Culinary Schools in Nashville

Nashville, Tennessee is known as a musical epicenter, a hub where old sounds are refined and new sounds are created. But, for all of the city's musical prowess and importance, Nashville is also known for impacting another cultural sector: food. Nashville's diverse culinary scene is one that -- like music -- blends together a medley of flavors, styles and traditions.

Culinary Arts

Students interested in culinary arts schools in Nashville will find the city's food tastes as varied as the neighborhoods themselves, such as The Gulch, Germantown, 12South and East Nashville. Favorite jaunts of the locals include the following, according to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation:

  • The Flipside
  • Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden
  • Edley's BBQ
  • Loveless Café
  • Mike's Ice Cream

Food & Wine spotlighted Music City's emergence onto the culinary scene, highlighting the varied experience visitors and patrons can enjoy in the city, including the hot chicken at Hattie B's, braised octopus at City House, chicken liver paté at Lockeland Table, coffee soda at Crema, Pork Ramen at Otaku South and more.

Overall, the culinary arts industry in Tennessee is a $10 billion dollar per-year industry, one that employs nearly 300,000 individuals across the state, according to the National Restaurant Association. With more than 10,000 restaurants and drinking establishments across the state, graduates of culinary schools in Nashville should have solid employment opportunities not only in Nashville, but throughout the state.

Famous Nashville restaurants and chefs

In 2014, three chefs in Nashville were nominated for awards from the James Beard Foundation. The nominees included Josh Habiger (Best New Restaurant, Pinewood Social), Matt Bolus (Best New Restaurant, The 404 Kitchen) and Tandy Wilson (Best Chef, Southeast, City House). Indeed, the Nashville culinary scene is led by restaurateurs and chefs driven to make an impact and bring Nashville into the conversation with foodie cities like San Francisco, New York and Chicago.

The efforts of this collective group have not gone unnoticed. Major publications including Zagat and Forbes Travel Guide have bestowed positive reviews and rankings for several Nashville establishments. For example, in 2014, Forbes Travel Guide gave three Nashville restaurants its Four-Star rating.

  • 1808 Grille: Located in the Hutton Hotel in the West End, 1808 Grille is helmed by Chef Jake Strang who serves an innovative New American menu.
  • Capitol Grille: Situated in The Hermitage Hotel, Capitol Grille offers diners an exquisite dining experience created by Chef Tyler Brown who delivers a diverse Southern cuisine menu.
  • Prime 108: Located in Union Station Hotel in downtown Nashville, Prime 108 is led by Chef Thomas Cook who has created an award winning menu based on seasonal ingredients.

In 2014, Best Chefs America recognized 25 chefs in Nashville as being some of the best in its annual rankings, a peer-driven list of chefs from across the country. Some of the best chefs in Nashville included the following:

  • Roderick Bailey - The Silly Goose
  • Sean Brock - Husk Nashville
  • Jamie Watson - Café Fundamental
  • Tandy Wilson - City House
  • David Maxwell - Miel Restaurant

Nashville culinary schools & career outlook

The path to entering the culinary industry typically begins with completing a program of study at a culinary school. In Nashville, students can select from a range of educational options, including Culinary Management, Baking & Pastry Arts, Culinary Management, and the Culinary Arts. Completing a degree program from a Nashville culinary school can put in motion the first steps towards becoming a sous chef, pastry chef, hospitality directory, chef de cuisine, restaurant manager and more.

In 2014, Forbes ranked Nashville as the sixth best city in the country for job growth, an indicator that the city's economy is growing and has largely recovered from the economic downturn. This should be good news for restaurateurs, chefs and prospective students as a better economy frees up expendable income, income that individuals often choose to spend dining out.

During the course of 2014, the National Restaurant Association projected 8.7 percent growth in the field, representing 24,500 jobs across the state. Below is a list of culinary-related careers with their respective average salaries and total employment in Nashville in 2013.

OccupationTotal Employment in Nashville (2013)Average Salary in Nashville (2013)
Restaurant Cooks 7,500 $22,340
Food Service Managers 2,250 $49,350
Bartenders 2,050 $20,460
Bakers 500 $26,360

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013

As Nashville continues to garner critical acclaim, such as 360 Bistro's Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator, and attracts new investments and restaurateurs, the outlook should remain extremely bright for students considering attending a culinary school to start their career in ever growing culinary arts industry in the city.


  • Forbes, Restaurant Rankings, http://www.forbestravelguide.com/restaurant
  • Best Chefs, Nashville, https://www.bestchefsamerica.com/the-chefs?filter_search=&filter_location_id=515
  • National Restaurant Association, Tennessee, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2014/tennessee
  • Projections Central, Tennessee, projectionscentral.com
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Tennessee, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_tn.htm
  • Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation, Visit Music City, http://www.visitmusiccity.com/Visitors/food/uniquelynashvillefood
  • Forbes, Travel Guide Award Winners, http://blog.forbestravelguide.com/the-2014-forbes-travel-guide-star-award-winners

This list also contains online schools that accept students from Nashville

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