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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.

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 14,000 eating and drinking establishments in the state employ 9 percent of the Virginia workforce, as of 2015. What's more, the industry is expected to see 10.2 percent job growth in Virginia through 2023.

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.

OccupationTotal Employment in Virginia (2013)Average Salary in Virginia (2013)% Job Growth in Virginia (2012-2022)
Chefs and Head Cooks 2,570 $43,660 8.4%
Bakers 2,790 $26,870 11.3%
Food Service Managers 3,650 $67,570 5.3%

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

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.

Additional Information on Culinary Colleges in Virginia from Chef2chef.net
Baking and Pastry Arts Schools in Virginia
Hotel Management Schools in Virginia
Restaurant Management Schools in Virginia
Pastry Chef Schools in Virginia


  • National Restaurant Association, Virginia, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/virginia
  • 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

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

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5 Program(s) Found
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  • Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
  • Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
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  • Its career-focused online and hybrid programs are designed to address the skills gap in America.
  • Founded in 1890 in Scranton, Pennsylvania    
  • Offers over 150 self-paced, career-relevant programs that are connected to a supportive 24/7 online community of students and faculty.
  • Profiled in many publications such as The Boston Globe, Fox Business, and  Inside Higher Ed.
  • Founding member of the National Home Study Council in 1926 (now DETC).
  • Nearly 25,000 graduates each year.
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  • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
  • Ranked #3 in Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2014 by Military Times.
  • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
  • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
  • Has 27 campus locations across the southern United States, plus offers online degree programs.
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  • Students can earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
  • Campus locations in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
  • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
  • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
  • Student housing is available.
  • Part of ECPI University in Virginia, which is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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  • Online Courses
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Find Culinary Schools in Virginia by City

Norfolk | Richmond | Virginia Beach

Other Virginia Culinary Schools

School Name City or Town Programs Offered
Professional Bartending School Arlington Bartending
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ Blacksburg Hospitality and Tourism Management
Virginia Intermont College Bristol AS Culinary Arts
James Madison University Harrisonburg Hospitality Management
Tidewater Community College Norfolk Hospitality Management - Culinary Arts (AAS)
Virginia State University Petersburg Hospitality Services Management
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Richmond Culinary Arts (AAS)
National Business College Salem Tourism and Hospitality Associate's Degree
Culinary Institute of Virginia Beach Virginia Beach AAS degree in Culinary Arts