Culinary Schools in Lexington
From farm-focused food to hand-crafted ice creams and garden-fresh ingredients, much of the culinary scene in Lexington is focused on new trends like 'local' while still holding true to Bluegrass State favorites like fried chicken, the Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich (sliced turkey overlaid on toasty bread and Mornay sauce), and smoked chicken pot pies.
Though Lexington may not be a world-famous culinary hub, it has produced some culinary stars. Chef Brigitte Nguyen has been featured on "From the Kitchens of …" (airing on The Cooking Channel) and "The Kentucky Proud Kitchen," (airing on a local FOX affiliate). Of course, she decided to attend culinary school, and according to her blog, finished in 2008. After competing in The Food Network's "The Ultimate Recipe Showdown," the rest became history. Not every chef, like Brigitte, will get his or her own TV show, but individuals interested in the culinary field could benefit from an education at one of the Lexington culinary schools.
Famous Lexington restaurants
More than 196,000 individuals were employed in restaurants in Kentucky, as of 2014, according to the National Restaurant Association. Interest in culinary and related restaurant careers is anticipated to increase, with some 214,000 people expected to be employed in restaurants in the state by 2025. In all, there were some 7,457 locations at which to eat or dine in the Bluegrass State as of 2014. In Lexington, a few of the more interesting places to visit could include:
- A La Lucie: A tradition in Lexington for more than 25 years, A La Lucie prioritizes local ingredients as well as fresh meats and seafood. This French eatery offers outdoors eating, a fully-stocked bar, and a large wine selection. The menu offers starts like Foie gras and soups such as Oyster Stew and French Onion. Can you smell the aroma? More than a dozen entrée options fill the dinner menu, including Chicken A La Lucie.
- Oasis Mediterranean Restaurant: The emanating philosophy at this restaurant is that meals are meant to be shared, which is why they are planned around luscious tastes and great bites, according to the restaurant website. The Mezza, a traditional Lebanese tasting, can take a restaurant-goer right into the heart of dining at Oasis, but other dishes, like Beef Shawarma, lamp chops and vegetarian offerings can also help to quench the palette.
- Portofino: From an extensive wine list to a focus on quality ingredients, Porotfino, a fine-dining restaurant located in a renovated downtown building, is sure to please even the pickiest eater. In addition to emphasizing Italian and American cuisine, the restaurant also offers other accouterments, including private dining and regional art selections.
There are many other top-notch dining establishments to check out in Lexington, some of which include:
- Gumbo Ya Ya
- The Chop House
- Dudley's On Short
- Coba Cocina
- Table Three Ten
Lexington culinary salary and career info
To become a chef or restaurateur, the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests earning a culinary degree. Whether it's to learn about Southern cooking or even modern and international cuisine, Lexington culinary schools can provide students with hands-on skills and education. As a result of culinary school training, students might be able to seek employment in fields as varied baking and the pastry arts, hotel and restaurant management, or even catering.
For those who choose to stay in Kentucky after graduating, there are plenty of ways to show off those culinary skills, whether that's through the International Bar-B-Que Festival in Owensboro or the Great Inland Seafood Festival in Newport. Here's what to expect for culinary salary and employment opportunities in the Lexington-Fayette metro, according to BLS data:
Total Employment in Lexington (2014)
Average Salary in Lexington (2014)
Chefs and Head Cooks
Food Service Managers
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
Statewide, even more people are employed in the field, meaning there could be opportunities for employment anywhere in this bluegrass land, whether that's Lexington, Georgetown, Stanton or Danville.
Total Employment in Kentucky (2014)
Average Salary in Kentucky (2014)
% Job Growth in Kentucky (2012-2022)
Chefs and Head Cooks
Food Service Managers
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014, and Projections Central
Of course, attending one of the Lexington culinary schools does not mean the promise of a job, only the opportunity to build foundational culinary knowledge and to acquire related skills. To find out more about the training and culinary educational opportunities in Lexington, take a look at the listings below.
- A La Lucie. http://www.alalucie.com/
- Associate of Science in Culinary Arts. Sullivan University. http://sullivan.edu/national-center-for-hospitality-studies/associate-of-science-in-culinary-arts/
- Authentic Kentucky Culinary, Pinterest. https://www.pinterest.com/kentuckytourism/authentic-kentucky-culinary-foodie-stops/
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Lexington-Fayette, KY, Occupational Outlook Handbook, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_30460.htm
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Kentucky, Occupational Outlook Handbook, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ky.htm
- Counting the Beans and Counting the Books. http://www.brigittenguyen.com/bio/
- National Restaurant Association, Kentucky http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2015/KY_Restaurants2015
- Oasis Restaurant. http://www.oasisrestaurant.net/wst_page2.html
- Portofino. http://portofinolexington.com/
- Projections Central, Kentucky, projectionscentral.com