its accelerated online courses allow students to learn new course material every 5 ½ weeks.
  • Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
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Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
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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 #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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  • 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.
  • Provides job placement assistance to all its students and alumni.
  • Researches trends for growing fields to tailor a more effective curriculum.
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Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • 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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  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Features a public clinic at all campuses where students can get real-world experience.
  • Established its main campus in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • Proud to be a part of the Steiner Education Group (SEG), a subsidiary of Steiner Leisure Ltd. which has operations on more than 200 spas and salons worldwide.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET).
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American University’s Kogod School of Business has been educating business leaders since opening its doors in 1955 as Washington D.C.’s first university-level school of business. Faculty members are scholars who are dedicated to fostering collaborative learning environments.

  • Online Courses
  • Approved by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with an A+ rating since 2010.
  • Established its main campus in Fremont, California, with satellite campuses in San Jose and Sacramento.
  • Offers programs in medical assisting, pharmacy technology, vocational nursing, and more.
  • Accredited by the ACCSC, with approval from the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians and the Board of Registered Nursing.
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Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Gives students the option to choose from day, evening, and weekend classes to fit their schedule.
  • Offers public spa and salon services at all campuses for students to gain real-world experience.
  • Provides short specialty programs and workshops open to non-students as well.
  • Has 60 campuses across the United States.
  • Accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences (NACCAS).
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  • Accredited
  • Financial Aid
  • 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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  • Online Courses

Other Las Vegas, Nevada Culinary Schools

School Name Programs Offered
College of Southern Nevada Casino Management
University of Nevada - Las Vegas Beverage Management