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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.

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 $18 billion dollar per year business sector, one that employs more than 530,000 people across the state, according to the National Restaurant Association. With nearly 25,000 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.

During the course of 2014, the National Restaurant Association projected 5 percent growth in the field, representing 27,000 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.

OccupationTotal Employment in Pennsylvania (2013)Average Salary in Pennsylvania (2013)% Job Growth in Pennsylvania (2012-22)
Bakers 9,320 $25,980 2.2%
Chefs and Head Cooks 4,900 $43,090 3.5%
Food Service Managers 5,330 $61,650 0.8%

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

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.

Additional Information on Culinary Schools in Pennsylvania (PA) on Chef2chef.net
Pastry Chef Schools in Pennsylvania
Restaurant Management Schools in Pennsylvania
Hotel Management Schools in Pennsylvania
Baking and Pastry Arts Schools in Pennsylvania

Sources

  • Forbes, Restaurant Rankings, http://www.forbestravelguide.com/restaurant
  • National Restaurant Association, Pennsylvania, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2014/pennsylvania
  • 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

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

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Star Career Academy , Philadelphia
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Other Pennsylvania Culinary Schools

School Name City or Town Programs Offered
Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center Altoona Culinary Arts/Chef Training
Northampton County Area Community College Bethlehem Culinary Arts/Chef Training
Montgomery County Community College - Blue Bell Blue Bell Hotel and Restaurant Management
Widener University - Main Campus Chester Hospitality Services Management
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania Cheyney Hospitality, Tourism, & Leisure Management
East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania East Stroudsburg Hotel Restaurant & Tourism Management
Erie Business Center Erie Hospitality Services Management
Mercyhurst College Erie Hospitality Management
Seton Hill College Greensburg Hospitality & Tourism
Harrisburg Area Community College Harrisburg Baking and Pastry Arts
Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Main Campus Indiana Hospitality Management
Keystone College La Plume Culinary Arts
Lebanon County Area Vocational Technical School Lebanon Culinary Arts
Newport Business Institute Lower Burrell Hotel and Hospitality Management
Delaware County Community College Media Hospitality Services Management
Community College of Beaver County Monaca Culinary Arts
Robert Morris College - Moon Township Moon Township Associate Degree Culinary Arts
Luzerne County Community College Nanticoke Associate in Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts
Bucks County Community College Newtown Chef Apprenticeship
Community College of Philadelphia Philadelphia Culinary Arts
Drexel University Philadelphia BS in Culinary Arts
JNA Institute of Culinary Arts Philadelphia Culinary Arts/Restaurant Management
Restaurant School Philadelphia Culinary Arts
Temple University Philadelphia Hospitality Services Management
Bidwell Training Center Inc Pittsburgh Culinary Arts/Chef Training
Bradford School - Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Hospitality and Travel
Community College of Allegheny County Pittsburgh Culinary Arts
Montgomery County Community College - Pottstown Pottstown Culinary Arts AAS
Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Punxsutawney Punxsutawney Baking and Pastry Arts
Pennsylvania State University - Penn State Berks Reading Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management
Reading Area Community College Reading Culinary Arts & Related Services
Lehigh Carbon Community College Schnecksville Hotel / Resort Management A.A.S.
Marywood University Scranton Hospitality Management
Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus University Park Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management
Pennsylvania College of Technology Williamsport Baking & Pastry Arts
Lancaster County Career and Technology Center Willow Street Baking and Pastry Arts
Berks Technical Institute Wyomissing Hospitality Services Management
York Technical Institute York Baker/Pastry Chef
Yorktowne Business Institute York Baking & Pastry
Westmoreland County Community College Youngwood Baker/Pastry Chef