Culinary Arts Schools in Rhode Island
Under a four-hour drive to New York, the epicenter of the East Coast culinary scene, the tiny state of Rhode Island has carved out a nice spot as a unique food destination. In fact, food is central to Rhode Island's culture and identity. From the johnnycake (cornmeal flatbread) to the Awful Awful Creamery to stuffies (quahogs stuffed with seasoned breadcrumbs), culinary students in Rhode Island will learn the wide range of local flavors that define the area.
As a small state, Rhode Island has a natural relationship with local farms. This relationship has spurred the state's position as a leader in the farm-to-table movement, which focuses on using locally sourced ingredients directly from area farms. In addition, the state has a robust and growing food truck scene, as well as numerous craft breweries fueling interest in craft beers. Locally, Providence serves as the state's food anchor with distinct culinary flavors taking shape from neighborhood to neighborhood. For example, Federal Hill is known for its Italian influences and Chef Mario Batali has called the area one of the ten best Little Italy's in the country. The East Side offers a blend of old Rhode Island with a new, modern vibe. Downtown Providence is a walkable, friendly area with an area of culinary choices ranging from Bravo Brasserie (French-inspired American bistro) to Jacky's Waterplace Restaurant (Asian and sushi).
Culinary scene in Rhode Island
The diversity of culinary options should be an attractive factor for prospective students considering culinary arts schools in Rhode Island. The driving force behind Rhode Island's position as a food destination is its collection of award-winning chefs. Perhaps the most well-known is Chef Champe Speidel of Permission. For the past four years, Speidel has been nominated for Best Chef Northeast by the James Beard Foundation -- one of the highest honors in the culinary world. In 2015, two chefs from Rhode Island were nominated for Food & Wine's "The People's Best New Chef" award. These included: Nemo Bolin from the Cook & Brown Public House in Providence and Matthew MacCartney from Jamestown Fish.
With such talented chefs in the kitchen, it shouldn't come as a surprise that publications such as Forbes Travel Guide, Zagat, and Wine Spectator regularly rank and write about Rhode Island's restaurants. In 2014, three restaurants received four-stars from Forbes Travel Guide, the guide's highest award. The restaurants included the following.
- Muse: Located in Newport, Muse is situated within the Vanderbilt Grace Hotel and is helmed by Chef Jonathan Cartwright. A menu sourced with local ingredients, Muse offers diners an opportunity to select from a range of acclaimed seafood recipes, such as butter-poached smoked lobster.
- Seasons: The fine-dining restaurant in Ocean House, a beachfront hotel in Watch Hill, Seasons ascribes to the farm-to-table concept of dining. The menu relies on local ingredients and changes on a seasonal basis allowing diners to sample everything from parsnip soup to roast quail and foie gras, North Atlantic sea bass to Cavendish Farm ringneck pheasant.
- Spiced Pear: Opened in 2003, the Spiced Pear is located inside The Chanier -- a boutique hotel in Newport. With an open kitchen concept, diners can watch the New England-inspired menu come to life. Diners can experience the New England Tasting Menu, a collection of six or nine courses, all while enjoying scenic coastal views.
Wine Spectator has awarded 15 restaurants in Rhode Island its Award of Excellence and six restaurants have received Best of Award of Excellence, its second-highest honor. Those restaurants included the following:
- 22 Bowen's Wine Bar and Grille (Newport)
- Castle Hill Inn (Newport)
- Jamestown Fish (Jamestown)
- Seasons (Watch Hill)
- The Atlantic Inn (Block Island)
- The Mooring Seafood Kitchen and Bar (Newport)
Culinary schools & career outlook in Rhode Island
For prospective students, culinary arts schools in Rhode Island can provide the training, knowledge and technical skills required to join chefs such as Champe Speidel in the kitchen. Educational programs generally fall into one of four categories in culinary school:
Each educational avenue can lead to a wide variety of careers, such as sous chef, baker, pastry chef, restaurant manager, hospitality director, and head chef. Career growth is expected to be steady in both the culinary and restaurant industries. According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurants in the state are projected to see 6.3 percent employment growth by 2026, for a total of 3,600 new jobs. The table below outlines examples of individual culinary career path projections in Rhode Island.
|Career||Total Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||610||53480|
|Food Service Managers||400||69000|
At the local level, the best opportunities should be in the Providence region, notes the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For chefs and food service managers, their earnings outpace the national average at $51,030 and $60,540, respectively in 2014. Bakers in the Providence area earned $24,880 in an average salary in 2014. As the state continues to build upon its strong culinary heritage and attracts new investment and chefs from the New York region, new career opportunities should emerge for culinary school students to take their place in the industry.
- Providence Journal, Three RI chefs nominated for James Beard awards, http://www.providencejournal.com/article/20140219/ENTERTAINMENT/302199876
- Forbes Travel Guide, The 2014 Forbes Travel Guide Star Award Winners, http://blog.forbestravelguide.com/the-2014-forbes-travel-guide-star-award-winners
- Wine Spectator, Rhode Island, http://www.winespectator.com/restaurants/search/recall/yes/awardlevel/BAE
- Zagat, Providence, https://www.zagat.com/providence
- Food and Wine, Best Chefs New England, 2014, http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/2014/03/24/the-peoples-best-new-chef-new-england-chefs
- National Restaurant Association, Rhode Island, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2016/RI_Restaurants2016
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Rhode Island, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ri.htm
- ProjectionsCentral, Rhode Island, ProjectionsCentral.com
- GoProvidence.com, Restaurants, http://www.goprovidence.com/restaurants