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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 Managers9000$67470
FloridaBakers12750$25720
FloridaChefs and Head Cooks7800$54820
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, FLBakers380$26260
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FLChefs and Head Cooks370$59700
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FLFood Service Managers420$58030
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FLFood Service Managers150$63100
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FLChefs and Head Cooks190$50170
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FLBakers100$26100
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FLChefs and Head Cooks90$50550
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FLBakers350$23460
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FLFood Service Managers170$57580
Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, FL Metropolitan DivisionChefs and Head Cooks620$48770
Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, FL Metropolitan DivisionFood Service Managers680$56300
Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, FL Metropolitan DivisionBakers1270$27330
Gainesville, FLFood Service Managers110$67610
Gainesville, FLChefs and Head Cooks50$43000
Gainesville, FLBakers120$27940
Jacksonville, FLChefs and Head Cooks390$50360
Jacksonville, FLBakers730$26660
Jacksonville, FLFood Service Managers720$57360
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FLFood Service Managers170$73000
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FLChefs and Head Cooks110$50430
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FLBakers230$25690
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL Metropolitan DivisionFood Service Managers1090$75340
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL Metropolitan DivisionChefs and Head Cooks1290$54920
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL Metropolitan DivisionBakers2280$24300
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FLFood Service Managers260$73010
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FLBakers450$33150
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FLChefs and Head Cooks360$57970
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FLBakers1370$26450
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FLChefs and Head Cooks1350$55330
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FLFood Service Managers1430$72990
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FLChefs and Head Cooks170$48080
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FLFood Service Managers310$66860
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FLBakers250$22380
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FLFood Service Managers80$73300
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FLBakers320$25470
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FLChefs and Head Cooks70$41390
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FLFood Service Managers50$71160
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FLBakers60$26570
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FLChefs and Head Cooks80$63510
Tallahassee, FLFood Service Managers120$84050
Tallahassee, FLBakers330$23220
Tallahassee, FLChefs and Head Cooks70$45420
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FLFood Service Managers1340$70150
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FLChefs and Head Cooks790$45960
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FLBakers1510$25620
West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, FL Metropolitan DivisionBakers1630$24390
West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, FL Metropolitan DivisionFood Service Managers740$60410
West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, FL Metropolitan DivisionChefs and Head Cooks680$63550
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