Culinary Arts Schools in Michigan
While Michigan is the birthplace of Motown and the home of the Detroit Lions, Michigan also means delicious and interesting regional cuisine. Although the state doesn't boast any Michelin-ranked restaurants, it has just as sophisticated and diverse assortment of restaurant and restauranteurs exploring traditional and modern food trends. From the red velvet pancakes at Anna's House in Grand Rapids to the eggs Sardou at La Dolce Vida in Palmer Park, Michigan's culinary scene has something for every foodie.
Unlike a San Francisco or New York City, the food scene in Michigan isn't dominated by nationally renowned or globally vaunted restaurants. Instead, the state -- Detroit in particular -- is a place of local hideouts and favorites. In fact, Detroit is at the forefront of a food renaissance, a rebirth, that's mirroring the city and state's economic recovery.
Restaurants are finding their way into empty buildings throughout the city, attracting investments from investors eager to help rebuild the region. In 2014, approximately twelve new restaurants have opened in Detroit, expanding the palette of the local eating scene past traditional ribs and ethnic food.
The culinary industry in Michigan is a driving force in the economy, employing nearly 400,000 individuals across the state, according to the National Restaurant Association. More than 15,900 restaurants are in Michigan, restaurants that produce $13.5 billion in sales annually.
Famous Michigan restaurants
Indeed, Detroit is the heartbeat of Michigan's culinary world, attracting attention from new restauranteurs, food bloggers, patrons and critics from around the world. In 2014 one of the brightest shining restaurants was The Rugby Grille, located in the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, a suburb of Detroit. The restaurant was ranked as a travel destination by Forbes and recently underwent an interior redesign in 2013. Executive chef Drew Sayes has brought a new menu to the restaurant, focusing on both local and sustainable foods.
Outside of The Rugby Grille, other restaurants in Detroit include the following:
- Grille Midtown - A renovated theater on Woodward Avenue, the Grille Midtown has an eclectic menu that includes everything from Mahi Mahi tacos to jambalaya, smokehouse burgers to swordfish.
- Guns & Butter - A "pop-up" dining experience launched in 2012 has now become a national sensation, traveling to neighborhoods in New York City and is currently preparing to open a brick and mortar location in Detroit.
- La Feria - A Spanish Tapas restaurant, La Feria is located on Cass Street in downtown Detroit and the owners launched the venture after winning $50,000 prize from Hatch Detroit, a start-up business competition.
- Wright & Company - Another new fixture in downtown Detroit's food district, Wright & Company, located in a nondescript, late nineteenth-century brick building, includes a long bar and a diverse menu.
- Detroit Vegan Soul - Owners Erika Boyd and Kirsten Ussery created Detroit Vegan Soul, a 100 percent vegan establishment, after being finalists in Hatch Detroit in 2012.
Michigan culinary schools & career outlook
There are multiple avenues to becoming a chef, from pilgrimaging to France to apprentice under culinary masters to attending a culinary school in Michigan. Other prospective chefs and restauranteurs, like Erika Boyd and Kirsten Ussery of Detroit Vegan Soul, simply roll up their sleeves and place out a shingle.
For those seeking a culinary degree in Michigan can traditionally select from one of four subject paths at Michigan culinary schools:
- Culinary arts
- Baking & pastry arts
- Culinary management
- Hospitality management
Training at a culinary institute can prepare graduates to pursue a variety of careers, including chefs, private chefs, caterers, restaurant managers, pastry chefs, sous chefs and more.
According to the National Restaurant Association, the culinary industry in Michigan is still recovering from the economic downturn, meaning the state experienced only 5.8 percent job growth in 2014. Overall, individual career growth is expected to be muted, especially for chefs and head cooks between 2012 and 2022. One of the careers projected to have the largest increase (7.3 percent), according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, is food service managers.
Below is a table of state-wide average salaries for three central culinary careers: bakers, chefs, and food service managers:
|Occupation||Total Employment in Michigan (2013)||Average Salary in Michigan (2013)|
|Chefs and head cooks||2,470||$40,280|
|Food service managers||5,420||$47,960|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013
Examining the employment situation in metropolitan areas in Michigan helps paint a clearer picture of potential culinary career opportunities within the state. Below is a table of employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) for three metro areas in Michigan: Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills; Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn; and Grand Rapids-Wyoming.
|Metropolitan Area||Occupations||Total Employment 2013||2013 Average Salary|
|Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI||Food Service Managers||1,590||$48,880|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||760||$42,060|
|Food Service Managers||840||$50,290|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||570||$33,450|
|Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI||Food Service Managers||600||$46,430|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||270||$40,180|
With the economic recovery taking place in Detroit, coupled with an emerging food scene in the region, Michigan should be an attractive possibility for students considering a culinary education.
Michigan culinary schools offer a variety of degree programs in varying locations; browse these culinary schools in Michigan and nearby.
- Grille Midtown, http://www.thegrillemidtown.com
- Guns & Butter, http://gunsandbutter.com/
- La Feria, http://laferiadetroit.com/
- Wright & Company, http://www.wrightdetroit.com/
- Detroit Vegan Soul, http://detroitvegansoul.com/
- Forbes, Restaurant Rankings, http://www.forbestravelguide.com/restaurant
- National Restaurant Association, Michigan, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2014/michigan
- Projections Central, Michigan, projectionscentral.com
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, California, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mi.htm
- Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, Job Projections, http://milmi.org/admin/uploadedPublications/715_occ_g35.htm