Culinary Arts Schools in Virginia

As its tourism slogan says, Virginia is for lovers. And that's especially true for food lovers. Bordered by Maryland to the north and North Carolina to the south, this South Atlantic state can be broken up into five areas, each boasting its own distinct culinary scene.

Culinary Arts

Along the eastern seaboard, fish and seafood reign supreme. Oysters, crab and flounder are all specialties here although land lovers will find ham and peanuts are famous in coastal Virginia as well. To the north is wine country with southern and central Virginia being home to classic southern fare such as fried chicken and cornbread. In the Shenandoah Valley, apples are a main attraction. Meanwhile, in Appalachia, food traditions lean heavily to hearty meals that often feature wild game.

The state's rich food heritage is one reason why culinary arts schools in Virginia may be a top choice for aspiring chefs. In addition, there may be plenty of jobs available for graduates. According to the National Restaurant Association, the more than 14,859 eating and drinking establishments in the state employ 11 percent of the Virginia workforce, as of 2016. What's more, the industry is expected to see 12.2 percent job growth in Virginia through 2026.

Famous restaurants in Virginia

As a student of culinary arts schools in Virginia, you may be wondering where the best places are to eat. Here are a few notable restaurants you may want to try.

  • The Inn at Little Washington (Washington): Named one of the 101 best restaurants in the nation by The Daily Meal, The Inn at Little Washington has also been recognized by AAA, Relais & Chateaux and Forbes Travel Guide and offers diners an exquisite experience and an award-winning wine cellar.
  • The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm (Lovettsville): Another high end dining experience can be found at The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm. Serving up modern American-style food, the restaurant features locally-sourced seasonal ingredients. The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm was at the top of Northern Virginia Magazine's list of top eateries for 2014.
  • Exmore Diner (Exmore): For a less expensive and equally delicious meal, head to the Exmore Diner. It's been serving up home-style surf and turf since 1954. The Exmore Diner claims to have old fashioned food at old fashioned prices, which may be why it made the cut as one of the "30 places to eat in Virginia before you die," as determined by the authors of the Food Lovers' Guide to Virginia.
  • The River and Rail (Roanoke): For those on the western side of the state, The River and Rail is one notable restaurant. Voted the top establishment in 2013 by readers of The Roanoker, this bistro offers up a menu that changes weekly to accommodate seasonal ingredients sourced locally.

Virginia Culinary schools & career outlook

Thinking about attending culinary school? There are many opportunities for graduates of culinary arts schools in Virginia. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows solid job growth and salaries for culinary arts careers in the state. The following chart illustrates government data for employment, salary and job growth for some of the more popular occupations pursued by graduates of culinary schools in Virginia.

CareerTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
Chefs and Head Cooks319044790
Food Service Managers455066140
Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

While those numbers are for the entire state, there may be regional differences. For example, here's a closer look at the employment and salaries for those employed in the Richmond and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metropolitan areas.

LocationOccupationsTotal Employed (2013)Average Salary (2013)
Richmond Food Service Managers 530 $57,840
Chefs and Head Cooks 520 $40,440
Bakers 390 $28,050
Virginia Beach Food Service Managers 720 $68,970
Chefs and Head Cooks 420 $39,210
Bakers 420 $23,180

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013

Other areas where graduates of culinary arts schools in Virginia may find jobs include Roanoke to the west, Arlington to the north and Charlottesville in the center of the state.

However, before students can apply for some of these jobs, these will need the right skills and knowledge. Culinary schools in Virginia offer programs that may cover everything from baking to kitchen management to front end service. You can learn more by searching for schools below and requesting additional information today.


  • National Restaurant Association, Virginia, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2016/VA_Restaurants2016
  • Projections Central, Virginia, projectionscentral.com
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Virginia, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_va.htm
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Richmond, VA Metropolitan Area, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_40060.htm
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metropolitan Area http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_47260.htm
  • The River and Rail, http://riverandrailrestaurant.com/
  • 2013 Dining Awards, The Roanoker, http://theroanoker.com/best/roanokes-best-restaurants
  • Exmore Diner, http://exmorediner.com/
  • The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, http://www.patowmackfarm.com/index.php
  • The Inn at Little Washington, https://www.theinnatlittlewashington.com/restaurant.shtml
  • Virginia Foods, Virginia Tourism Corporation, http://www.virginia.org/statesymbolssealsemblems/
  • The 30 places to eat in Virginia before you die, HamptonRoads.com, http://hamptonroads.com/2014/03/30-places-eat-virginia-you-die
  • 50 Best Restaurants, Northern Virginia Restaurant, http://www.northernvirginiamag.com/50-best-restaurants-2014/
  • 101 Best Restaurants in America, The Daily Meal, http://www.thedailymeal.com/101-best-restaurants-america

Browse Culinary Schools in Virginia

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

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            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months
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            Other Virginia Culinary Schools

            School Name City or Town Programs Offered
            Virginia State University Petersburg Hospitality Services Management