Culinary Schools in Columbia, MO: Culinary Arts & Cooking Colleges

Columbia Cooking & Culinary Schools

Missouri is a melting pot of cultures, including French, German, Irish, and Italian. Although most of the food scene in the state revolves around St. Louis, there are also fantastic restaurants and an active foodie culture in Columbia. University of Missouri students come from all over the world, so it's no surprise that more and more restaurants have been catering to many exotic tastes.

Just like several states, Missouri does not have an official state food, but it does have several edible state symbols, including the channel catfish (the state fish), the Eastern black walnut (the state nut) and the Norton/Cynthiana grape (the state grape). Students thinking about attending culinary arts school in Columbia can look forward to a friendly college town, lots of agriculture and a blend of Midwestern and Southern charm that has often been emulated, but never quite achieved in other places. If you want hospitality and great food, you just have to head to Missouri.

Famous restaurants in Columbia, Missouri

Missouri may be a long way from California when it comes to everything from celebrity chefs to complicated fusion cuisine, but what is tasty and real here are foods that come straight from the fields onto your plate. It's all about high-quality ingredients and straightforward preparation. And then there's the beer: Missourians take their beer quite seriously, and the Missouri beer festival has its fifth annual event this year, and it's going strong. It has developed into the largest beer event in the region with dozens of breweries serving some 125 different beers in three-ounce samples to attendees.

And let there be cake: Although it's most closely linked to St. Louis, the Missouri gooey butter cake is beloved in the entire state. This yeast-raised coffee cake should have a crusty edge and a bright yellow color. It's easy to make and hard to resist.

Let's have a look at some beloved Columbia restaurants:

  • Shotgun Pete's BBQ Shack: While it's not located in an actual shack anymore, this casual BBQ eatery remains as popular as ever. Order at the counter, grab a seat, and enjoy the traditional meats and made-from-scratch BBQ sauces.
  • Flat Branch Pub & Brewing: Microbrews are quite the rage around the nation, and Columbia is no exception. This friendly brewery and restaurant with plenty of outdoor seating specializes in unusual beers (green chili beer, anyone?) and features seasonal dishes.
  • CC's City Broiler: This upscale family-owned restaurant features traditional American fare that's all about high-quality beef. It feels like a fancy New York City steakhouse, but it's in friendly Columbia.

Of course, the state of Missouri is famous for its barbecue, and there's top-notch barbecue to be found everywhere from Maryville to Branson -- from the classic roadside BBQ shack to high-end fare. And for the record: Kansas City-style barbecue always means that the meat is slow-cooked over an assortment of different woods and then covered with a thick sauce based on a mixture of tomato and molasses. While toasted ravioli -one of the culinary world's great accidents -- originated in St. Louis, this Italian specialty is widely consumed throughout the state, including Colombia.

Columbia culinary career outlook

There are plenty of opportunities for students who are interested in building a culinary career in Columbia. Job growth in the food industry is relatively average throughout the state of Missouri, which you can see in the chart below.

OccupationTotal Employment in Missouri (2014)Average Salary in Missouri (2014)% Job Growth in Missouri (2012-2022)
Chefs and Head Cooks1,800$44,7009.7%
Food Service Managers2,640$49,3608.8%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Now, let's distill this data down to a more granular level. Please see below for earnings for culinary arts professionals in Columbia as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

LocationOccupationsTotal Employed (2014)Average Salary (2014)
ColumbiaButchers and meat cutters50$26,350
Food Service Managers40$60,240

While not all culinary professions require a degree, those who want to start their career on a strong note should consider attending one of Columbia's cooking schools. The listings below can provide you with more information on schools close by.


  • 2014 State Agriculture Overview, Missouri
  • CC's City Broiler:
  • Flat Branch Pub & Brewing:
  • Introduction to Missouri Fishes, 2011,
  • May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Missouri, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015,
  • May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Colombia, MO, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015,
  • Missouri Beer Festival:
  • Missouri gooey butter cake:
  • Shotgun Pete's BBQ Shack:
  • Traditional state foods and recipes, Missouri:
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