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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.

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 295,500 workers in 2016, a number representing 10 percent of the state's workforce. In addition, the association predicts the industry will grow 12.6 percent by 2026 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.

RegionCareerTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
WashingtonFood Service Managers2700$52940
WashingtonBakers5660$27650
WashingtonChefs and Head Cooks2100$52700
Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

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

RegionCareerTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
Bellingham, WAFood Service Managers60$53480
Bellingham, WAChefs and Head Cooks60$52730
Bellingham, WABakers130$29450
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WAFood Service Managers70$47230
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WABakers70$27110
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WAChefs and Head Cooks50$44220
Olympia-Tumwater, WAFood Service Managers100$57880
Olympia-Tumwater, WAChefs and Head Cooks110$34420
Olympia-Tumwater, WABakers240$25810
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan DivisionChefs and Head Cooks1240$56130
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan DivisionBakers3180$27990
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan DivisionFood Service Managers1150$57250
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WABakers440$26220
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WAFood Service Managers230$56610
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WAChefs and Head Cooks120$41240
Tacoma-Lakewood, WA Metropolitan DivisionFood Service Managers410$48950
Tacoma-Lakewood, WA Metropolitan DivisionBakers320$32330
Tacoma-Lakewood, WA Metropolitan DivisionChefs and Head Cooks160$46250
Yakima, WAChefs and Head Cooks50$47010
Yakima, WABakers130$27010
Yakima, WAFood Service Managers60$46200
Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

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.

Sources

  • National Restaurant Association, Washington, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/WA_Restaurants2016
  • 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/

Browse Culinary Schools in Washington

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

Other Washington Culinary Schools

School Name City or Town Programs Offered
Inland Northwest Culinary Academy at Spokane Community College Spokane Culinary Arts