Culinary Arts Schools in Connecticut

Although small, Connecticut has a rich food heritage that draws upon the earliest days of our country's founding. It is also home to restaurants and chefs who are making their mark in the culinary world today. Students of culinary arts schools in Connecticut can expect a well-rounded culinary scene, largely based on classic New England food traditions. Excellent fish and seafood can be found along the shoreline while inland areas may transition to more hearty Yankee fare that makes use of wild game and local fruits and vegetables.

Culinary Arts

However, Connecticut also has some traditions that set it apart from its neighbors. For example, the state is home to more than 150 active farms which help support its vibrant dairy industry. Creameries and small farms offer fresh milk, cheeses and other products to state residents and restaurants alike. Pizza is another claim to fame for the state. American pizza is said to have originated in New Haven in 1925. Today, area restaurants continue to serve up authentic pies flavored with just the right seasonings and a touch of Romano cheese.

Famous restaurants in Connecticut

Culinary schools in Connecticut can prepare students for a number of different career paths, and upon graduation, students may want to stay in the state to work. According to the National Restaurant Association, there are more than 7,700 eating and drinking establishments in the state, and more than a few of them may be in need of employees. Overall, the restaurant industry accounts for 9 percent of the state's employment and provided jobs to nearly 160,000 people in 2015. By 2025, these culinary jobs are expected to grow 6.3 percent.

Restaurants in the state include a mix of casual and upscale establishments. Some have been open for decades while others are new to the Connecticut food scene. Here are some dining options worth mentioning.

  • Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (New Haven): If you want to try authentic New Haven pizza, go to the place that originated it. Founded by Italian immigrant Frank Pepe, the restaurant has expanded to eight locations that offer "tomato pies" with more than a dozen toppings, including such specialties as fresh clams, shrimp and anchovies imported from Italy.
  • Union League Café (New Haven): According to the experts polled by Connecticut Magazine, the Union League Café is the best restaurant in the state for 2015. It serves up exquisite French cuisine and is located in the city's historic district near Yale University.
  • Max Downtown (Hartford): While the experts liked Union League Café, the readers of Connecticut Magazine gave Max Downtown their nod for best restaurant in 2015. It offers an upscale dining experience that has been lauded by Zagat, TripAdvisor and The Hartford Courant's Northeast Magazine, among others.
  • Millwright's Restaurant and Tavern (Simsbury): Combining an upscale dining space with a more casual tavern in a single location, Millwright's appeals to a variety of diners and tastes. Regardless of whether they prefer the restaurant or the tavern, visitors will be treated to farm-to-table meals created under the direction of Tyler Anderson, a semifinalist for the 2015 Best Chef: Northeast honor from the James Beard Foundation.

Culinary schools & career outlook in Connecticut

Culinary jobs can be found throughout the state of Connecticut although most are concentrated in urban areas such as Hartford, New Haven and Norwich. Job availability may also depend upon the type of job. Graduates of culinary arts schools in Connecticut may want to work in the kitchen, in management or as a small business owner. Each option may have different employment prospects, and culinary schools in Connecticut may be able to provide more detailed information about specific career paths.

However, the chart below shows government data for some of the more popular culinary arts professions.

OccupationTotal Employment in Connecticut (2013)Average Salary in Connecticut (2013)% Job Growth in Connecticut (2012-2022)
Chefs and Head Cooks 1,980 $54,950 4.6%
Bakers 1,640 $26,630 6.1%
Food Service Managers 2,060 $53,890 1.5%

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

While statewide data can be useful, students should remember that jobs and income potential vary by city. In addition, the city with the most jobs may not be the one with the highest average salaries. For example, Hartford employs more food service managers, but these professionals have significantly higher average salaries in New Haven, as the following chart demonstrates.

LocationOccupationsTotal Employed (2013)Average Salary (2013)
New Haven Food Service Managers 420 $57,060
Chefs and Head Cooks 210 $50,650
Bakers 270 $29,130
Hartford Food Service Managers 730 $51,180
Chefs and Head Cooks 700 $46,580
Bakers 580 $25,500

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

For some culinary positions, a formal education may not be required. However, students may find culinary schools in Connecticut offer them advantages in the workplace. A good educational program should give students the practical skills they need, and some schools may even arrange for internships or networking opportunities with professionals already working in the field.

Do you want to learn more? Culinary arts schools in Connecticut may be the best source for up-to-date information on employment trends in the state. You can search for schools below and request additional information today.


  • National Restaurant Association, Connecticut, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/connecticut
  • Projections Central, Connecticut, projectionscentral.com
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Connecticut, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ct.htm
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT Metropolitan Area, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_73450.htm
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, New Haven, CT Metropolitan Area http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_75700.htm
  • 2015 Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists, James Beard Foundation, http://www.jamesbeard.org/blog/2015-restaurant-and-chef-award-semifinalists
  • Classic Foods of Connecticut, Visit New England, http://www.visitconnecticut.com/state/classic-foods-of-connecticut/
  • Best Restaurants in Connecticut 2015: Experts' Picks, Connecticut Magazine, http://www.connecticutmag.com/Connecticut-Magazine/January-2015/Winter-2015-Dining-Guide/Best-Restaurants-in-Connecticut-2015-Experts-Picks/
  • Union League Café, http://unionleaguecafe.com/about/
  • Best Restaurants in Connecticut 2015: Readers' Choice Awards, http://www.connecticutmag.com/Connecticut-Magazine/January-2015/Winter-2015-Dining-Guide/Best-Restaurants-in-Connecticut-2015-Readers-Choice-Awards/
  • Max Downtown, http://www.maxdowntown.com/about-max-downtown
  • Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, http://www.pepespizzeria.com/?page=history
  • Millwright's Restaurant, http://www.millwrightsrestaurant.com/

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