Culinary Arts Schools in Oregon
The culinary scene in Oregon centers upon three primary ingredients: fresh, organic and local. The state is also known for a few unique staples, such as the Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, marionberries, and salmon. Fresh. Local. Organic. Those tenants have allowed chefs to fashion a nationally recognized culinary scene that is anchored by Portland. Although it may be overshadowed on the West Coast by San Francisco, Portland has some of the country's most talented chefs, including winners of the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef Northwest award. Andy Ricker of Pik Pok won in 2011, Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon won in 2013, and Naomi Pomeroy of Beast won in 2014.
There are plenty of opportunities for students who are interested in attending culinary schools in Oregon. From Restaurant Beck in Depoe Bay to Storrs Smokehouse in Newberg, the state is home to a varied array of culinary influences. In 2016, Oregon's culinary industry is projected by the National Restaurant Association to produce nearly $7.4 billion in sales. More than 190,100 individuals work in restaurants in the state and the industry is expected to grow by 13.2 percent by 2026. For the prospective student, culinary arts schools in Oregon offer one route to joining the growing ranks of professionals in the culinary industry in the state.
Famous Oregon restaurants and chefs
Although quietly situated in the greater Northwest, Oregon is making noise on the culinary scene. Chefs, restaurants and restaurateurs alike are being recognized by publications such as Forbes and receiving awards from the James Beard Foundation. In 2014, Forbes awarded its vaunted four-star recognition to three restaurants in the state: JORY (Newburg), The Heathman Restaurant and Bar (Portland), and The Painted Lady (Newburg).
- JORY: Situated in Willamette Valley, JORY is located in The Allison Inn and is helmed by Executive Chef Sunny Jin. The restaurant is famous for its locally sourced, seasonal cuisine and a wine list of 850 options.
- The Heathman Restaurant: Located in the Heathman Hotel in Portland, the Heathman Restaurant and Bar is operated by Executive Chef Michael Stanton. The restaurant serves a breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu and is well-known for infusing the tastes of the Pacific Northwest with French cooking styles.
- The Painted Lady: Executive Chef Allen Routt has created a unique dining experience that revolves around five- and seven-course prix fixe menus that shine a spotlight on local ingredients and a well-matched wine selection.
James Beard is synonymous with Portland. The world-famous chef was born in Portland and his revolution of the American culinary scene continues to this day through the James Beard Foundation's annual awards. In 2015, Oregon was well-represented as restaurants and chefs earned 17 semifinalists nominations. Two restaurants, Langbaan and Kachka, received nominations for Best New Restaurant. Tim Healea of Little American Baker received a nod for Outstanding Baker, while Kristen Murray (Maurice) received a nomination for Outstanding Pastry Chef. For Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Program, two restaurants received recognition -- Clyde Common and The Jory. The Best Chef Northwest included ten individuals from Portland, including the following:
- Greg Denton (Ox)
- Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton (Ox)
- Kevin Gibson (Davenport)
- Gregory Gourdet (Departure)
- Trent Pierce (Roe)
- Sarah Pliner (Aviary)
- Ryan Roadhouse (Nodoguro)
- Justin Woodward (Castagna)
- Sunny Jin (The Jory)
- Joe Kim (5 Fusion and Sushi Bar)
Three chefs in Portland made the finalist list for the 2015 awards: Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton of Ox and Justin Woodward of Castagna.
Oregon culinary schools & career outlook
The culinary scene in Oregon is anchored by Portland, and presents a number of career paths for prospective students. Attending a culinary school in Oregon is typically the first step towards a career in the culinary industry. Traditionally, students select from one of four majors at culinary schools:
Whether the goal is to become a sous chef, a restaurateur, baker, pastry chef or hospitality director, culinary schools in Oregon offer the training to get prospective students to where they want to go.
As noted above, the National Restaurant Association project robust employment growth in the next decade. Career data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals three of the most common culinary paths are projected to see employment openings increase, on average, by 15.9 percent between 2012 and 2022 in the state. The table below outlines employment and earning data for those three careers in Oregon.
|Career||Total Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||1330||45920|
|Food Service Managers||3990||49190|
At the local level, the best paying locations for bakers include Portland ($30,680), Medford ($29,310), and Eugene ($28,610). For chefs, the top locations include Salem ($47,600), Portland ($43,550), and Corvallis ($39,290). For restaurant managers, the top paying locations include Portland ($51,540), Corvallis ($49,860), and Eugene ($48,760).
- Forbes, Restaurant Rankings, http://www.forbestravelguide.com/restaurant
- National Restaurant Association, Oregon, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2016/OR_Restaurants2016
- Projections Central, Oregon, projectionscentral.com
- Oregon Live, Three Portland Chefs Named James Beard Award Finalists, http://www.oregonlive.com/dining/index.ssf/2015/03/james_beard_awards_announces_p.html
- Oregon Live, James Beard Foundation Announces Portland semifinalists, http://www.oregonlive.com/dining/index.ssf/2015/02/james_beard_foundation_announc_3.html
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Oregon, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_or.htm
- Eatocracy, 2013 James Beard Awards: Chefs and restaurants winners are…, http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2013/05/06/2013-james-beard-awards-chefs-and-restaurants-winners-are/
- Forbes, Travel Guide Award Winners, http://blog.forbestravelguide.com/the-2014-forbes-travel-guide-star-award-winners