Culinary Schools in Houston

Finding good food should never be a problem in Houston. The largest city in the Southwest offers up plenty of food trucks, local diners and upscale establishments. In addition to these diverse dining opportunities, Tex-Mex, beef brisket and barbecue remain popular choices for residents and visitors alike.

Culinary Arts

Houston is a melting pot of food options, and home to some big names in the culinary world. Students hoping to work alongside them will need great skills if they hope to rise to top positions in the kitchen or in management. Culinary arts schools in Houston offer programs that may cover all aspects of the food service and hospitality industry and may be a great place to start a successful career.

Famous chefs and restaurants in Houston

The city's vibrant food scene is likely another reason that culinary schools in Houston can be a popular choice among students. The city embraces its good food through a number of festivals and events that occur throughout the year, including the Houston Barbecue Festival and Festa Italiana.

In addition, some celebrated chefs have made Houston their home. Here are a couple of the award-winners to be found in the city's restaurants.

  • Chris Shepherd: As the owner and executive chef of Underbelly, Chris Shepherd has been turning heads since he arrived on the scene. He was named one of the Top 10 Best New Chefs in America in 2013 by Food & Wine Magazine and was named the Best Chef: Southwest by the James Beard Foundation in 2014.
  • Michael Cordua: A superstar of the Houston restaurant scene, Michael Cordua first brought upscale Latin American cuisine to the area in 1988. He now oversees seven Houston-area restaurants and is the only Texas chef inducted into the Food & Wine Hall of Fame.
  • Hugo Ortega: Hugo Ortega is the owner and executive chef of two Houston establishments: Hugo's and Backstreet Café. He is a two-time finalist of James Beard Awards, and his dining establishments have been lauded by Gourmet and Bon Appetit, among others.

While the above chefs add some star power to the Houston culinary scene, the centerpiece is, of course, the food. According to TripAdvisor, there are more than 7,300 restaurants in the metro area. Here are a few that stand out.

  • The Vietnam Restaurant: This unassuming restaurant houses some of the best food in Houston, according to Zagat. Tracing its roots back to Vietnamese immigrants who arrived in the 1880s, The Vietnam Restaurant continues to dish up authentic ethnic fare at affordable prices.
  • Oxheart: When the Houston Chronicle compiled its list of the 100 best restaurants for 2014, it put Oxheart squarely at the top of the list. Fresh Texas ingredients and a relaxed service style are hallmarks of this establishment located in the Warehouse District.
  • Hubcap Grill: For burgers, Hubcap Grill is the place to go. It was voted the best burger in Houston by the Houston Chronicle and number one on the Houston Press's list of good cheap eats in the city.

Students of culinary schools in Houston may want to take the time to sample the food at these and other area restaurants to further understand the dynamics of the city's food scene.

Houston culinary schools & career outlook

For those interested in hospitality careers, the job market in Houston may be just as important as the quality of the food. Fortunately, students will find many culinary positions are expected to see double digit growth in the coming years. The following are a few of the occupations which will see significant growth during this decade.

OccupationTotal Employment in Houston (2013)Average Salary in Houston (2013)% Job Growth in Texas (2012-22)
Bakers 2,890 $22,120 20.8%
First-Line Supervisors of Food Prep and Service 18,530 $33,380 30.6%
Chefs and Head Cooks 1,780 $48,460 19.4%
Food Service Managers Not Available $53,320 16.6%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013, and Projections Central

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the leisure and hospitality industry in Houston employed 287,000 people in December 2014, a 3.2 percent increase from the year before.

Though formal training is not usually a requirement for jobs in the industry, culinary schools in Houston can provide aspiring chefs with the skills and confidence to pursue a culinary career in one of America's top food cities. Actual job prospects and income potential may depend upon an individual's education and experience. Culinary schools in Houston offer a number of programs that can help prepare you for jobs in cooking, bartending, management and event planning. The right education and credentials may be what it takes to distinguish you from others in the field and set you on the path to success in the culinary arts.


  • Projections Central, Texas, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
  • Economy at a Glance, Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.tx_houston_msa.htm
  • May 2013 Occupational Employment Statistics, Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_26420.htm
  • Houston Restaurants, Zagat, https://www.zagat.com/p/houston#filter/vertical=46&orderby=score_food&sort=desc&page=1
  • Top 100 Restaurants in Houston, Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com/entertainment/top-100-restaurants/
  • Chris Shepherd, Underbelly, http://www.underbellyhouston.com/team/chris-shepherd/
  • Michael Cordua, Cordua Restaurants, https://www.cordua.com/michael-cordua.html
  • About Chef Hugo, http://www.chefhugoortega.com/about.html
  • Cheap & Good Eats: Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Old Downtown, HoustonPress, http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2013/12/downtown_houston_lunch_spots_c.php?page=3
  • Houston Restaurant Weeks, http://www.houstonrestaurantweeks.com/
  • Houston Annual Events, http://www.visithoustontexas.com/travel-tools/events/annual-events/
  • Hubcap Grill, http://hubcapgrill.com/index.html

This list also contains online schools that accept students from Houston

Other Houston, Texas Culinary Schools

School Name Programs Offered
University of Houston - University Park Hotel & Restaurant Management