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Culinary Arts Schools in Tennessee

When it comes to food in Tennessee, barbecue is king. There is plenty of discussion regarding whether Memphis-style barbecue is the best in the nation, or if Nashville's is better. But regardless of where your loyalties lie, barbecue not the only thing cooking in the state. Graduates of culinary arts schools in Tennessee will find plenty of opportunities to whip up everything from down-home comfort classics to upscale contemporary fare.

The National Restaurant Association reports Tennessee is home to more than 10,100 eating and drinking establishments. Those include a mix of burger joints, barbecue pits, coffee shops and fine dining options. All told, the industry employs 10 percent of the state's workforce, a total of 291,400 workers in 2015. Even better, the industry is expected to see continued growth in the coming years, increasing the number of its employees by 10.9 percent through 2025. This all bodes well for students considering culinary schools in Tennessee.

Famous restaurants in Tennessee

Tennessee has a Southern soul. As the birthplace of the blues and home of the Grand Ole Opry, music is its heart, but Tennessee has good food flowing through its veins. From destination restaurants to small mom-and-pop joints, Tennessee knows how to do food, and do it well. Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga can all boast of an eclectic mix of restaurants which can satisfy almost any craving.

Here are some examples of the type of dining you'll find in Tennessee:

  • Huey's (statewide): For burgers, Huey's is the place to go. Listen to live jazz and blues while enjoying a Huey Burger, voted the city's top burger by the readers of Memphis Magazine.
  • Loveless Cafe (Nashville): Just outside of Nashville, the Loveless Cafe has been serving up old fashioned Southern comfort food for more than 60 years. The cafe is a family-friendly restaurant with house specialties that include crispy fried chicken, country ham, pulled pork and to-die-for biscuits.
  • Pete's Coffee Shop & Restaurant (Knoxville): Those looking for the best breakfast in Knoxville should drive directly to Pete's Coffee Shop. It has taken top honors from Metro Pulse as the area's best breakfast for seven years running. Open through lunchtime, this unassuming shop was also the 2013 choice for favorite local diner according to readers of the Knoxville News Sentinel.
  • The Barn at Blackberry Farm (Walland): Diners who want to take their meal experience up a notch should head to the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. There, they will find The Barn, the dining venue at the luxury Blackberry Farm resort. Guests are treated to gourmet meals created with seasonal ingredients and supported by an impeccable wine program.

Culinary schools & career outlook in Tennessee

While there is little doubt the state's food scene is amazing, students attending culinary arts schools in Tennessee may be wondering what type of employment opportunities they can expect after graduation. Just as there are a variety of food establishments in Tennessee, there are also a variety of job options. While some culinary arts professionals work as head chefs or bakers, others move into management positions. Still others may strike out on their own as private cooks or caterers.

To give students an idea of the current job market, the table below shows wages for a few common culinary arts positions as well as their expected job growth in the coming years.

OccupationTotal Employment in Tennessee (2013)Average Salary in Tennessee (2013)% Job Growth in Tennessee (2012-2022)
Chefs and Head Cooks 2,100 $37,860 9%
Bakers 2,150 $22,390 7.6%
Food Service Managers 8,300 $41,930 6.5%

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

The following chart provides a closer look at how employment and salaries break down in two of the largest metropolitan areas of the state: Nashville and Memphis.

LocationOccupationsTotal Employed (2013)Average Salary (2013)
Memphis Food Service Managers 1,780 $41,970
Chefs and Head Cooks 410 $36,190
Bakers 370 $22,610
Nashville Food Service Managers 2,250 $49,350
Chefs and Head Cooks Number Not Available $45,220
Bakers 500 $26,360

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013

Regardless of where they want to work or what type of food fuels their passion, the first step toward a career in the culinary arts is to gain the skills needed by today's jobs. While there may be many places to hone those skills, culinary arts schools in Tennessee are a natural choice. You can find out more by searching the schools listed below and requesting additional information today.

Additional Information on Culinary Colleges in Tennessee from Chef2chef.net
Hotel Management Schools in Tennessee


  • National Restaurant Association, Tennessee, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/tennessee
  • Projections Central, Tennessee, projectionscentral.com
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Tennessee, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_tn.htm
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Memphis, TN-MS-AR Metropolitan Area, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_32820.htm
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN Metropolitan Area http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_34980.htm
  • Huey's Midtown, MemphisRestuarants.com, http://www.memphisrestaurants.com/dining-guide/huey-burger/
  • Blackberry Farm, http://www.blackberryfarm.com/about/accolades
  • Loveless Café, http://www.lovelesscafe.com/
  • Pete's Coffee Shop and Restaurant, http://www.petescoffeeshop.com/about
  • Nashville Named America's Best City for Barbeque, The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com/story/life/food/2014/05/21/nashville-named-americas-best-city-barbecue/9373585/

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Find Culinary Schools in Tennessee by City

Knoxville | Memphis | Nashville

Other Tennessee Culinary Schools

School Name City or Town Programs Offered
Pellissippi State Technical Community College Knoxville Hospitality Services Management
University of Tennessee - Knoxville Knoxville Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management
Southwest Tennessee Community College Memphis Culinary Arts
Rel Maples Institute of Culinary Arts At Walters State Community College Morristown Culinary Arts/Chef Training
Nashville State Technical Institute Nashville Culinary Arts Technical Certificate
Tennessee State University Nashville Hospitality Services Management