Culinary Arts Schools in Washington

Tucked into the northwestern corner of the country, the state of Washington has plenty to offer residents and visitors alike, including great food. For students, there is also an opportunity to be a part of the region's vibrant food scene by attending one of the culinary arts schools in Washington.

Culinary Arts

After graduation, students may go on to work in one of the state's more than 14,300 eating and drinking establishments. At these restaurants, they may serve up meals based on locally sourced ingredients, from wild salmon to crisp apples. Beyond local fare, there is an incredible diversity of dining options with ethnic cuisines, vegetarian dishes and innovative contemporary meals being served up across Washington.

Overall, the National Restaurant Association says Washington restaurants employed 279,700 workers in 2014, a number representing 9 percent of the state's workforce. In addition, the association predicts the industry will grow 9.8 percent by 2024 which could mean more jobs for those graduating from culinary schools in Washington.

Famous restaurants in Washington

Washington's best known foodie scene may be found in Seattle and its surrounding metro area. It's a city known for its mountain views, amazing coffee and a reputation for rain. In addition, major corporations such as Costco, Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing have their headquarters in the area surrounding Puget Sound. It makes for an eclectic atmosphere where big business and natural beauty coexist side-by-side, but most of all, it makes for fertile ground where restaurants of all types can thrive.

Of course, Seattle isn't the only place to find good food in Washington. Olympia, the state's capital, is south of Puget Sound while Spokane is due east. The southeast of the state is wine country, anchored by the city of Walla Walla. Here are few Washington restaurants worth trying.

  • Canlis (Seattle): Named as one of the nation's 101 best restaurants in 2014 according to The Daily Meal, Canlis has been a popular destination for fine dining since 1950. The restaurant embodies the best of Northwest cuisine, and it can boast of a long list of honors and recognitions from distinguished organizations such the James Beard Foundation, Zagat and the Washington Wine Commission.
  • Whitehouse-Crawford Restaurant (Walla Walla): Located in wine country, the Whitehouse-Crawford Restaurant serves up both full entrées and small plate meals using seasonal ingredients from local sources. Visitors who have trouble choosing can partake in a six-course tasting menu, and no visit would be complete without sampling some of the Whitehouse-Crawford homemade ice cream.
  • St. Clouds (Seattle): Those looking for a family-friendly atmosphere might want to try St. Clouds, located in the Madrona neighborhood of Seattle. It was tapped as the best restaurant for kids as part of Seattle Magazine's 2014 Best Restaurants Readers' Choice Awards. St. Clouds is a family-owned establishment that serves up comfort food alongside more contemporary fare.
  • Casper Fry (Spokane): Washington may be in the Northwest, but if you're craving something from down South, Casper Fry is the perfect destination. The Spokane restaurant offers a modern take on Southern classics and, like other Washington establishments, places a particular emphasis on sustainability and partnerships with local farmers.

Culinary career outlook & schools in Washington

As noted above, the National Restaurant Association anticipates Washington will see a healthy increase in food-related jobs during the coming years. That's good news for students attending culinary schools in Washington.

With the right training, graduates may go on to work as head chefs, bakers, food service managers or private cooks. Even better, many of these jobs are expected to see significant growth in the coming years. The following table shows the employment, wages and expected job growth for some common culinary arts careers in Washington.

OccupationTotal Employment in Washington (2013)Average Salary in Washington (2013)% Job Growth in Washington (2012-2022)
Chefs and Head Cooks 2,580 $47,190 18.4%
Bakers 5,160 $27,250 11.8%
Food Service Managers 31,240 $50,950 19.3%

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

However, employment and wages can vary significantly depending on the region. For example, here's how the numbers stack up in the Seattle and Spokane metropolitan areas.

LocationOccupationsTotal Employed (2013)Average Salary (2013)
Seattle Food Service Managers 1,620 $53,050
Chefs and Head Cooks 1,440 $49,800
Bakers 2,790 $27,280
Spokane Food Service Managers 90 $39,860
Chefs and Head Cooks 150 $47,380
Bakers 380 $27,540

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013

Given its size and employment opportunities, Seattle may seem the obvious choice for a culinary career. However, students shouldn't overlook other parts of the state where there may be less competition or greater opportunity to stand out. Outside of the state's food and wine scene, Washington culinary school grads may find other opportunities in specialty and commercial baking, resorts and hotel establishments.

Many enter the culinary and hospitality workforce without a degree. However, culinary schools in Washington State can give students a solid background and competitive edge. Formal culinary arts training is one way employers can be assured that a candidate has the skills needed to succeed on the job. Check out the list of culinary schools in Washington and neighboring areas for more information.


  • National Restaurant Association, Washington, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/washington
  • Projections Central, Washington, projectionscentral.com
  • 101 Best Restaurants for 2014, The Daily Meal, http://www.thedailymeal.com/101-best-restaurants-america-2014-slideshow?slide=52
  • Seattle Magazine, The Winners of Seattle Magazine's 2014 Best Restaurants Readers' Choice Awards, http://www.seattlemag.com/article/winners-seattle-magazines-2014-best-restaurants-readers-choice-awards
  • St. Clouds, http://www.stclouds.com/
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, California, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ca.htm
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan Area, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_42644.htm
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Spokane http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_44060.htm
  • Casper Fry, www.casperfry.com
  • Whitehouse-Crawford Restaurant, http://www.whitehousecrawford.com/food/
  • Canlis, http://canlis.com/about/awards-press/

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

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Other Washington Culinary Schools

School Name City or Town Programs Offered
Bellingham Technical College Bellingham Baker/Pastry Chef
Olympic College Bremerton Culinary Arts/Chef Training
Highline Community College Des Moines Hospitality & Tourism Management
Lake Washington Institute of Technology Kirkland Baking and Pastry (AAS)
Lake Washington Technical College Kirkland Culinary Arts
Clover Park Technical College Lakewood Culinary Arts
Edmonds Community College Lynnwood Culinary Arts
Skagit Valley College Mt Vernon Culinary Arts/Hospitality Management
South Puget Sound Community College Olympia Baking & Pastry Arts
Washington State University Pullman Hospitality Services Management
Renton Technical College Renton Baker/Pastry Chef
Seattle Community College - Central Campus Seattle Culinary Arts
Seattle Community College - South Campus Seattle Culinary Arts
Seattle Culinary Academy At Seattle Central Community College Seattle Certificate in Culinary Arts
Inland Northwest Culinary Academy at Spokane Community College Spokane Culinary Arts
Bates Technical College Tacoma Culinary Arts/Chef Training
Clark College Vancouver Baking/Bakery Management
International Air and Hospitality Academy Vancouver Culinary Arts
Walla Walla Community College Walla Walla Culinary Arts (AAS)