Culinary Arts Schools in Indiana

As a linchpin of the Midwest, Indiana is known for agriculture, farming and basketball. But the state is also cultivating a rich culinary presence. Its food festivals and fairs are recognized nationally, including the Maple Syrup Festival and the Indiana State Fair -- one of the largest state fairs in the country. At the state fair, attendees can be delighted by Midwestern classics ranging from the cheeseburger on a stick to pretzel rolls, macaroni and cheese sandwiches to giant Amish donuts. Yet, the staples of the state fair do not define the culinary experience in Indiana. In fact, the tastes of the state are much more diverse and refined, drawing upon and combining culinary influences from regions not only throughout Indiana, but the country.

Culinary Arts

Home to major cities and college towns alike, the state offers multiple foodie destinations with options for every palette: Mediterranean cuisine, soul food, barbeque, Asian fusion fare, Amish cuisine, and more. There is much to look forward to as a prospective student of culinary schools in Indiana. The culinary industry is nearly a $10 billion dollar industry in Indiana, with more than 11,000 eating and drinking establishments and employing more than 300,000 individuals across the state.

Famous Indiana restaurants and chefs

The culinary scene in Indianapolis is garnering national recognition. A five-block square in Fletcher Place is considered one of the best areas for gastro pubs and bars. Zagat included the area on its list of the 10 hottest food neighborhoods in the U.S. in 2014, recognizing the diverse collection of culinary and spirit options. Indeed, the recognition from Zagat is reflective of the state's growing culinary presence. For example, in 2014, the James Beard Foundation recognized four Indiana culinary professionals as semi-finalists for its yearly honors. In the Best Chef in the Great Lakes Region, the semi-finalists from the state included:

  • Micah Frank (Black Market, Indianapolis)
  • Greg Hardest (Recess, Indianapolis)
  • Daniel Orr (FARMbloomington, Bloomington)
  • David Tallent (Tallent, Bloomington)

In addition to the James Beard Foundation, Indiana has had chefs and restaurants alike recognized by other major publications including Wine Spectator, Forbes, and Zagat. In its 2014 Restaurant Wine List Awards, Wine Spectator recognized two restaurants in South Bend:

  • The Carriage House - A cornerstone establishment, The Carriage House has been on Wine Spectator's list every year since 1986 -- 29 straight years of recognition. In 2014, Wine Spectator awarded the restaurant a Best of Award of Excellence.
  • LaSalle Grille - Sommelier Zoran Lazarevic has created a list of 270 wines that ultimately won an Award of Excellence for the quality of those selections to the restaurant's menu.

Well-established chefs including Regina Mehallick (R. Bistro), Greg Hardesty (Recess), Peter George (Tinker Street) and Neal Brown (Pizzology) are redefining the culinary experience in the state, evidenced by the growing number of award-winning, popular restaurants:

  • St. Elmo Steakhouse
  • Recess
  • The Libertine
  • Delicia
  • R Bistro
  • Tulip Noir
  • Cerulean
  • Black Market
  • Bru Burger
  • Indigo Duck

Indiana culinary schools & career outlook

Entering the culinary industry typically starts with an education at a culinary arts school in Indiana. Prospective students generally follow one of four educational paths: Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management, Baking & Pastry Arts, and Culinary Management. Those four major options from a culinary schools in Indiana serve as umbrellas to a diverse selection of potential career avenues, including restaurant manager, pastry chef, sous chef, chef de cuisine, hospitality director, and restaurateur.

In 2014, the culinary industry employed more than 340,000 people in Indiana, according to the National Restaurant Association, and is expected to add nearly 29,000 jobs in 2014 in the state. The employment outlook for culinary careers in Indiana is expected to be positive between 2012 and 2022. For example, individual careers (chefs, bakers, and food service managers) are projected to see a collective 10.1 percent increase in job opportunities in Indiana during that time. Below is a table of the career outlook for those positions in Indiana, including employment totals and average salaries.

OccupationTotal Employment in Indiana (2013)Average Salary in Indiana (2013)% Job Growth in Indiana (2012-2022)
Bakers 2,050 $22,940 8.2%
Chefs and Head Cooks 1,180 $37,410 10.4%
Food Service Managers 5,190 $48,780 11.7%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013

At the local level, the best paying opportunities can be found in metropolitan areas across the state. Below is a table of the top paying Indiana metropolitan areas for bakers, chefs, and food service managers in 2013:

PositionIndiana Metro2013 Average Salary
Bakers Michigan City-La Porte, IN $25,030
Indianapolis-Carmel, IN $24,930
Evansville, IN-KY $24,720
Chefs and Head Cooks South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI $38,060
Indianapolis-Carmel, IN $37,960
Lafayette, IN $37,740
Food Service Managers South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI $53,800
Michigan City-La Porte, IN $52,580
Evansville, IN-KY $52,270

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Indiana Metropolitan Wages and Employment Estimates, 2013

As Indiana's Midwest culinary tradition integrates with emerging trends and restauranteurs continue to move their menus forward, Indiana should be a great place for culinary students seeking to embark upon a new career in the state.

Indiana culinary schools can be an excellent resource for budding chefs who want to learn more about joining this state’s lively culinary scene. Many great chefs started their careers in culinary school, a culinary arts degree is not always required to obtain a position. However, a formal education can be one of the many important factors that can help shape your success in the industry. Have a look at the list below of culinary schools in Indiana and give that chef's hat a twirl as you prepare for your culinary career.


  • Forbes, Restaurant Rankings, http://www.forbestravelguide.com/restaurant
  • Zagat, 10 Hot Food Neighborhoods in the U.S., https://www.zagat.com/b/10-hot-food-neighborhoods-around-the-u.s#9
  • Indianapolis Star, 4 Indy-Area Chefs up for James Beard Awards, http://www.indystar.com/story/entertainment/dining/2015/02/18/chefs-james-beard-awards-2015/23628877/
  • National Restaurant Association, Indiana, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2014/indiana
  • Projections Central, Indiana, projectionscentral.com
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pennsylvania, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_in.htm
  • Forbes, Travel Guide Award Winners, http://blog.forbestravelguide.com/the-2014-forbes-travel-guide-star-award-winners

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

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