Culinary Arts Schools in Oklahoma
Students at culinary arts schools in Oklahoma need only look to the state meal for an idea of the region's food traditions. The meal includes an assortment of state classics such as pork barbecue, sausage and gravy, strawberries, black-eyed peas and pecan pie. While traditional foods remain popular in the state, its residents have also embraced ethnic cuisine and contemporary dining as well. Oklahoma City, for instance, is home to restaurants that cover practically every type of food imaginable. There is Pho, Thai, Mediterranean, Indian, Japanese and more. With the state bordering Texas, it also has a healthy dose of Tex-Mex influences, as well as Mexican and Latin cuisine.
Overall, there were more than 6,000 eating and drinking establishments in Oklahoma in 2013, according to the National Restaurant Association. That means there may be plenty of choices for graduates of culinary schools in Oklahoma, and job opportunities should grow in the coming years. The association notes restaurants employ 172,000 Oklahomans in 2015 and that number is expected to grow 13.7 percent from 2015-2025.
Famous restaurants in Oklahoma
With so many restaurants serving up good food in the state, students at culinary schools in Oklahoma will have lots of options. Here are a couple places that have been turning heads in recent years and may be worth a visit.
- The Mule (Oklahoma City): Locally owned and operated, The Mule gets high marks for bringing a new dining experience to the city. It advertises itself as the place for "hot melts and cold beer," and the Oklahoma Gazette said in 2014 that it was the best place to try something different.
- Joe Momma's (Tulsa): The Travel Channel's Man v. Food traveled to Tulsa to try out the brick oven pizza at Joe Momma's. The restaurant claims to be the only late night pizza joint to sell pizza by the slice, and visitors can enjoy live music on the weekend.
- Mahogany Prime Steakhouse (Tulsa): When Tulsa World readers were asked to pick the best fine dining restaurant in the city, they chose Mahogany Prime Steakhouse. Established in Tulsa, the steakhouse proved popular enough that other locations have been opened in Oklahoma City and Omaha.
- Cheever's Cafe (Oklahoma City): Back in Oklahoma City, Cheever's Café is considered another example of the best of the best dining in the state. With a storied history and upscale Southwestern cuisine, it was named the best restaurant in the state by Business Insider.
Culinary schools & career outlook in Oklahoma
Many students choose to study culinary arts in order to help them build a career based on their passion. Fortunately, having a job you love doesn't have to mean going through life penniless. Culinary arts professionals from a culinary school may become managers, restaurateurs, head chefs or caterers among other occupations. In addition, job opportunities for some of these professions are on the rise.
The following chart shows employment, average salaries and expected job growth for some popular culinary arts careers.
|Occupation||Total Employment in Oklahoma (2013)||Average Salary in Oklahoma (2013)||% Job Growth in Oklahoma (2012-2022)|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||1,480||$34,770||9.1%|
|Food Service Managers||Not Available||$45,220||3.2%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014, and Projections Central
These jobs are concentrated in the state's four major metropolitan areas: Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Fort Smith and Lawton. Rural areas of the state may also have job opportunities but they may be relatively rare compared to what's available in urban centers.
Even between cities, there can be differences in employment and salaries. The chart below compares culinary jobs in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
|Location||Occupations||Total Employed (2013)||Average Salary (2013)|
|Oklahoma City||Food Service Managers||1,680||$47,280|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||530||$39,650|
|Tulsa||Food Service Managers||830||$46,470|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||390||$35,060|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
Since job opportunities and salary potential may depend on an individual's experience and education, it could be important to get the right training prior to entering the job market. Culinary schools in Oklahoma offer several programs that cover both the technical and business aspects of the industry. Check out the schools below and request more information to find out how to begin pursing your dream job.
- National Restaurant Association, Oklahoma, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/oklahoma
- Projections Central, Oklahoma, projectionscentral.com
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Oklahoma, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ok.htm
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Oklahoma City, OK Metropolitan Area, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_36420.htm
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Lexington-Fayette, KY Metropolitan Area http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_30460.htm
- Oklahoma State Symbols, Oklahoma Historical Society, http://www.okhistory.org/kids/symbols.php
- Food and Drink: Best of OKC 2014, Oklahoma Gazette, http://okgazette.com/2014/08/17/food-and-drink-best-of-okc-2014/
- The best restaurant in every state, Emmie Martin, Business Insider, February 11, 2015, http://www.businessinsider.com/the-best-restaurant-in-every-us-state-2015-2?op=1
- Best in the World: Mahogany Prime Steakhouse, Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com/scene/bestintheworld/foodanddrink/finedining/
- Joe Momma's, http://joemommas.com/about/
- Tulsa Travel Guide, Man v. Food, http://www.travelchannel.com/shows/man-v-food/travel-guides/tulsa-travel-guide