South Dakota Culinary Schools & Institutes

South Dakota might not be the first state that comes to mind when thinking about culinary highlights in the country, but there is plenty to be found here. The Mount Rushmore state offers exquisite, oftentimes grass-fed cattle and traditional American-style cooking that has been lost in the fusion obsession in other states. Back to the basics is good, especially if the ingredients are top-notch. In fact, the National Restaurant Association's What's Hot 2013 Chef's Survey reported that the house-cured meats and charcuterie are the most popular appetizer option for chefs in the U.S., while locally sourced meats and seafood lead the way for main dishes.

Culinary Arts

Students at culinary schools in South Dakota can gain experience in one of the state's 1,819 eating and drinking locations (according to data from the National Restaurant Association). Many of the best urban restaurants can be found in Rapid City, where hundreds of thousands of tourists flock annually to visit nearby Mount Rushmore. Anchored by the beautiful Black Hills, the area is also home to many traditional mom-and-pop restaurants. South Dakota is where you can still find a homemade boysenberry pie that tastes just as good as grandma's. And at the other end of the state, the largest city in South Dakota, Sioux Falls, offers a more eclectic mix of cuisines, including Mediterranean, Brazilian, Vietnamese, Japanese and much more. Don't forget about venison and other game, which is usually rare to find in the rest of the country.

Famous South Dakota food and restaurants

Perhaps the most well-known of all the prairie food is chislic (a word most likely derived from the Russian), which consists of deep-fried cubes of meat, usually of game, mutton or beef. These tasty cubes are usually served medium rare, flavored with garlic salt, and are eaten on toothpicks with saltines on the side. Chislic makes for a popular and delicious bar snack. Kuchen is another traditional dish -- a coffee cake, often filled with fruit, brought to South Dakota by German settlers and now is commonly known as the state's official dessert.

To get the full South Dakota food experience, students at South Dakota culinary schools should check out the following spots:

  • Dakotah Steakhouse: As one would expect of a high-end Rapid City steakhouse, this traditional place serves up juicy steaks cooked to order, but the menu has hidden gems you wouldn't find elsewhere, such as the buffalo skewers.
  • Bob's Cafe: This no-frills eatery's goal is to make great food that's affordable for all, and they've accomplished that and more, as the place is quite the Sioux Falls institution. Bob's is known for its broasted chicken (marinated and coated), so don't miss it.
  • Bros Brasserie Americano: Local customers flock to this creative Creole-American restaurant for its pork belly and craft beer on tap. It's small, eclectic, and decidedly South Dakotan, as evidenced by the creations of local artists that adorn the walls

South Dakota culinary arts schools & career outlook

According to data from the National Restaurant Association, 12 percent of jobs in South Dakota were in the restaurant sector in 2016, which amounted to 46,300 jobs. The industry shows no signs of slowing down, as it is projected to grow by 10.6 percent by 2026.

Students who are heading to culinary arts schools in South Dakota can choose to specialize in a certain area of the culinary industry. Have a look at the table below to get an idea of the outlook for various careers:

CareerTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
Butchers and Meat Cutters70029180
Chefs and Head Cooks8040480
Food Service Managers79050480
Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

In terms of earning for culinary arts professionals for the state's two largest cities, we have listed that data below:

LocationOccupationsTotal Employed (2014)Average Salary (2014)
Sioux Falls Food Service Managers 260 $50,650
Cooks, Restaurant 580 $22,860
Rapid City Food Service Managers 140 $51,540
Chefs and Head Cooks 320 $22,570

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015

Get ready to learn the culinary craft in the heart of the American Midwest, where you will probably never have to work with less-than-fresh meat. There are many options available for those wanting to pursue their culinary arts degree in South Dakota, and we've assembled a handy list below.


  • Bob's Carry Out & Delivery, Bob's on 12th, http://www.bobscarryout.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22&Itemid=44
  • A state-by-state guide to iconic US foods, Lonely Planet, May 2, 2013, http://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/travel-tips-and-articles/77725
  • Chislic (South Dakota Cubed Meat), Cooking Channel, Recipes, 50 State Foods, http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/chislic-south-dakota-cubed-meat.html
  • Dakotah Steakhouse, http://www.dakotahsteakhouse.com/
  • May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Rapid City, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_39660.htm
  • May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Sioux City, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_43580.htm
  • South Dakota Restaurant Industry at a Glance, National Restaurant Association, https://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2016/SD_Restaurants2016
  • These 15 Sioux Falls Restaurants Will Blow The Taste Buds Out Of Your Mouth, Movato, http://www.movoto.com/blog/opinions/sioux-falls-restaurants/
  • May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates South Dakota, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_sd.htm
  • Projections Central, Long Term Projections, South Dakota, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
  • What's Hot 2013 Chef Survey, National Restaurant Association, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/News-Research/WhatsHotFood2013.pdf

Browse Culinary Schools in South Dakota

This list also contains online schools that accept students from South Dakota .

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