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, barbecue, Asian fusion fare, Amish cuisine, and more. There is much to look forward to as a prospective student of culinary schools in Indiana. In 2016 the culinary industry is projected to be more than a $11 billion dollar industry in Indiana, with more than 11,600 eating and drinking establishments and employing more than 320,000 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 2016, the culinary industry employed 321,700 people in Indiana, according to the National Restaurant Association. And it is expected to add another 32,600 jobs by 2026 in the state -- a 10.1 percent growth rate in restaurant and food service jobs by 2026. Below is a table of the career outlook for those positions in Indiana, including employment totals and average salaries.

RegionCareerTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
IndianaFood Service Managers4450$51060
IndianaChefs and Head Cooks1630$39300
Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

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:

RegionCareerTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
Bloomington, INFood Service Managers110$52270
Bloomington, INChefs and Head Cooks60$37820
Bloomington, INBakers90$21250
Evansville, IN-KYFood Service Managers320$45480
Evansville, IN-KYBakers160$24190
Evansville, IN-KYChefs and Head Cooks50$42450
Fort Wayne, INBakers160$27850
Fort Wayne, INFood Service Managers270$54420
Fort Wayne, INChefs and Head Cooks80$40460
Gary, IN Metropolitan DivisionChefs and Head Cooks100$43910
Gary, IN Metropolitan DivisionFood Service Managers460$47570
Gary, IN Metropolitan DivisionBakers150$25890
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, INFood Service Managers1480$52690
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, INBakers1050$24800
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, INChefs and Head Cooks860$38130
South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MIBakers120$25220
South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MIFood Service Managers170$51070
South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MIChefs and Head Cooks70$43860
Terre Haute, INChefs and Head Cooks70$42950
Terre Haute, INBakers50$21990
Terre Haute, INFood Service Managers100$53400
Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

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/2016/IN_Restaurants2016
  • 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

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