Culinary Arts Schools in Mississippi
The Mississippi food scene is a whole lot of Southern comfort, spiced with a little bit of Southwestern flair and barbecue goodness. Po'boy sandwiches, fried catfish and gumbo are all easily found at both upscale establishments and casual diners, while the Delta region in particular is known for quirky specialties such as batter-fried pork chops and catfish pâté.
Mississippi has soul with a capital "S," and those pursuing a culinary career may find the education and atmosphere they want in this Southern state. In addition to having a colorful food scene, the state may also be a good place to find a job in the culinary industry. The National Restaurant Association notes employment in Mississippi restaurants is expected to grow 8.3 percent from 2015-2025. Already, the more than 4,400 eating and drinking establishments in the state employ 10 percent of the Mississippi workforce.
If you're interested in learning more about culinary schools in Mississippi, keep reading to discover about the state's foodie hot spots as well as its job market.
Famous restaurants in Mississippi
Jackson is the largest metro area in Mississippi, which makes it home to plenty of dining options, both upscale and casual. However, don't make the mistake of sticking close to the big city. The Gulf Coast is home to great seafood while cafes, such as Neon Pig, are making waves to the north.
Here are just a few of the notable restaurants with which students at culinary schools in Mississippi may want to become acquainted.
- Snackbar (Oxford): For a unique dining experience from an award-winning chef, head to Snackbar. It dubs itself as the marriage between a French Bistro and a North Mississippi Café and calls its style of food Bubba Brasserie. It's part barbecue, part oyster bar and all delicious. Chef Vishwesh Batt has been named a finalist for the 2015 Best Chef: South award from the prestigious James Beard Foundation.
- Walker's Drive-In (Jackson): Best of Jackson, compiled through a poll of Jackson Free Press readers, gave Walker's Drive-In the nod for best restaurant in 2015. Despite the name, you don't have to eat in your car. Instead, you can pull up a seat and enjoy sustainable seafood and other specialties served in this upscale restaurant.
- Lil Ray's (Gulfport): Lil Ray's gets mention from Coastal Living Magazine as one of the best seafood dives in Mississippi. For more than 40 more years, the restaurant has been creating shrimp po' boys, seafood gumbo and jumbo crab cakes that are worth a trip south.
- Babalu Tacos and Tapas (Jackson): A runner-up for best restaurant in the Best of Jackson awards, Babalu Tacos and Tapas is located in the historic Fondren District of Jackson. It's one of four Babalu locations that bring Southwest flavor, small plates and excellent seafood together.
Culinary schools & career outlook in Mississippi
While the National Restaurant Association predicts an overall increase in jobs at Mississippi restaurants during the next 10 years, government data indicates some occupations may see a bigger bump in employment than others.
The chart below shows the employment, average salary and expected job growth for some common culinary careers.
|Occupation||Total Employment in Mississippi (2014)||Average Salary in Mississippi (2014)||% Job Growth in Mississippi (2012-2022)|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||890||$40,110||0.8%|
|Food Service Managers||1,070||$50,060||-0.9%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014, and Projections Central
However, these are only a few of the occupations pursued by graduates of culinary schools in Mississippi. Others may become personal chefs, caterers or institutional cooks. In addition, some culinary school programs may focus on the business side of the industry and prepare students for careers in management or as small-business owners.
The numbers above represent statewide employment figures. Actual salaries may vary depending on an individual's education and experience. In addition, location can be a factor when it comes to where jobs are located and how much they pay.
|Location||Occupations||Total Employed (2014)||Average Salary (2014)|
|Jackson||Food Service Managers||250||$50,510|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||Not Available||$45,160|
|Gulfport-Biloxi||Food Service Managers||120||$59,340|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||190||$42,720|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
Some culinary professionals forego a formal education and learn on the job, but employers may prefer to hire those who come with the comprehensive skills and knowledge provided by many culinary arts schools in Mississippi. These schools may have programs crafted and taught by industry professionals. What's more, they may be able to arrange for internships or other opportunities to gain real-world experience prior to graduation.
If you're ready to start your culinary career, the next step could be as simple as requesting additional information from the schools listed below.
- National Restaurant Association, Mississippi, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2014/mississippi
- Projections Central, Mississippi, projectionscentral.com
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Arkansas, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ms.htm
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Jackson, MS Metropolitan Area, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_27140.htm
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Gulport-Biloxi, MS Metro Area http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_25060.htm
- Snackbar, http://citygroceryonline.com/restaurant.php?snackbar
- Mississippi's Best Seafood Dives, Coastal Living Magazine, http://www.coastalliving.com/travel/lodging-dining/best-seafood-restaurants-mississippi
- Best Restaurant, Best of Jackson, http://www.bestofjackson.com/category/food/best-restaurant/
- Food & Drink, Visit Mississippi, http://www.visitmississippi.org/sitepages/food-and-drink#restaurants-bars
- Here are the James Bread Awards Finalists, Eater, http://www.eater.com/2015/3/24/8282707/james-beard-award-finalists-2015-restaurant-chef-book-journalism
- Babalu Tacos and Tapas, http://babalutacos.com/
- Southern Comfort Food in Mississippi, Susan Puckett, National Geographic Traveler, October 2011, http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/international-foods/mississippi-southern-comfort/