Wyoming Culinary Schools & Institutes
One of Wyoming's slogans is "Forever West," and indeed the state is a lovely mix of Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, which is about as American West as it gets. It feels like you are a million miles from the hustle and bustle of large population centers -- and you are. The state's capital and largest city Cheyenne is home to a mere 62,000 residents, but what Wyoming offers in abundance is outdoor spaces, wildlife, peace and quiet, hiking, skiing, fly fishing, and plenty of adventures that require little to no equipment at all, including stargazing.
People from all over the world flock to Wyoming's two standout national parks: Yellowstone and Grand Teton. The Jackson Hole valley is also popular year-round, as it offers top-notch skiing. Students considering attending one of the culinary schools in Wyoming are in for a treat in terms of working with grass-feed cattle and other meats, including game. The Wyoming culinary tradition isn't fancy, but it dates back to Native Americans and early settlers. The convergence of different cultures and the local availability of foods has created a uniquely Western cuisine that students might enjoy.
Famous Wyoming food and restaurants
Wyoming has a ranching food culture that is reminiscent of the Wild West. The state's Native Americans subsided mainly on beans, which remain an important staple in the Wyoming diet. The Shoshone first inhabited the area known today as world-famous Yellowstone National Park, and they ate sheep kabobs (small pieces of sheep served on skewers) both hot and cold. Jerky from a variety of game, including buffalo, elk, moose, deer or beef is also a traditional Wyoming snack. Also known as pemmican, jerky can be store-bought or home-made.
Oftentimes, fantastic restaurants are found in areas frequented by tourists, and the same holds true for Wyoming. However, there are plenty of lovely eateries in rural and non-touristy areas, including small towns that may only have one or two restaurants. Its relative remoteness is part of what makes Wyoming so special, but students need not to worry: there are plenty of dining options here, from fusion cuisines to fresh sushi.
- The Handle Bar (Teton Village): The state's first restaurant run by a celebrity chef, this popular eatery is located at the exclusive Four Seasons hotel just outside Jackson. Try the Handleburger at this casual and comfortable eatery that boasts a spectacular mountain view from its outside deck.
- Nora's Fish Creek Inn (Wilson): Named after its owner, who started it in 1986, this restaurant, located in a log cabin, won a James Beard award in 2012 and was featured on The Food Channel's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2014. However, this comfortable eatery is anything but pretentious, and it serves some of the best breakfast in the Jackson area. Don't miss the trout and eggs.
- Luxury Diner (Cheyenne): Located inside an old train car, this popular restaurant features solid home cooking, including all-day breakfast. This is one of the old-school diners that many only know from movies anymore.
Wyoming culinary arts schools & career outlook
According to the National Restaurant Association, eateries are quite a driving force in Wyoming's economy. In fact, they contribute $1.0 billion to the state economy (in 2015) and the industry employs 29,700 Wyomingites. The growth forecast is also quite sunny, as the NRA predicts 9.1% employment growth industry-wide by 2026. We have assembled some of this data in the table below:
|Career||Total Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||280||46750|
|Butchers and Meat Cutters||240||31040|
|Food Service Managers||460||50970|
Below is a brief overview of the amount of positions and their average salaries available in Cheyenne and Casper, as reported by the BLS:
|Location||Occupations||Total Employed (2014)||Average Salary (2014)|
|Butchers and meat cutters||30||$33,300|
|Food service managers||30||$48,630|
|Butchers and meat cutters||50||$25,110|
|Food service managers||60||$51,500|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
Aspiring chefs and restaurateurs may be able to find better job opportunities by attending one of the culinary arts schools in Wyoming. Students should carefully review all their training options before making a selection, as there are a number of different specializations within the overall culinary field. Be sure to pick a school that caters to your needs. Check out the listings below to get started.
- May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Wyoming: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wy.htm
- May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Cheyenne, Wyoming: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_16940.htm
- May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, , Casper, Wyoming: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_16220.htm
- Nora's Fish Creek Inn: http://www.norasfishcreekinn.com/Noras/Home.html
- Restaurants on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Wyoming, http://www.tvfoodmaps.com/s2/Diners-Drive-Ins-Dives/WY
- State foods, Wyoming: http://www.foodtimeline.org/statefoods.html#wyoming
- The Handle Bar: http://www.michaelmina.net/restaurants/jackson-hole/handle-bar/contact
- The Luxury Diner: https://plus.google.com/118003206638291131700/about?gl=at&hl=en
- Wyoming restaurant industry at a glance: https://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2016/WY_Restaurants
- Wyoming stargazing: http://www.wyomingstargazing.org/stargazing-events/