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Culinary Arts Schools in Florida

The food scene in Florida, just like the weather, is hot. With multiple distinct hotspots, from Miami to Orlando, Florida has a diverse range of culinary options that span the spectrum of cultures, emerging food trends, and dining settings. From the James Beard-nominated Juvia in Miami Beach to Rocco's Taco & Tequila Bar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida has a little of something for every palette.

To most, Miami's South Beach dominates the food scene in Florida because the city is home to celebrity chefs and independent restauranteurs alike. Indeed, Miami is a melting pot of ethnic cuisine, offering patrons the opportunity to explore small hidden gems and expansive, critic-loved restaurants led by renowned chefs. In fact, during the past thirty years, restaurant row in Miami has experienced several transformative periods, culminating today as one of the hottest culinary hotspots in the country.

For example, Masahuru Morimoto (of Iron Chef fame) opened Morimoto South Beach, while Tony Mantuano (James Beard winner) operates Lorenzo in The Redbury South Beach, and Peruvian food master Gastón Acurio (owns 35 restaurants in 12 countries) owns La Mar at the Mandarin Oriental Miami.

While Miami may attract the attention, other regions especially Tampa Bay, are also undergoing gastronomic revolutions. An area long known for basic franchise and fast food fare, Tampa Bay is now also garnering culinary investments, bringing in a new generation of establishments and a renewed focus on local and sustainable food production.

The culinary industry in Florida is an important contributor to the economy, employing more than 995,000 individuals throughout the state in 2016, according to the National Restaurant Association. As of 2015, more than 39,140 restaurants were in Florida, and they're expected to drive more than $40.3 billion in annual sales.

Famous Florida restaurants

Indeed, Miami is the crown jewel of culinary action in Florida, and is home to numerous award winning restaurants and chefs. In 2014, six restaurants in Miami earned 5- and 4-star or recommended rankings from Forbes. Overall, 15 restaurants received recognition from Forbes Travel Guide's annual star award ranking. The 5-star winning restaurants in Miami included the following:

  • Azul: Located inside of the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Miami, Azul the French-Asian fusion cuisine is the result of the inventiveness of William Crandall, Chef de Cuisine.
  • NAOE: Chef Kevin Cory's NAOE is a Japanese restaurant famous for its high end sushi that has been called "works of arts" by critics.

The 4-star winning restaurants in Florida included:

  • Café Boulud (Palm Beach)
  • Hakkasan (Miami Beach)
  • J&G Grill (Miami)
  • Nin18 (Orlando)
  • Palm d'Or (Coral Gables)
  • Scarpetta (Miami Beach)
  • Victoria and Albert's (Lake Buena Vista)

In 2014, Zagat also recognized the Miami culinary world, reviewing and listing some of the hottest restaurant openings that took place that year. These restaurants serve everything from oysters to kimchi, slabs of beef to brioche bun hamburgers.

  • Drunken Dragon
  • Buns & Buns
  • Sriracha House
  • Meat Market
  • Mignonette

Florida culinary schools & career outlook

There are numerous avenues to becoming a chef or finding a place in the culinary industry, including attending a culinary school in Florida. No matter what the path, those seeking a professional culinary career typically choose from one of four central concentrations:

  1. Culinary arts
  2. Baking & pastry arts
  3. Culinary management
  4. Hospitality management

Training in these areas could prepare graduates to pursue careers as chefs, caterers, mixologists, sous chefs, pastry chefs, restaurant managers and more. In Florida, trained culinary professionals are in demand, evidenced by the 17.4 percent growth rate in the industry for 2016-2026, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Individual careers including chefs and food service managers are some of the fastest growing occupations in the culinary industry in Florida, and they are expected see employment gains of 14 percent and 13.6 percent -- respectively -- between 2012 and 2022. Below is a table of the overall career outlook for bakers, chefs, and food service managers in Florida.

RegionCareerTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
FloridaFood Service Managers9,160$73,070
FloridaBakers12,340$26,170
FloridaChefs and Head Cooks8,240$56,570
Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

At the local level, the largest opportunities are concentrated in metropolitan areas such as Miami-Miami-Beach-Kendall and Tampa-St. Petersburg. Below is a list of the total number of individuals working as bakers, chefs and restaurant managers in the top metropolitan areas:

RegionCareerTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FLBakers410$26,110
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FLChefs and Head Cooks370$58,540
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FLFood Service Managers440$61,490
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FLFood Service Managers150$70,220
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FLChefs and Head Cooks150$52,420
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FLBakers160$26,120
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FLFood Service Managers230$54,010
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FLBakers280$24,770
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FLChefs and Head Cooks100$54,870
Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, FL Metropolitan DivisionChefs and Head Cooks570$50,550
Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, FL Metropolitan DivisionFood Service Managers830$65,900
Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, FL Metropolitan DivisionBakers1,060$27,630
Gainesville, FLBakers100$27,780
Gainesville, FLChefs and Head Cooks40$39,780
Gainesville, FLFood Service Managers100$70,650
Jacksonville, FLFood Service Managers760$62,010
Jacksonville, FLChefs and Head Cooks490$50,400
Jacksonville, FLBakers780$27,350
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FLChefs and Head Cooks140$51,430
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FLBakers210$27,300
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FLFood Service Managers150$75,390
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL Metropolitan DivisionChefs and Head Cooks1,310$54,860
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL Metropolitan DivisionFood Service Managers770$86,470
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL Metropolitan DivisionBakers2,340$26,540
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FLChefs and Head Cooks380$61,520
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FLFood Service Managers200$76,620
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FLBakers320$26,910
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FLFood Service Managers1,470$81,360
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FLChefs and Head Cooks1,450$60,060
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FLBakers1,580$24,890
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FLFood Service Managers260$73,930
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FLBakers270$22,970
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FLChefs and Head Cooks140$49,640
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FLChefs and Head Cooks60$40,850
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FLFood Service Managers80$74,220
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FLBakers280$26,160
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FLFood Service Managers60$65,800
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FLBakers70$27,100
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FLChefs and Head Cooks70$62,600
Tallahassee, FLChefs and Head Cooks50$46,500
Tallahassee, FLFood Service Managers130$93,890
Tallahassee, FLBakers310$24,400
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FLFood Service Managers1,220$78,660
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FLChefs and Head Cooks990$46,760
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FLBakers1,290$26,230
West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, FL Metropolitan DivisionBakers1,450$24,930
West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, FL Metropolitan DivisionFood Service Managers580$65,580
West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, FL Metropolitan DivisionChefs and Head Cooks750$63,650
Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

With favorable weather, diverse cultural regions, and one of the best culinary destinations in Miami, Florida may be an attractive option for students considering attending a culinary school in the state.

Hands-on professional experience is essential for developing a career in culinary arts. However, a culinary arts degree demonstrating both dedication and skills to employers can also help.

Sources:

  • Azul, http://www.mandarinoriental.com/miami/fine-dining/azul/
  • NAOE, http://naoemiami.com/
  • Forbes, Restaurant Rankings, http://www.forbestravelguide.com/restaurant
  • National Restaurant Association, Florida, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2016/FL_Restaurants2016
  • Projections Central, Florida, projectionscentral.com
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, California, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_fl.htm
  • Zagat, Miami, http://www.zagat.com/miami
  • OceanDrive.com, Miami's Great Chef Invasion, http://oceandrive.com/dining/articles/miamis-great-chef-invasion
  • CBS Local, Best Chefs Heating Up Tampa Bay Culinary Scene, http://tampa.cbslocal.com/top-lists/best-chefs-heating-up-the-tampa-bay-culinary-scene/
  • Forbes, Travel Guide Award Winners, http://blog.forbestravelguide.com/the-2014-forbes-travel-guide-star-award-winners

Browse Culinary Schools in Florida

This list also contains online schools that accept students from Florida .

Other Florida Culinary Schools

School Name City or Town Programs Offered
Manatee Technical Institute Bradenton Culinary Arts
Pinellas Technical Education Center - Clearwater Clearwater Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts
Bethune Cookman College Daytona Beach Culinary Arts
Daytona Beach Community College Daytona Beach Culinary Management
Broward Community College Ft Lauderdale Culinary Arts Management Associate in Science Degree
Edison Community College Ft Myers Hospitality and Spa Operation
University of Florida Gainesville Recreation, Parks and Tourism
Palm Beach Community College Lake Worth Culinary & Hospitality
Traviss Career Center Lakeland Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts
Miami Dade College Miami Culinary Arts Program Associate in Science Degree
Okaloosa-Walton Community College Niceville Hospitality Services Management
University of Central Florida Orlando Hospitality Services Management
Valencia Community College Orlando Culinary/Pastry Management
Charlotte Vocational Technical Center Port Charlotte Culinary Arts – High School
First Coast Technical Institute St Augustine Culinary Arts
Pinellas Technical Education Center St Petersburg Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts
Dedman School of Hospitality Tallahassee Major in Hospitality Management
Hillsborough Community College Tampa Culinary Arts Certificate Program
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