Culinary Arts Schools in Washington, D.C.

The food scene in Washington, D.C. has possibly never been better. It offers up a vibrant mix of restaurants catering to diners of every taste and budget. The downtown district provides excellent fine dining and may be the first choice of the area's political and business power players. Outside the downtown, various pockets of ethnic cuisine can be found, from standards like Italian and Chinese to the unexpected such as Ethiopian and Salvadoran.

Culinary Arts

Not only does the city have excellent restaurants, but Washington, D.C. is home to award-winning chefs, bakers and restaurateurs. All told, the city may add up to be the perfect place to study for a culinary career. Culinary arts schools in Washington, DC. may seek to capitalize on the robust food scene as they prepare the next generation of head chefs and hospitality managers.

Food scene in Washington, D.C.

Students at culinary schools in Washington, D.C. will find plenty of food-related events and activities to keep them occupied between classes. They can head to the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art to see Julia Child's kitchen, take a food tour or take a short drive to the nearby wine country. There are also food trucks, farmers markets and food festivals throughout the year.

What's more, up-and-coming culinary professionals may want to get acquainted with the some of the hot names currently working in the area, including these James Beard Foundation award finalists and semifinalists.

  • Mark Furstenberg: Mark Furstenberg has been bringing traditional European breads to D.C. customers since 1990. Since then, he has owned several businesses and worked as a consultant. In 2014, he opened the bakery Bread Furst and was subsequently named a finalist for the 2015 Outstanding Baker Award from the James Beard Foundation.
  • Erik Bruner-Yang: Heading up the kitchen at Toki Underground, Erik-Bruner-Yang has been recognized as one of the fresh faces to watch on the culinary scene. He was nominated for the 2013 The People's Best New Chef award from Food & Wine Magazine, and he's a finalist for the 2015 Rising Star Chef of the Year honor from the James Beard Foundation.
  • Ashok Bajaj: Ashok Bajaj founded Knightsbridge Management LLC in 1989 and has gone on to become of the most celebrated restaurateurs in the Washington D.C. area. Bajaj has earned numerous accolades throughout the years, including a spot on the semifinalist list for the 2015 Best Restaurateur award from the James Beard Foundation.

Famous restaurants in Washington, D.C.

The restaurants mentioned above only scratch the surface of what is available here. TripAdvisor reports there are nearly 2,500 places to eat in the city. With so many choices, students at culinary arts schools in Washington, D.C. may have trouble narrowing their choices. Here are a couple suggestions to start them off.

  • Corduroy: This fine dining establishment is one of the highest rated restaurants in the area, according to Zagat. It's located in a historic building that only adds to the elegance of its upscale meals which are based on local ingredients.
  • Rasika: Also highly rated by Zagat, Rasika serves up modern Indian fare. It's part of the Knightbridge Restaurant Group and has two locations: one in Penn Quarter and the other in the West End. Rasika was named one of the 101 best restaurants in the country by The Daily Meal.
  • Jaleo: The James Beard Foundation named Jaleo a semifinalist for its 2015 Outstanding Restaurant Award. It's a tapas restaurant and one of four locations serving up what it calls "a different side of Spain."

Jobs for culinary arts students

Overall, the Washington, D.C. leisure and hospitality industry employed 68,700 people in March 2015. When the greater metro area, including Arlington and Alexandria, is considered, that number jumps to 240,400 workers.

Graduates of culinary arts schools in Washington, D.C. may go on to pursue a variety of career paths. Some may become restaurateurs like Ashok Bajaj. Others may strive to be the next hot chef, a la Erik Bruner-Yang. But even for those who don't become award-winners or celebrity chefs, there are plenty of culinary job opportunities waiting in Washington, D.C.

The following chart outlines the current job market in the D.C. metro area.

OccupationTotal Employment - 20142014 Annual Mean WageJob Growth (2012-22)
Chefs and Head Cooks 3,350 $58,890 4.3%
Bakers 2,500 $30,390 0.5%
First-Line Supervisors of Food Prep and Service 17,980 $37,870 15.2%
Food Service Managers 4,190 $67,460 5.2%

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

Caterers, bartenders, sommeliers and private cooks are among the other culinary careers available in Washington, D.C.

Of course, job prospects can vary depending upon an individual's education and experience. While some employers may not require any formal education, others may prefer to hire those who have completed a program from one of the culinary schools in Washington DC or a similar institution. Depending on the school, some programs may also connect students with alumni or industry professionals who can assist in a job search.

To find out more about what each school offers, contact one or more of the institutions listed below for more details.


  • Projections Central, District of Columbia, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
  • Economy at a Glance, District of Columbia, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.dc.htm
  • Economy at a Glance, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.dc_washington_md.htm
  • May 2014 Occupational Employment Statistics, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_47900.htm
  • Washington DC Restaurants, Zagat, https://www.zagat.com/p/washington-dc#filter/vertical=46&orderby=score_food&sort=desc&page=1
  • 101 Best Restaurants in America for 2015, The Daily Meal, http://www.thedailymeal.com/eat/101-best-restaurants-america-2015-slideshow?slide=43#43
  • The 2015 Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists, James Beard Foundation, http://www.jamesbeard.org/blog/2015-restaurant-and-chef-award-semifinalists
  • Washington D.C. Restaurants, Fodor's Travel, http://www.fodors.com/world/north-america/usa/district-of-columbia/washington-dc/restaurants/
  • DC for Foodies, http://washington.org/DC-guide-to/dc-foodies
  • About Mark, Bread Furst, http://www.breadfurst.com/#!mark-furstenberg/cjxg
  • Toki Underground, http://tokiunderground.com
  • Knightsbridge Restaurant Group, http://knightsbridgerestaurantgroup.com/about.html

This list also contains online schools that accept students from District Of Columbia .

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