Culinary Arts Schools in Louisiana
While known as the home of Cajun cuisine, Louisiana's culinary landscape represents a delicious range of influences. New Orleans alone boasts more than 1,300 restaurants and is famous for foods such as savory beignets, hearty jambalaya and meat-laden po'boys. And the capital of Baton Rouge was voted one of the Best Foodie Cities for Groups in 2013 and 2014 by ConventionSouth magazine. Culinary schools in Louisiana train students to prepare traditional Louisiana fare, as well as international and contemporary specialties.
Famous Louisiana restaurants and dishes
There is a lively food scene for students who choose culinary schools in Louisiana. The Small Town Chefs Award, presented by Country Roads Magazine, recognizes culinary experts who work outside the state's metropolitan areas. In the New Orleans area, the American Culinary Federation serves as a conduit of culinary education and professional development. Food festivals throughout the state offer a way for chefs to show their stuff; the Louisiana Oyster Jubilee, the Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival, and the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off are only a few of many food festivals in the state.
Numerous influences have shaped Louisiana's culinary scene. Cajun food was first introduced by the Acadians, French colonists who resettled in south Louisiana after being forced out of Canada in the 1700s. Creole food, on the other hand, comes from descendants of the Spanish and French upper class that ruled New Orleans in the 1800s. Generally, Creole cuisine uses tomatoes, while Cajun does not, and Creole food is generally thought of as richer and more sophisticated than Cajun.
Typical menu items in Louisiana include:
- Gumbo - a dish made with okra simmered in stock, plumped up with various meats, onions, celery and bell peppers, and served over rice.
- Jambalaya - which consists of sausage, vegetables and a variety of other meats and seafood. Long-grain race is added to make this a complete dish.
- Andouille - a pork sausage that is heavily seasoned with salt, black pepper and garlic and is smoked over sugar cane and pecan wood for many hours.
- Shrimp Creole - a low-fat dish that includes shrimp, onion, green pepper, green onion and tomato.
- Muffuletta - a sandwich originating from Italian immigrants that includes provolone, ham, salami and a flavorful olive spread.
- Po'boy - a sandwich served on long, crusty French bread and piled with meat and gravy.
- Beignets - square-shaped pieces of dough that are deep fried and covered in powdered sugar.
Many famous chefs and their signature restaurants hail from Louisiana. Television personality Emeril Lagasse has been a mainstay of New Orleans' culinary life and is the chef-proprietor of 13 restaurants, including his flagship, Emeril's in New Orleans, which is known for its Cajun specialties and service.
Prior to opening his own restaurants, Lagasse was executive chef of Commander's Palace, a culinary landmark that has been operating in New Orleans since 1880, and boasts numerous James Beard awards. Its high-end cuisine includes traditional Creole dishes, as well as its famous turtle soup.
Commander's Palace touts another well-known alumnus, Chef Paul Prudhomme, who currently owns his own restaurant, K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen. The restaurant is unique because it has no freezers and uses only fresh ingredients, which means the menu changes daily.
Louisiana culinary arts schools & career outlook
Because of its cultural emphasis on food, New Orleans has a high concentration of employment in food preparation and serving, which could be good news for graduates of culinary colleges in Louisiana. The following table shows career data for culinary professions in Louisiana.
|Occupation||Total Employment in Louisiana (2013)||Average Salary in Louisiana (2013)||% Job Growth in Louisiana (2012-2022)|
|Food service managers||1,730||$49,140||4.1%|
|Chefs and head cooks||1,530||$41,470||8.1%|
|First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers||13,830||$29,810||17%|
|Food preparation workers||30,600||$17,730||7.3%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013, and Projections Central
In the New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner metropolitan area, 10.8% of the area's employment is in food preparation and serving, compared to 9% in the U.S. overall. Annual mean wages are higher in this area than in the rest of the state; in May 2013, chefs and head cooks earned an annual mean wage of $45,970, restaurant cooks earned an annual mean wage of $23,650, and short-order cooks earned a mean annual wage of $19,940.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana's second largest city, holds its own fame as a city for food lovers. In Baton Rouge in May 2013, chefs and head cooks earned a mean annual wage of $31,100, restaurant cooks earned a mean annual wage of $21,960, and short-order cooks earned a mean annual wage of $18,510.
For this, culinary schools in Louisiana and nearby offer a range of programs and degrees. Take the first step towards a career where you can fine tune your cooking skills and call upon your creativity.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Louisiana, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_la.htm
- 2014 Readers' Choice Awards For "The South's Best Foodie Cities For Groups," http://www.conventionsouth.com/foodie_cities.htm
- The Daily Meal, 101 Best Restaurants in America for 2014 Slideshow, http://www.thedailymeal.com/101-best-restaurants-america-2014-slideshow
- Louisiana Office of Tourism, Cajun vs. Creole Food - What is the Difference? http://www.louisianatravel.com/articles/cajun-vs-creole-food-what-difference
- Emeril's, Chef Emeril Lagasse, http://emerils.com/about-emeril
- New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, Traditional New Orleans Foods http://www.neworleanscvb.com/restaurants/traditional/
- Nalini Raghavan , "A Foodie Mecca in Baton Rouge," Country Roads Magazine, http://www.countryroadsmagazine.com/featured/blogs/the-good-feast/a-foodie-mecca-in-baton-rouge
- Chelsea Brastad, "5 Louisiana chefs honored with inaugural Small Town Chefs Awards," Nola.com | The Times Picayune, http://www.nola.com/dining/baton-rouge/index.ssf/2014/06/5_louisiana_chefs_honored_with.html
- Judy Walker, "Louisiana festival guide 2013: Eating your way across state lines," Nola.com | The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com/festivals/index.ssf/2013/03/louisiana_festival_guide_2013.html
- American Culinary Federation New Orleans, http://www.acfno.org
- USA Today, New Orleans Culinary Tours, http://experience.usatoday.com/food-and-wine/story/new-orleans/best-food-wine-tours/2013/08/26/new-orleans-culinary-tours/2701299/
- Projections Central, Louisiana, http://projectionscentral.com/