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Culinary Arts Schools in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is a big player in the culinary world, known for such favorites as the Philadelphia cheesesteak, Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, the Pennsylvania Pepper Pot, the Philadelphia style porter beer, and more. A combination of regional flavor profiles, the culinary tastes of the state blend traditional styles of the Pennsylvania Dutch, such as Chow-Chow to pretzels from Sturgis Pretzel House.

Culinary Arts

Aspiring chefs who are interested in culinary schools in Pennsylvania may be most interested in Philadelphia. Known as a culinary epicenter in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia has been attracting new chefs and restaurateurs during the past decade. Zagat has recognized the changes taking place and named some of the hottest restaurants in the area in 2014. Some of these restaurants included Brigantessa, Abe Fisher, Juniper Commons, Gran Café L'Aquila, Palladino's and more.

In Pennsylvania, the culinary arts industry is an $21 billion dollar per year business sector, one that employs more than 561,300 people across the state, according to the National Restaurant Association's 2016 data. With nearly 25,434 drinking and eating establishments across the state, the employment opportunities are both substantial and diverse for prospective graduates of culinary schools in Pennsylvania.

Famous Pennsylvania restaurants and chefs

Home to major cities such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has both home-grown culinary talent and has attracted new investments and restaurateurs from New York and beyond. For example, these three Pennsylvania establishments are helmed by James Beard Foundation award winners:

  • Susanna Foo: Located in Radnor, Susanna Foo's is a namesake of Chef Susanna Foo, who has created one of the country's leading Asian fusion restaurants. A two-time James Beard award winner, Foo received training at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
  • Brûlée Catering: Founded by Chef Jean-Marie Lacroix, Brûlée Catering is famous for its exquisite catering of events in both Philadelphia and New Jersey. Winner of the 2001 "Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic" award from the James Beard Foundation, Lacroix received his initial training in France at the Thonon-les-Bains Culinary Academy.
  • Frog Commissary Catering: James Beard winner Steve Poses founded Frog Commissary Catering in Philadelphia in 1976. A historical institution in the city, Frog Commissary Catering is known for its ability to deliver unique menus for a global array of palates and tastes.

In 2014, Pittsburgh Magazine recognized the 13 best chefs in the city, chefs who are influencing the restaurant and culinary scene through their innovative efforts. Some of those best chefs in Pittsburgh included:

  • Chris Bonfili, Avenue B; B Gourmet
  • Richard DeShantz, Meat & Potatoes; Butcher and the Rye
  • Gloria Fortunato, Wild Rosemary
  • Keith Fuller, Root 174
  • Trevett Hooper, Legume Bistro

Pennsylvania culinary schools & career outlook

Culinary careers traditionally begin with attending and graduating from a culinary arts school. In Pennsylvania, there is a variety of educational avenues to pursue including Culinary Arts, Culinary Management, Hospitality Management and Baking & Pastry Arts. Completing a degree program from a Pennsylvania culinary school can set the foundation for employment both in and out of the kitchen, as a sous chef, chef de cuisine, pastry chef, baker, hospitality director and even, restaurant owner.

Looking ahead to 2026, the National Restaurant Association projects 7.9 percent growth in the field, representing 44,200 additional jobs across the state. According to employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, individual careers such as chefs, bakers, and food service managers are projected to see mild job growth in Pennsylvania between 2012 and 2022. Below is a table of the career outlook, including employment and salaries for bakers, chefs, and food service managers in Pennsylvania.

CareerTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
Chefs and Head Cooks413047590
Bakers917026560
Food Service Managers586056200
Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

At the local level in Pennsylvania, the best-paying metropolitan areas for restaurant managers included York-Hanover ($73,830), Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton ($70,090), Philadelphia ($67,530), Reading ($65,760), and Pittsburgh ($62,790). For chefs and head cooks, the best paying opportunities included the following:

  • Philadelphia ($52,970)
  • Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton ($51,450)
  • Johnstown ($46,300)
  • York-Hanover ($46,020)
  • Erie ($42,340)

For the prospective bakers, the top-paying metro regions included Philadelphia, State College, Altoona, and Scranton-Wilkes-Barre. Overall, the areas with that employed the greatest number of chefs, bakers, and restaurant managers in Pennsylvania included the following:

  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton
  • Lancaster
  • Scranton-Wilkes-Barre

As Pennsylvania's culinary tradition meets new restaurateurs, menus and investments, the state should continue to be a great place for students to complete their culinary education and embark upon a career in the ever expanding, ever growing culinary arts industry.

Though a degree is not required to enter the industry, culinary arts schools in Pennsylvania can give students a solid background. Many people will likely find that professional training helps to reassure employers that a job candidate is capable of carrying through on challenging tasks. In effect, Pennsylvania culinary schools offer degrees and certifications that help provide the technical knowledge and expertise needed to succeed in a professional setting. Be sure to explore the lists of culinary colleges in Pennsylvania below for more information.

Sources

  • Forbes, Restaurant Rankings, http://www.forbestravelguide.com/restaurant
  • National Restaurant Association, Pennsylvania, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2016/PA_Restaurants2016
  • Zagat, 10 Hottest Restaurants in Philadelphia, http://www.zagat.com/b/philadelphia/10-hottest-new-restaurants-in-philadelphia#5
  • Pittsburgh Magazine, Best in Class: Our 2014 Chefs of the Year, http://www.pittsburghmagazine.com/Pittsburgh-Magazine/June-2014/Best-in-Class-Our-2014-Chefs-of-the-Year/
  • Projections Central, Pennsylvania, projectionscentral.com
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pennsylvania, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_pa.htm
  • Forbes, Travel Guide Award Winners, http://blog.forbestravelguide.com/the-2014-forbes-travel-guide-star-award-winners

Browse Culinary Schools in Pennsylvania

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

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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            1 Program(s) Found
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
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            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

            3 Program(s) Found
            • First opened its doors in 1980 as the Academy of Medical Art and Business.
            • Students can choose from a variety of diploma or degree programs, as well as continuing education courses.
            • Provides programs in massage therapy, dental assisting, criminal justice, cake decorating, and more.
            • 7.5 acre campus is located in the foothills of Blue Mountain, north of Harrisburg, PA.
            • Involved with many community service organizations, including the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank (CPBB), March of Dimes, and Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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            2 Program(s) Found
            • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
            • A private post-secondary institution of higher education serving south-central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland since 1967.
            • Offers associate degrees in specialized business and specialized technology, as well as programs leading to professional certifications and diplomas.
            • Gives each student their own career services specialist who helps keep them focused on their goals.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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            • Dedicated to providing a hands-on, personal approach to education since 1946.
            • Provides associate degrees and short-term certificate programs in business, design, healthcare, and more.
            • Offers alumni free “brush up” classes, allowing graduates to exercise certain skills or software that they may not have used in a while.
            • Gives students many options for campus activities, including intramural sports, drama club, and campus parties.
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            1 Program(s) Found
            • A private, accredited distance learning college based in Norcross, Georgia founded in 1987.
            • Ensures that service members, their spouses and veterans can maximize their military education benefits.
            • Gives students the option to customize monthly payments to fit their budgets and lifestyle.
            • Offers all-inclusive tuition: textbooks, learning materials, and academic support are covered in the cost.
            • Allows alumni to enroll in any future program at a reduced rate.
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            • Online Courses

            Other Pennsylvania Culinary Schools

            School Name City or Town Programs Offered
            Northampton County Area Community College Bethlehem Culinary Arts/Chef Training
            East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania East Stroudsburg Hotel Restaurant & Tourism Management
            Community College of Beaver County Monaca Culinary Arts
            Bucks County Community College Newtown Chef Apprenticeship
            Temple University Philadelphia Hospitality Services Management
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