Culinary Schools in Raleigh

The food industry is big business in Raleigh, North Carolina. Restaurants in the state were projected to bring in $16.5 billion in sales in 2015, and employ 436,600 residents -- that's a full ten percent of the state's workforce. In the Raleigh-Cary area, there were 1,522 eating and drinking establishments, employing just over 29,000 people. With a workforce like that, there is no doubt that graduates of Raleigh culinary schools will be able to find numerous opportunities in the area.

Culinary Arts

Famous restaurants in Raleigh

The Triangle area, made up of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, boasts a huge variety of restaurants and drinking establishments. Narrowing down the must-eat places is tough, but these routinely make the top of the lists:

  • Beasley's Chicken + Honey - This busy restaurant often has a line outside the door, ready to dig into the perfect southern food. Beasley's made the Only in North Carolina list of restaurants that are tough to get into, but worth the long wait.
  • Sullivan's Steakhouse - Located in the Historic Creamery Building, this chain restaurant has a down-home feel. The food and atmosphere are perfect for celebrating; in fact, it is listed by Open Table as one of the most-booked restaurants in Raleigh.
  • Poole's Downtown Diner - There is no doubt the food here will be extraordinary; the owner and chef, Ashley Christensen, won the 2014 James Beard Award for the best chef in the Southeast. It's no accident that this fabulous chef also owns Beasley's, as well as other fine establishments throughout the Triangle area.

In addition to these fine establishments, Raleigh is home to countless food fast restaurants, 'mom and pop' shops, bakeries, catering companies and the like. Those who attend Raleigh cooking schools can rest assured that there is plenty of opportunity for hands-on training in the Triangle area, allowing them to hone their skills and find lasting work once the educational journey is over.

Raleigh culinary salary and job growth

Where can students expect to find work upon graduation from Raleigh cooking schools? North Carolina is expected to see restaurant industry growth of 20.5% from 2015 to 2025, according to the National Restaurant Association. Projections Central reports the following jobs as being the fastest-growing in the food industry, with promising growth from 2012 to 2022:

  • Food servers in a non-restaurant setting: 22.7%
  • Cafeteria cooks: 19.2%
  • Restaurant cooks: 17.6%
  • All other cooks: 17.1%
  • Food processing workers: 17%
  • Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food: 16.9%
  • First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers: 16%

Those who want to take their education further can opt for courses in business, nutrition, food processing and the like. Hospitality courses are often included with culinary classes; however, an emphasis on hospitality can also open more doors in the restaurant industry. These related occupations are some of the fastest-growing in the state of North Carolina:

  • Concierges: 24.7%
  • Dietetic technicians: 17.5%
  • Bartenders: 15.9%

Keep in mind that graduates of Raleigh culinary schools will often start at the bottom of the ladder, so to speak, doing the 'grunt work' in kitchens. They might begin their work as a sous chef, assistant manager, waiter or waitress, and other positions that allow them an opportunity to work their way up. Those who have a great deal of experience tend to see higher incomes, while those fresh out of Raleigh cooking schools might see the lower end of the averages. The following average incomes were reported for jobs in 2014 in the Raleigh-Cary area, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Food servers in a non-restaurant setting: $20,160
  • Cafeteria cooks: $24,420
  • Restaurant cooks: $22,310
  • Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food: $18,350
  • First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers: $34,400

Raleigh culinary schools are the first stop for those who want to work in award-winning restaurants or start their own food-related business. From courses in food preparation and safety to those in business and management, those who graduate from Raleigh cooking schools are poised to begin most exciting gastronomic journeys they can imagine.


  • Long Term Occupational Projections, North Carolina, Projections Central, http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
  • May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Raleigh-Cary, NC, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_39580.htm#35-0000
  • North Carolina Restaurant Industry at a Glance, National Restaurant Association, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2015/NC_Restaurants2015
  • "Raleigh eatery one of 10 N.C. restaurants 'that are hard to get into ... but totally worth it'," Triangle Business Journal, December 11, 2015, Rebecca Troyer, http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/morning_call/2015/12/raleigh-eatery-one-of-10-n-c-restaurants-that-are.html
  • Restaurant Employment Growth 2015 to 2025 (Projected), National Restaurant Association, http://www.restaurant.org/Restaurant/media/Restaurant/SiteImages/News%20and%20Research/Forecast/2015%20Forecast/2015EmpGrowthMap.jpg
  • "We find the best Triangle restaurants for 2015," The News & Observer, January 29, 2015, Greg Cox, http://www.newsobserver.com/living/food-drink/article16911473.html

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