Culinary Schools in Orlando
Sunny Orlando, Florida, with its year-round perfect weather, pink flamingos and abundant theme parks, might be one of the happiest places on earth. And when it comes to food, Orlando delivers. Millions of tourists flock to Florida's coasts and cities every year. It's no surprise that Orlando caters to a wide variety of tastes. From tapas to molecular gastronomy, the city has more to offer in terms of foodie culture than initially meets the eye. Look beyond some of the strip malls and big-chain restaurants and discover wonderful Vietnamese cuisine, Irish pubs, Spanish tapas and food trucks -- it's all there.
Students who want to enter the food services industry may consider attending one of the culinary schools in Orlando. With 36,185 eating and drinking establishments in the state of Florida, according to 2011 data from the National Restaurant Association, graduates may also have a good chance of finding a position in the $33.3 billion food and beverage industry in Florida. In 2023, the National Restaurant Association predicts that almost one million people will be working in the industry, which represents a 14.6 percent increase over 2013. That's a pretty bright outlook.
Famous Orlando restaurants
According to the Orlando Visitors' Authority, Orlando has all the necessary awards to prove that it's a culinary destination, including three master sommeliers, eight AAA Four-Diamond Awards and even one AAA Five-Diamond Award for the very sophisticated Victoria & Albert's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Dining. Laurent Branlard, Executive Pastry Chef at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin is the only person who has ever won the World Pastry Team Championship twice. In terms of celebrity chefs, Orlando is no less prominent than other cities its size: Todd English, Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Roy Yamaguchi, and Cat Cora all operate restaurants here.
The Downtown Wine and Food Fest takes place outdoors in February each year (in gorgeous weather), and it features hundreds of vendors so attendees can sample fares from both new and established restaurants. Bring a blanket and come hungry!
Speaking of restaurants: have a look at three of Orlando's standout eateries:
- Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant: Irish culinary star Kevin Dundon owns this charming place, which has been assembled from all original components from Ireland, and it does feel like the real thing. Dundon might only man the stove a few times a year, but even in his absence, Orlando Magazine's 2014 restaurant of the year is wildly popular.
- Scratch: The tapas craze took the U.S. by storm years ago, and each city is proud to have at least one. Orlando has Scratch, which serves everything made from scratch, including sophisticated cocktails minus the pretentiousness that oftentimes come with them. Small plates are great to share, but the pork belly adobo seems to be the most acclaimed dish. Scratch is open late, and it's romantic and eclectic, and the menu changes daily.
- Tako Cheena: This friendly and affordable Thai, Cuban, Filipino and Mexican fusion restaurant is one of the best bargains in town. Open until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, this tiny and locally owned eatery serves up tasty arepas (the Venezuelan version of a taco), Thai peanut chicken tacos, Korean hot dogs and much more. The portions at this self-described, "cross between a food truck and a restaurant" are very generous, so you won't leave hungry.
While you're dining out, be sure to try the key lime pie, a Florida mainstay. Orlando has plenty of good ones. Many bakeries claim to have the best one, and culinary students in Orlando might just want to find out for themselves. Bakeries that serve this Florida specialty include P is for Pie Bake Shop, Sister Honey's and Charlie's Gourmet Pastries, among many others.
Orlando culinary schools & career outlook
Of course, it's important to know how much one could potentially earn with a degree in culinary arts. The following includes data for the entire state of Florida:
|Occupation||Total Employment in Florida (2014)||Average Salary in Florida (2014)||% Job Growth in Florida (2012-2022)|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||6,300||$55,080||5.5%|
|Food Service Managers||8,200||$64,020||5.5%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015
In terms of earning for culinary arts professionals specifically in Orlando (which includes Kissimmee and Sanford) we have listed that data below:
|Location||Occupations||Total Employed (2014)||Average Salary (2014)|
|Food Service Managers||1,390||$65,520|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015
Potential culinary arts students in Florida should have a look at all the opportunities that are available in the Sunshine State. We've listed some of them below to make the decision a bit easier. Don't forget your sunglasses and your mosquito spray.
- 2014 Dining Awards, Orlando Magazine, May 2014, http://www.orlandomagazine.com/Orlando-Magazine/May-2014/2014-Dining-Awards/
- Charlie's Gourmet Pastries, http://www.charliesgourmetpastries.com/menu/
- Crazy for Pies, http://crazyforpies.com/#home
- Downtown Food & Wine Fest, February 21 & 22, 2015, http://downtownfoodandwinefest.cbslocal.com/
- Florida Restaurant Industry at a Glance, National Restaurant Association, https://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/florida
- Great Dining Deals, No Dollar Menus: Best Value Venues in Orlando, USA Today, http://www.10best.com/destinations/florida/orlando/restaurants/best-value/
- May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Orlando-Ki, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 25, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_36740.htm
- May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Florida, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 25, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_fl.htm
- Orlando Restaurant Awards, Visit Orlando, http://www.visitorlando.com/related/orlandodiningawards/
- Tako Cheena, http://www.takocheenaorlando.com/
- Raglan Road, Irish Pub and Restaurant, http://www.raglanroad.com/
- Scratch Tapas & Craft, http://scratchtapas.com/
- Sister Honey's, http://www.sisterhoneys.com/
- Victoria & Albert's, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Dining, https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/grand-floridian-resort-and-spa/victoria-and-alberts/