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Montana Culinary Schools & Institutes

Nicknamed "Big Sky Country," the vast and sparsely populated state of Montana offers many things that other more crowded cities and states don't -- space to breathe, hike, discover, hunt, and yes, cook. With many state and national parks, including Glacier National Park and a sliver of Yellowstone, Montana has long attracted those who love to indulge in outdoor pursuits. Skiing reigns supreme here as well, with famed ski region Blue Sky drawing in many visitors every year. And with great tourist areas come great food.

Culinary Arts

Authentic home-cooking with top-notch game and other meats is the norm here. This is beef-and-potato country, and culinary arts students who decide to try their luck at one of the culinary arts schools in Montana will enjoy being able to work with high-quality beef and yes, bison and even elk. Read on for more information and get ready to embark on your culinary school adventure in the Great Plains state of Montana.

Famous Montana food and restaurants

Those living in densely populated urban areas might not be as comfortable with the thought, but here in the Great Plains, hunting for part of your food can be a way of life. The antelope hunting season runs from August through November, while deer and elk are usually hunted September through November. A culinary education in Montana can serve as a basis for careers that go beyond the traditional chef route. For instance, in Montana there is demand for butchers and meat cutters.

In terms of fish, the Montana trout is a state delicacy. For dessert, there's pie, pie, and more pie, especially the kind with huckleberries and cherries, which the state is well-known for. Savvy home cooks have long learned to preserve their vegetables and fruit for the long winters by pickling and preserving, and everyone seems to have a favorite recipe. Some of the best are crowned at the Montana State Fair, which takes place in August.

While culinary students are exploring the food scene, here are three famous restaurants and diners that are known as Montana favorites:

  • Montana Ale Works (Bozeman): Called the Bozeman Cafeteria by some locals, this funky converted freighthouse is now an award-winning restaurant and bar, featuring grass-fed steaks and bison potstickers.
  • Slippery Otter Pub (West Yellowstone): Located a few miles outside the gates of Yellowstone National Park, West Yellowstone is a quaint town with great restaurants. The elk burger at Slippery Otter Pub is a favorite among tourists and locals.
  • Joe's Pasty Shop (Butte): Those who have never had a pasty (the Welsh version of an empananda) are in for a treat. This original miner's meal is particularly tasty at Joe's Pasty Shop on a cold Montana winter day. Try the steak and potato pasty.

Montana culinary arts career outlook

In terms of industry growth, it's good news for aspiring culinary arts students: the National Restaurant Association expects employment growth of 6.2% in the Montana food and beverages sector by 2023, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides data to back this up as well. Here's an overview of statewide employment, salary and job growth data as reported by the BLS:

OccupationTotal Employment in Montana (2014)Average Salary in Montana (2014)% Job Growth in Montana (2012-2022)
Chefs and Head Cooks 380 $36,210 15.9%
Bakers 670 $24,150 8.7%
Food Service Managers 390 $52,050 16.5%
Butchers and meat cutters 680 $30,190 10.1%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Montana is a large state with several medium-sized urban population centers, and to give aspiring culinary arts students a better idea of the earnings to be expected in specific cities, we have broken down the information below.

Location

Occupation

Total Employed (2014)

Average Salary (2014)

Billings

Bakers

130

$24,310

Butchers and meat cutters

90

$27,500

Chefs

Not available

$39,040

Food Service Managers

90

$53,180

Great Falls

Bakers

50

$20,700

Butchers and meat cutters

60

$27,810

Food service managers

50

$69,870

Missoula

Bakers

110

$24,340

Butchers and meat cutters

60

$29,700

Chefs and head cooks

100

$30,630

Those students who decide to head to culinary school in Montana have many options to choose from. We've helped narrow the choices by including a list of handy links below. Enjoy the Great Plains and get cooking!

Sources:

  • Deer, Elk & Antelope Hunting Guide, http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/planahunt/huntingGuides/dea/
  • May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Montana, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mt.htm
  • Montana Ale Works, http://www.montanaaleworks.com/
  • Montana restaurant industry at a glance, National Restaurant Association, https://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/montana
  • Montana State Fair, Culinary, http://www.montanastatefair.com/UserFiles/files/Premium%20book%20links/Culinary%20FAIR%20BOOK%207-14-14.pdf
  • Slippery Otter Pub, http://www.yelp.com/biz/slippery-otter-pub-west-yellowstone
  • State Foods, Montana, http://www.foodtimeline.org/statefoods.html#montana

This list also contains online schools that accept students from Montana .

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Other Montana Culinary Schools

School Name City or Town Programs Offered
Flathead Valley Community College Kalispell Culinary Arts
The University of Montana - Missoula Missoula Recreation Management