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Culinary Arts Schools in New Jersey

New Jersey is quietly becoming one of the country's culinary hot spots, driven by an influx of critically acclaimed restaurateurs from New York City and beyond. And restaurant investors are jumping in to take advantage of both the state's lower rents and its increasingly competitive culinary market. From the kielbasa served at the Frog and the Peach in New Brunswick to the French fare offered at Lorena's in Maplewood, New Jersey has something for every palette.

Culinary Arts

Although New York may dominate the East Coast food scene, New Jersey is no slouch: it is home to James Beard award-winning chefs, nationally recognized restaurants, and independent restauranteurs launching new establishments that are pushing culinary trends forward. New Jersey's culinary industry is both turning out and attracting top-flight chefs and restaurants.

For example, more than 200 chefs in New Jersey were included in the 2014 Best Chefs list by Best Chefs America -- an annual publication that ranks the country's best chefs through a peer nomination process. Here are five of the chefs who were recognized in 2014:

  • J.R. Belt (Stage Left, New Brunswick). In addition to having its Stage Left burger highlighted by numerous publications, Wine and Spectator also gave Stage Left an Award of Excellence in 2013.
  • Chris Connors (Anton's At The Swan, Flemington). Anton's At The Swan is a Zagat-rated establishment that offers an American menu, patio seating and a bar.
  • Jeffrey Orel (Denville Meat Shop, Morristown). A butcher shop, Denville Meat Shop also offers cooking classes, catering services, and a full sandwich menu.
  • Marianne Powell (A Little Café, Camden). Opened in 1998, A Little Café has garnered excellent ratings from Zagat, and sources ingredients from local sources.
  • Gaspard Coloz (Madeline's Petit Paris, Hackensack). A family-operated establishment, Madeline's Petit Paris presents French cuisine in a fine dining atmosphere.

The state's culinary diversity mirrors the state's population, offering a smorgasbord of dining options, from French to American, molecular gastronomy to locally sourced meals. Individual foodie pockets continue to spring up across the state in areas such as Jersey City, Camden, Hackensack and more -- each of which are introducing a new generation of eateries and restaurants alongside longtime, well-established local favorites.

The culinary industry in New Jersey is a driving economic force in the state, one that employs more than 322,000 individuals, according to the National Restaurant Association. The industry produces approximately $14.6 billion in annual sales across more than 18,000 eating and drinking establishments.

Famous New Jersey restaurants

In 2014, 16 restaurants in New Jersey received recognition from Zagat's annual ranking of restaurants, based on food, décor and popularity. In the best food category, the five highest-ranked New Jersey establishments were:

  • Nicolas (Middletown)
  • Lorena's (Maplewood)
  • De Lorenza's Tomato Pies (Robbinsville)
  • Shumi (Somerville)
  • Drew's Bayshore Bistro

And these 10 restaurants were on NJ.com's 2014 list of the top, most influential restaurants in the state:

  1. A Toute Heure (Cranford)
  2. Cucharamama (Hoboken) -- featuring Maricel Presilla, a two-time James Beard award winner
  3. The Farm and Fisherman Tavern + Market (Cherry Hill)
  4. Jockey Hollow (Morristown) -- backed by James Beard-winning and Michelin star-rated restauranteur, Chris Cannon
  5. LP Steak (Northfield)
  6. Maritime Parc (Jersey City)
  7. Mehndi (Morristown)
  8. Mistral (Princeton)
  9. Thirty Acres (Jersey City)
  10. Zeppoli (Collingswood)

Jersey City is one area garnering much attention for its culinary revolution and is becoming known as a go-to place for innovation and experimentation in the kitchen. The New York Post profiled the region, describing it as a "foodie destination" and listed six local establishments that are bringing attention to the area:

  • Cocoa Bakery
  • Sam A.M.
  • Milk Sugar Love
  • Park & Sixth Gastropub
  • Razza

New Jersey culinary schools and career outlook

Indeed, there is no single path to becoming a chef or entering the culinary industry. But one solid starting point is attending a culinary school in New Jersey. Graduating from a culinary schools could pave the path to several career opportunities -- from sous chef to pastry chef, caterer to restaurant manager -- in the following areas:

  1. Culinary arts
  2. Baking & pastry arts
  3. Culinary management
  4. Hospitality management

Indeed, graduates of New Jersey culinary schools have the opportunity to draw from many sources.

Restaurant employment growth was muted in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and statewide career growth for chefs, bakers and restaurant managers is expected to remain somewhat flat between 2012 and 2022.

Below is a table of the overall career outlook for bakers, chefs, and food service managers in New Jersey:

OccupationTotal Employment in New Jersey (2013)Average Salary in New Jersey (2013)% Job Growth in New Jersey (2012-22)
Bakers 4,100 $26,900 6.5%
Chefs and Head Cooks 4,020 $57,370 3.8%
Food Service Managers 3,980 $69,200 2.4%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013, and Projections Central

Locally, the best-paying opportunities for each profession in 2013 could be found in the following New Jersey metropolitan areas:

  • Bakers. Edison-New Brunswick ($31,870)
  • Chefs. Trenton-Ewing ($61,150)
  • Restaurant managers. Atlantic City-Hammonton ($78,080)

As for employment opportunities, the following metropolitan areas were the largest employers of chefs, bakers and restaurant managers:

Metro Area2013 Employment
Newark-Union, NJ-PA Metropolitan Division 3,180
Edison-New Brunswick, NJ Metropolitan Division 2,640
Camden, NJ Metropolitan Division 1,450
Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ 640
Trenton-Ewing, NJ 490
Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, NJ 100
Ocean City, NJ 50

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013

With growing investment into restaurants and the culinary industry at large, and a new wave of renowned restauranteurs in the state, New Jersey should be an attractive option for individuals thinking about pursuing a culinary education -- and career -- in the state.

Overall, experience is important when developing a career in the culinary world. Although a degree is not typically required for work in the restaurant sector, many find that a degree can help. Culinary schools in New Jersey are found in several cities, so there's no shortage of options for tomorrow’s chefs, pastry chefs and restaurant managers. Check out the list of New Jersey culinary schools below, and move forward in honing your cooking skills and culinary passions.

Sources

  • A Little Café, http://alittlecafenj.com
  • Antons at the Swan, http://www.antons-at-the-swan.com/index.xhtml
  • Stage Left, http://www.stageleft.com/sl/dine/
  • Denville Meat Shop, https://www.denvillemeatshop.com/sandwich-menu
  • Madeline's Petit Paris, http://madeleinespetitparis.com/
  • Best Chefs America, https://www.bestchefsamerica.com/the-chefs
  • Zagat, New Jersey, http://www.zagat.com/new-jersey
  • National Restaurant Association, New Jersey, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2014/new-jersey
  • Projections Central, New Jersey, projectionscentral.com
  • NewJersey.com, http://www.nj.com/inside-jersey/index.ssf/2014/10/30_best_meals_2014_jerseys_top_power_restaurants.html
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Jersey, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nj.htm
  • New York Post, Jersey City is the new foodie destination, http://nypost.com/2013/11/30/jersey-city-is-the-new-foodie-destination/

This list also contains online schools that accept students from New Jersey .

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  • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
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  • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
  • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
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  • Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
  • Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
  • Provide hands-on training from instructors who are certified, master chefs.
  • Offer flexible schedules and online programs.
  • Has 30 schools worldwide, spanning 5 continents, including 17 campuses in the U.S.
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  • Offers more than 150 self-paced, career-relevant programs that are connected to a supportive 24/7 online community of students and faculty.
  • Profiled in many publications such as The Boston Globe, Fox Business, and  Inside Higher Ed.
  • Nearly 25,000 graduates each year.
  • Accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
  • Founded in 1890 in Scranton, Pennsylvania    
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  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1997.
  • Reimburses students for the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) exam if taken during their 6th term, and one specialization test if taken within 90 days of graduation.
  • Employs a hybrid training approach, combining hands-on lab work with online theory classes.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
  • Program is offered at Clifton and Tom River in New Jersey, and West Hartford in Connecticut locations.
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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in 2015 by the U.S. News & World Report.
  • Admits students throughout the year with quarterly start dates in January, April, July, and September.
  • Provides faculty-monitored internships or job-related assignments.
  • Offers associate and bachelor degree programs in business, design, health, plus certificate programs in practical nurse, medical assistant, and more.
  • Preparing students for professional and personal success since 1931.
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  • Accredited
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  • Offers a career-focused education with instructors who are professionals in their field.  
  • Dedicated Student Services Coordinators provide guidance and support throughout the program.
  • Provides a career services department that assists students and graduates with job placement, interviewing techniques, as well as resume and cover letter writing.
  • Offers a 24/7 technical hotline available to assist students whenever they need help.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges. 
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  • Has students attend one four-week class at a time and take their final exam before moving on to their next class.
  • Offers 24/7 online tech support, with a typical response time of 4 hours or less.
  • Has online help centers that offer assistance with writing, statistics, medical assisting, and more.
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  • Researches trends for growing fields to tailor a more effective curriculum.
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  • Offers a 6-level English as a Second Language program to place students at the appropriate level.
  • Opened the original Hartford campus in 1924 as the Hartford Secretarial School.
  • Has 4 campus locations in New Jersey, Florida, and Connecticut.
  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1997.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), with accreditation for the Margate campus by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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  • Offers career assistance services, including career advising, resume writing sessions, and interview coach training.
  • Medical certification courses are approved by the National Health Career Association (NHA).
  • Main campus is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
  • Headquarters located in South Plainfield, New Jersey, with 3 other locations in Fairfield and Eatontown, New Jersey and Shanghai, China.
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  • Accredited
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  • Part of the Lincoln Group of Schools.
  • Lincoln Group of Schools made over $12 million available through scholarships to qualified students in 2014.
  • Designated a Military Friendly School for the 6th year in a row by Victory Media.
  • First campus was opened in 1946, now with 22 campuses across the United States.
  • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), Accrediting Commission of Career Schools (ACCSC), and Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
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  • Accredited
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•        Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.

•        More than $14 million in scholarships and grants are available per year to students who qualify.

•        100% online programs include 7 baccalaureate degrees, 11 associate’s degrees, 7 diplomas, and an MBA program.

•        Holds partnerships with many business and organizations to help create beneficial work opportunities for students and graduates.

•        Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).

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  • Ranked among the 2015 Best Online Graduate Education Programs by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Awarded 21 institutional scholarships in 2013, totaling over $76,000 in tuition.
  • Offers several certificate programs where students can earn credits without committing to a full degree program.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
  • Part of the Colorado State University System.
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  • A cosmetology and beauty educator since 1935, with 98 beauty and cosmetology schools all over the US.
  • Employs many green initiatives on their campuses.
  • Has a professional clinic on each campus, run by senior-level students under supervision of licensed educators.
  • Offers a variety of beauty programs and cosmetology courses including cosmetology, esthetics, make-up artistry, and cosmetology educator training.
  • Accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCAS).
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  • Flexible Scheduling
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  • Several institutional scholarship opportunities are available to students who qualify.
  • Features several learning model options, including online, residency, and hybrid options.
  • Offers graduate degree programs in organizational leadership, mind-body medicine, psychology and human science.
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • Three teaching locations in Seattle, Washington and Houston, Texas, with the university headquarters located in San Francisco, California.
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  • Offers special tuition pricing for Veterans, Active Duty Military and spouses/qualifying dependents of all Active Duty, National Guard and Reserves.
  • Works closely with an advisory board from the medical community to ensure that their curriculum, equipment and instruction are current.
  • Allows students to complete assignments on the go with its Blackboard Learn mobile app.
  • Gives online students live student support for technical or course questions.
  • Has campus locations in Florida as well as online learning programs.
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Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Other New Jersey Culinary Schools

School Name City or Town Programs Offered
Monmouth County Vocational School District Asbury Park Culinary Arts
Raritan Valley Community College Branchburg Food & Beverage Management
Middlesex County College Edison Baking and Pastry Arts
Hudson County Community College Jersey City Culinary Arts
Atlantic Cape Community College - Academy of Culinary Arts Mays Landing Culinary Arts/Chef Training
Atlantic County Institute of Technology Mays Landing Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management
Burlington County College Mt. Holly A.A.S. Culinary Arts
Rutgers University-New Brunswick New Brunswick Hospitality Management
Bergen Community College Paramus Culinary Arts/Chef Training
County College of Morris Randolph Culinary Arts
Union County Vocational Technical School Scotch Plains Baker/Pastry Chef
Camden County Vocational and Technical Schools Sicklerville Baking/Pastry Arts
Fairleigh Dickinson University - All Campuses Teaneck Hospitality and Tourism Management
Ocean County Vocational Technical School Toms River Culinary Arts/Chef Training
Mercer County Community College Trenton Culinary Arts