Culinary Schools in Eugene, OR: Culinary Arts & Cooking Colleges

Culinary Schools in Eugene

Eugene, Oregon is serious about its food. The headquarters of Market of Choice is located here, as is the Organically Grown Company, the largest distributor of organic veggies and fruits in the Northwest. The first "Saturday Market" in the United States was founded here in 1970, featuring vendors who create or grow their own products. With such local pride, aspiring restaurant professionals can count on an excellent education at Eugene cooking schools.

Famous restaurants in Eugene

Eugene is the second largest city in the state, and the wide variety of eating and drinking establishments pay testament to the many residents and tourists who stop by each year. Here are some of the more popular places in the area:

  • Taco Time - Founded in Eugene in 1960, the original restaurant was a walk-up near the founder's beloved University or Oregon; the second store opened up just two years later. The Mexican fare is so popular that there are now over 300 franchises in the United States and Canada.
  • Sweet Life Patisserie - This fantastic bakery has been named a Eugene Weekly's "Best of Eugene" winner for over a decade, thanks to a loyal fanbase. Founded in 1999, this sweets shop offers everything from light-as-air wedding cakes to savory pastries and ice cream.
  • Papa's Soul Food Kitchen - This southern-style place brings a taste of down-home cooking to the Northwest, and does so with a bang: It has fried chicken, barbecue, catfish with all the fixin's, and even melt-in-your-mouth collard greens. It's been cooking up the good stuff since 2000.

When it comes to festivals, Eugene's pride shines through. Residents and tourists alike flock to the KLCC Microbrewery Festival in February, the Mushroom Festival in October, Art in the Vineyard in July, and the numerous fairs in the area, where culinary delights are served up every evening. Students who attend Eugene culinary schools can look forward to sampling the wares at any of these festivals, as well as networking with the chefs, cooks and other experts who bring the flavors to life.

Eugene culinary salary and career information

Oregon's restaurant industry is expected to grow by 14.7% between 2015 and 2025, according to the National Restaurant Association. Of the 9,393 eating and drinking locations in the state, 1,766 are located in Eugene and the surrounding area, and they employ about 25,700 people. In fact, a full 10% of Oregonians are employed in the restaurant industry, which suggests that there will be plenty of opportunity for those who graduate from Eugene cooking schools.

Just as with any other career field, some professionals will see better job growth than others. Projections Central reports the following jobs as those with the most promising growth from 2012 to 2022:

  • Food servers in a non-restaurant setting: 30.4%
  • Cafeteria cooks: 19.1%
  • Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food: 18.4%
  • Fast food cooks: 18%
  • First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers: 18%

Those who attend Eugene culinary schools can do much more than work in the front or back of house -- they can also move into management, work with food producers or processors, and even find jobs into fields that are related to restaurant work but require a slightly different educational path. The following are a few examples of jobs related to the restaurant industry that are in high demand in Oregon:

  • Concierges: 22.1%
  • Food scientists and technologists: 21.9%
  • Dietetic technicians: 20.6%
  • Food service managers: 17.6%

Other possible positions include those that involve running restaurants, such as that of front house manager, back house manager, general manager and even restaurant owner. Those who are interested in jobs like this should not only focus on typical culinary courses, but should also look into courses in management, accounting, human resources, hospitality, nutrition and the like.

Those managers and owners typically begin their careers with entry-level positions in the culinary industry and work their way up. Here are what some of the most in-demand jobs in Eugene's cooking industry pay; all numbers are based on median wages for 2014.

  • Food servers in a non-restaurant setting: $21,080
  • Cafeteria cooks: $24,460
  • Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food: $20,880
  • Fast food cooks: $19,820
  • First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers: $28,760

The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis reports that wages are increasing 8% across the state each year, and above-average growth was expected in the leisure and hospitality sector from 2014-2015. Those robust numbers suggest that there will be excellent opportunities available for graduates of Eugene cooking schools.


  • Best of Eugene 2015-2016, Eugene Weekly, November 5, 2015,
  • Long Term Occupational Projections, Oregon,
  • Market of Choice,
  • May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Eugene-Springfield, OR, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
  • Oregon Economic Summary, Office of Economic Analysis Economic Forecast, August 26, 2015,
  • Oregon: Restaurant Industry at a Glance,
  • Restaurant Employment Growth 2015 to 2025 (Projected), National Restaurant Association,
  • Sweet Life Patisserie,
  • Taco Time,
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