Culinary Schools in Dayton, OH: Culinary Arts & Cooking Colleges

Dayton Cooking & Culinary Schools

Dayton is not Ohio's biggest city, but one would never know it by its culinary legacy. It was here that television personality Chef Ming Tsai found his culinary roots, and where the James Beard Award-winning Chef Anne Kearney set hers. The Golden Lamb in nearby Lebanon is the oldest continuously-operated restaurant in Ohio and, according to local legend it's also the source of Colonel Sanders' famous spice blend.

Culinary schools in Dayton can introduce students to a diverse food culture, defined by both tradition and innovation. There are classic dishes influenced by the Polish, Hungarian and Lithuanian immigrants who transformed the city in the late 1800s, accented by swanky restaurants and bars that now occupy many of the historic buildings in the Oregon District. Cultural events like the Dayton Celtic Festival and reflect the city's oldest culinary traditions, while frequent food truck rallies follow the latest trends. For students attending culinary schools in Dayton, these events and restaurants offer an education all their own.

Famous Dayton restaurants

The Dayton Convention and Visitor's Bureau says the city's restaurants offer something for every palate -- a point that is difficult to dispute. There are well over 100 restaurants and bars in the downtown district alone, and the Dayton Food Truck Association represents more than two dozen mobile kitchens specializing in everything from tacos to cupcakes. Culinary adventurers can head to Old North Dayton for Eastern European fare, or the historic Oregon District for more contemporary cuisine.

Dayton's newest culinary ventures are balanced with more iconic favorites that have thrived for decades. Combined, these top restaurants offer hungry diners a well-rounded culinary experience.

  • Rue Domaine: Rue Domaine is headed by James Beard regional award-winning chef Anne Kearney. The American bistro features a seasonal menu, and earned the top spot on Zagat's Top 8 Restaurants in Dayton.
  • Roost Modern Italian: This Oregon District hotspot, named Best Restaurant in Dayton by the readers of Dayton Business Journal, puts a modern spin on classic Italian dishes and features a wine list a mile long.
  • Meadowlark: Located in the heart of Dayton, this chef-owned restaurant features high-quality ingredients cooked simply but imaginatively. The food is geared toward the American palate, which includes fluffy, buttermilk mashed potatoes, homemade pickles and cornbread.
  • The Golden Lamb: The Golden Lamb in Lebanon is Ohio's oldest restaurant; its Lebanon Dining Room is the site of innkeeper Jonas Seamon's original log tavern, licensed in 1803. Local lore says The Golden Lamb's legendary fried chicken not only inspired, but was the source of Colonel Sander's famous spice blend.
  • The Pine Club: This steakhouse been a local hotspot for decades, but its popularity extends well beyond Dayton's. The New York Times ranked it among the 10 Greatest Old Dining Institutions in the World.

Dayton culinary career outlook

Restaurants are an important part of Ohio's economy. According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurant-related jobs accounted for 10 percent of the state's total workforce in 2015, and the state is expected to add another 37,000 by 2025. Demand and earnings will vary by position and region, however, so it pays for students considering culinary schools in Dayton to do their research. The following table outlines employment, earnings and career projections for several key culinary professions in the Dayton metropolitan area.

OccupationTotal Employment in Dayton (2013)Average Salary in Dayton (2013)% Job Growth in Dayton (2010-2020)
Chefs and Head Cooks180$39,6407.9%
Food Service Managers790$46,900-4.8%
Restaurant Cooks2,890$21,30010.7%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013, and Ohio Labor Market Information

Not all of these emerging jobs will require formal training, but some might. Even when not required, some employers prefer to hire candidates with more experience and education. Culinary schools in Dayton can give students hands-on, practical skills in a number of areas, depending on their goals. Programs may include the following areas:

Program goals, classes, and certificate and degree options can vary considerably from one school to the next; no single program is right for everyone. This is why it is so important for anyone considering culinary schools in Dayton to research their options before choosing a program. Check out the programs below to get started!


  • "European Ethnic Communities, Dayton, Ohio," National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior, July 2, 1991,
  • Eat, Dayton Conference and Visitor's Bureau,
  • Downtown Dayton Partnership,
  • "Ohio's oldest bar resides in Dayton region," Dayton Business Journal, October 2, 2014,
  • "Zagat names Top 8 restaurants in Dayton region," Dayton Business Journal, Nov. 26, 2012, Olivia Barrow,
  • "10 of the World's Greatest Old Dining Institutions," T Magazine, The New York Times, December 6, 2013, Sadie Stein,
  • "Readers pick Dayton's Top 25 best restaurants," Dayton Business Journal, December 11, 2012,
  • "May 2013 State Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates," Occupational Outlook Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014,
  • "Ohio Job Outlook: MSAs to 2020," Ohio Labor Market Information, Department of Job and Family Services, State of Ohio,
  • "Ohio Restaurant Industry at a Glance," National Restaurant Association, 2015,
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