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Culinary Schools in Memphis

Memphis is known for many things, but its epic music legacy tops the list. This is the land of the Memphis blues, jazz, and rock and roll. One could easily argue that when it comes to music, Memphis is in a class all its own. The same could be said of its soulful cuisine.

Culinary Arts

Memphis is home to the annual World Champion Barbecue Cooking Contest, the largest pork barbecue contest in the world, with a Guinness record to prove it. Many of these contenders dish up "Memphis style" pork, one of the four major regional styles of barbecue. This combination of slow-cooked pulled pork and sweet tomato sauce helped make Memphis the New York Times-anointed Barbecued Pork Capital of the World, but the city's food-related accolades extend well beyond the pit. Publications like Food and Wine and Travel + Leisure ranked Memphis among the top cities in the America for pizza and burgers, and several of its chefs and restaurants have won national acclaim. For students attending Memphis culinary schools, this thriving restaurant scene translates to a world of opportunity.

Famous Memphis Restaurants

From the bustling bars and restaurants on Beale and South Main to the trendy eateries of Midtown's Cooper-Young district, Memphis offers something for virtually every palate. Hungry guests can sample award-winning burgers, fried chicken and, of course, barbecue. Restaurants range from iconic little hole-in-the-wall dives to fine dining restaurants run by award-winning chefs. The following are just a few of the most famous restaurants in Memphis.

  • Dyer's Burgers: Founded in 1912, this Beale Street restaurant is one of the oldest and most iconic in Memphis; Food and Wine once ranked its burgers among the best in America. Legend says Dyer's secret is a special, ageless cooking grease transported with an armed police escort.
  • Earnestine & Hazel's: This downtown spot is casual, affordable and, according to local lore, haunted. In fact, it even offers ghost tours. It is also home of the famous Soul Burger comprised of a patty, onions, cheese, pickles and the ever-popular "Soul Sauce" on a bun.
  • Central BBQ: There is no shortage of popular barbecue joints in Memphis, but several publications consider Central BBQ a must-try for serious fanatics. It is consistently ranked the no. 1 barbecue restaurant in Memphis by locals, and has been featured by USA Today, Garden & Gun, Southern Living and other major magazines.
  • Rendezvous Charcoal Ribs: Rendezvous was founded in 1948 and remains a serious contender for Memphis' best barbecue restaurant. According to its website, this line-out-the-door hotspot has hosted presidents, the Rolling Stones, and many more famous guests.
  • Jim Neely's Interstate Barbecue: Jim Neely is the father of Pat Neely, of Food Network fame, but when it comes to Memphis barbecue, the senior Neely is a true legend. Interstate features a running list of its many awards and acknowledgements on its website, including best restaurant for pork barbecue sandwiches by USA Today.
  • Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken: One might not think much of this roadside shack at first glance, but Gus's record backs its claim. Founded in the early 1950s, Gus's chicken has earned recognition from such publications as GQ Magazine and UrbanSpoon.

Memphis culinary schools & career outlook

Restaurants are big business in Tennessee. According to the National Restaurant Association, they already account for 10 percent of the state's total employment and are expected to grow by another 10.9 percent between 2015 and 2025. Some of those nearly 32,000 jobs will undoubtedly be in Memphis. The following table highlights key state and regional culinary job trends.

OccupationTotal Employment in Memphis (2014)Average Salary in Memphis (2014)% Job Growth in Tennessee (2012-2022)
Chefs and Head Cooks 620 $34,370 9%
Bakers 250 $23,800 7.6%
Food Service Managers 1,610 $42,040 6.5%
Restaurant Cooks 5,410 $22,380 N/A
Bartenders N/A N/A 15.4%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014, and Projections Central

The culinary market may be trending upward, but competition could still be fierce for positions in top Memphis kitchens. Students attending culinary schools in Memphis may have an edge, especially if they complete local internships or take advantage of networking opportunities. These programs can prepare students for a number of different roles. The following are examples of the types of different programs culinary schools in Memphis might offer.

No single culinary school or program is right for everyone, so it is important for future students to research all their options. Check out the culinary schools in Memphis below to get started.

Sources:

  • World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, Memphis in May, http://www.memphisinmay.org/memphis-in-may-info
  • "America's Best Cities for Pizza," Travel + Leisure, February 21, 2013, Katrina Brown Hunt, http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/americas-best-cities-for-pizza/18
  • "Best Burgers in the U.S." Food & Wine, Lawrence Marcus, http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/best-burgers-in-the-us
  • "Food and Wine counts Memphis duo among country's best new chefs," Commercial Appeal, April 2, 2013, http://www.commercialappeal.com/business/food-wine-counts-memphis-duo-among-countrys-best
  • "Tennessee Restaurant Industry at a Glance," National Restaurant Association, 2015,http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2015/TN_Restaurants2015
  • "May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Memphis, TN-MS-AR," Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 25, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_32820.htm
  • Labor Market Analysis: Memphis, TN-MS-AR, https://www.jobs4tn.gov/vosnet/lmi/area/areasummary.aspx?enc=0sOj/A15jsaGJZeQkgtRQrK4wLjnB+q5NJ2UOuR3fuMH7TLfnj2hJB6P+R+wD0ifqYYxuqjFKQO607rduFVFPw==

This list also contains online schools that accept students from Memphis

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1 Program(s) Found
  • 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.
  • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
  • 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
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  • 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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  • 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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3 Program(s) Found
  • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
  • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
  • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
  • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
  • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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  • 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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  • Transferable Credits
  • Dallas campus named 2013 School of the Year by the National Association for Health Professionals (NAHP).
  • Tuition covers course-required materials for campus students, including books, lab equipment, and class supplies.
  • Offers flat tuition rate to continuously enrolled students who are on track toward program completion.
  • Campus accreditation by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
  • 18 campuses across the United States, with online options as well.
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  • A private university founded in 1939.  
  • Part of an international network of Assemblies of God colleges and universities.
  • Offers bachelor’s programs that give students the option to take one 7-week course at a time and complete their degree in as few as 36 months.
  • Provides 18 month programs for a master of arts in organizational leadership, digital media, and more.
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  • A cosmetology and beauty educator since 1935, with 98 beauty and cosmetology schools all over the US.
  • Employs many green initiatives on their campuses.
  • Has a professional clinic on each campus, run by senior-level students under supervision of licensed educators.
  • Offers a variety of beauty programs and cosmetology courses including cosmetology, esthetics, make-up artistry, and cosmetology educator training.
  • Accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCAS).
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•        Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.

•        More than $14 million in scholarships and grants are available per year to students who qualify.

•        100% online programs include 7 baccalaureate degrees, 11 associate’s degrees, 7 diplomas, and an MBA program.

•        Holds partnerships with many business and organizations to help create beneficial work opportunities for students and graduates.

•        Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).

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  • Online Courses
  • Several institutional scholarship opportunities are available to students who qualify.
  • Features several learning model options, including online, residency, and hybrid options.
  • Offers graduate degree programs in organizational leadership, mind-body medicine, psychology and human science.
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • Three teaching locations in Seattle, Washington and Houston, Texas, with the university headquarters located in San Francisco, California.
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  • Online Courses
  • Several scholarship opportunities through Empire Beauty Schools to students who qualify.
  • Features a public hair and style salon where students can get real-world experience.
  • Offers programs for those looking to become hair stylists, salon and spa owners, barbers, celebrity stylists, and more.
  • Accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NAACCS).
  • 11 campuses across New Jersey, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
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  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
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  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Allows students to transfer credits from non-U.S. colleges and universities after evaluation.
  • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
  • Its main campus is located in Fort Lauderdale, with campuses located throughout the State of Florida and internationally. 
  • Provides a Department of Student Services and Resources that assists students with résumé preparation, interviewing skills coaching, mock interviewing, professional development workshops, and more.
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  • Online Courses
  • Based in Winter Park, FL, Full Sail University offers an innovative approach to learning.
  • Entertainment and media design programs are offered on campus and online.
  • With more than 37,000 alumni, Full Sail University graduates have worked in many different roles for some of the industry’s most well-known companies and contributed to countless notable projects
  • Through Project LaunchBox™, students in most programs receive a MacBook Pro pre-equipped with professional software at a deep institutional discount.
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  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid

Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.

You need to have a Bachelor’s degree and RN license to be qualified for this school.

  • Online Courses

Other Memphis, Tennessee Culinary Schools

School Name Programs Offered
Southwest Tennessee Community College Culinary Arts