Culinary Arts Schools in Kansas
Located in the middle of the country, Kansas is known for home-style cooking and comfort foods. Meat markets, smokehouses and small specialty shops can be found throughout the state, and as the nation's breadbasket, there are no shortage of bakeries and pastry shops. During the summer, a stop at a farmer's market might result in fresh vegetables, homemade preserves and other items that make use of Kansas's abundant agricultural resources.
The state's restaurants may showcase steaks, fried chicken and barbecue. However, fine dining is also alive and well in the Midwest, with destination dining spots to be found in cities such as Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita. Food trucks have also invaded the state's big cities, with The Flying Stove being one of the popular options in Wichita.
Just as there are many options for dining in the state, culinary arts schools in Kansas also offer diverse opportunities for students who want to get into the restaurant business. Depending on the school, they may offer programs that could lead to careers in the kitchen, management or in a related hospitality field.
Top restaurants in Kansas
Regardless of their course of study, graduates of culinary arts schools in Kansas may find they have plenty of employment options. According to the National Restaurant Association, there were more than 5,000 eating and drinking locations in Kansas in 2013. This year, these establishments are expected to employ 133,300 Kansans, and jobs in the state's restaurant industry are expected to grow 9.7 percent from 2015-2025.
The following is just a brief sampling of the different types of dining establishments open for business in Kansas.
- Old Mill Tasty Shop (Wichita): Readers of Wichita Magazine voted the Old Mill Tasty Shop as the best diner in the city. It's been around for more than 80 years and provides an old fashioned diner and soda fountain experience. You can sit at the counter or grab a table to enjoy the shop's sandwiches, salads and other specialties.
- Walt McFarland's Restaurant (Topeka): If you're looking for home cooking served up by a friendly staff, head to Walt McFarland's in Topeka. It is said to have some of the best restaurant service in the city, according to readers of The Topeka-Capital Journal.
- Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que (Kansas City): Kansas City lies partially in Missouri, but on the Kansas side, visitors of travel site TripAdvisor say Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que is the best restaurant to be found. Serving up barbecue sandwiches, smoked chicken and ribs, the restaurant made the short list of nominees for USA Today's list of best Southern BBQ joints.
- Brookville Hotel (Abilene): Outside the big cities is the Brookville Hotel. It's been in business since 1870 and is known for its delicious cooked family-style chicken dinners. In 2007, the hotel received the James Beard American Classic Award.
Kansas culinary schools & career outlook
Culinary arts schools in Kansas are where students can perfect their craft. They may learn how to perfectly slice and sauté, manage the business side of a restaurant or build an establishment from the ground up. Job titles for culinary arts professionals include:
- Head chef
- Sous chef
- Food service manager
- Front-line supervisor
- Personal chef
Each occupation may have a different level of demand and income potential. Below is a comparison of employment data for a few of the popular jobs pursued by graduates of culinary arts schools in Kansas.
|Occupation||Total Employment in Kansas (2014)||Average Salary in Kansas (2014)||% Job Growth in Kansas (2012-2022)|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||960||$37,270||6.4%|
|Food Service Managers||2,020||$46,330||4.1%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014, and Projections Central
While knowing statewide data can be helpful, graduates of culinary arts schools in Kansas should be aware that salaries and job opportunities can vary by city. The following chart compares employment information from Wichita and Topeka.
|Location||Occupations||Total Employed (2014)||Average Salary (2014)|
|Wichita||Food Service Managers||510||$46,450|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||150||$42,440|
|Topeka||Food Service Managers||180||$47,200|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||110||$36,120|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
Kansas City, which straddles the Kansas and Missouri state line, is home to numerous restaurants that employ culinary arts graduates. Others may work in Lawrence, Manhattan, St. Joseph or in one of the state's many rural communities.
While not all positions require a degree or certificate, employers may prefer to hire those with some postsecondary training. Culinary arts schools in Kansas may offer the education these employers want, and students can learn more by contacting the schools listed below.
- National Restaurant Association, Kansas, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2014/kansas
- Projections Central, Kansas, projectionscentral.com
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Kansas, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ks.htm
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Wichita, KS Metropolitan Area, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_48620.htm
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Topeka, KS Metropolitan Area http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_45820.htm
- Kansas Specialty Food, http://www.kansastravel.org/kansasfood.htm
- Brookville Hotel, http://www.brookvillehotel.com/index.html
- Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que, http://www.joeskc.com/
- The Best of Wichita 2015, Wichita Magazine, http://wichitamag.com/best/?ccm_paging_p_b1303=3
- Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que, TripAdvisor, http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g38815-d390483-Reviews-Joe_s_Kansas_City_Bar_B_Que-Kansas_City_Kansas.html
- Best of Topeka 2014, The Topeka Capital-Journal, http://cjonline.com/slideshow/2014-09-07/best-topeka-2014#slide-173