Culinary Arts Schools in South Carolina
South Carolina is famous for its lowcountry cuisine, a distinct form of Southern cooking that blends influences from different cultures and regions into singular food experiences such as cooter soup, catfish stew, gumbo and much more. Students who attend culinary arts schools in South Carolina will have a wide range of career opportunities. The state's culinary palate has been infused with an influx of modern tastes by new restaurateurs and chefs, expanding the reach of culinary options throughout South Carolina and creating new pockets of flavors in areas such as Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Columbia.
South Carolina -- Charleston in particular -- has become a destination for foodies, home to James Beard-winning restaurants and chefs. Three Charleston restaurants have the 2008, 2009 and 2010 winners of the Best Chef of the Southeast from the James Beard Foundation at Fig (Mike Lata, 2008), Hominy Grill (Robert Stehling, 2009), and Husk (Sean Brock, 2010).
The culinary art industry in South Carolina is projected to be a $9.1 billion dollar industry in 2016, according to the National Restaurant Association. More than 8,880 dining and restaurants in the state employ 218,500 people, which bodes well for those interested in attending culinary schools in South Carolina.
Famous South Carolina restaurants
South Carolina continues to attract new investments, culinary talent, and restaurants to the state, with several garnering acclaim from publications including Forbes and Wine and Spectator. For example, in 2014, four restaurants in South Carolina earned 4- star recognition from Forbes Travel Guide:
- Charleston Grill - For the past five years, Executive Chef Michelle Weaver has created a unique culinary, critically acclaimed experience for diners.
- Circa 1886 - Executive Chef Marc Collins has put his stamp on the AAA Four Diamond establishment, one that offers a modern, yet comfortable dining experience for patrons.
- Peninsula Grill - Serving as Executive Chef since 2011, Graham Dailey commands critical attention at the Peninsula Grill, a AAA Four Diamond restaurant.
- The Ocean Room - As the premier dining destination at Kiaweh Island Golf Resort, The Ocean Room -- led by Chef Jason Rheinwald -- has been recognized as a Forbes 4-Star restaurant and has received AAA Four Diamond rating.
Zagat has also recognized the growing popularity and quality of the restaurant scene in South Carolina, reviewing and listing a range of favorite establishments in Charleston. The fare offered in these establishments represents the diversity of Charleston itself and the ever expanding palate of those living in the area. Some of the best rated restaurants in Charleston include the following:
- Peninsula Grill (Southern American)
- Bertha's Kitchen (Soul Food)
- Two Borough's Larder (American)
- Trattoria Lucca (Italian)
- Halls Chophouse (Steakhouse)
South Carolina Culinary Schools, Employment & Career Outlook
The path to a culinary career traditionally starts with attending a culinary school. In South Carolina, prospective students have a range of educational and employment opportunities to pursue. A culinary education is typically divided into four professional specializations: Culinary Arts, Culinary Management, Hospitality Management, and Baking & Pastry Arts.
Earning a degree from culinary arts schools in South Carolina can pave the way to becoming a sous chef, chef, restaurant manager, hospitality director, restaurateur, pastry chef, baker, and more. Holding an accredited, respected degree from a culinary school can open the door for entry-level positions within the growing culinary industry in South Carolina. Over the course of 2014, the National Restaurant Association projected greater than 12% job growth in the field, totaling more than 25,000 new jobs in the state. Those types of projections indicate an increasing demand for trained culinary professionals in South Carolina.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, individual careers such as bakers, chefs, and food service managers are projected to see employment growth between 1.5 and 10.5 percent between 2012 and 2022 in the state. Below is a table of the career outlook, including employment and salaries for bakers, chefs, and food service managers in South Carolina.
|Career||Total Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||2480||36330|
|Food Service Managers||2870||44410|
For the prospective chef, the metropolitan areas that employed the most chefs and head cooks in 2013, include Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville (610), Columbia (400) and Myrtle Beach-North Myrtle Beach-Conway (390). Overall, the metro areas that employed the most bakers, chefs, and restaurant managers in 2013 -- according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- included the following:
- Charleston-North-Charleston-Summerville: 1,370
- Columbia: 940
- Myrtle Beach-North Myrtle Beach-Conway: 800
- Greenville-Mauldin-Easley: 700
- Spartanburg: 240
For earning potential, the metro areas with the highest average salaries for culinary positions (chefs, bakers, restaurant managers) in 2013 included Sumter ($45,850), Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville ($37,917) and Greenville-Mauldin-Easley ($37,370).
As the state continues to draw attention to its burgeoning culinary industry, attracts new investments and has restaurateurs opening new locations, the state should continue to be a desirable place for prospective students considering a culinary education and career. Be sure to peruse the list of culinary schools in South Carolina and neighboring areas below:
- Forbes, Restaurant Rankings, http://www.forbestravelguide.com/restaurant
- National Restaurant Association, South Carolina, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2016/SC_Restaurants2016
- Projections Central, South Carolina, projectionscentral.com
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, South Carolina, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_sc.htm
- Discover South Carolina, James Beard Winners, http://discoversouthcarolina.com/articles/3-james-beard-award-winning-charleston-restaurants
- Forbes, Travel Guide Award Winners, http://blog.forbestravelguide.com/the-2014-forbes-travel-guide-star-award-winners