Culinary Arts Schools in Michigan

While Michigan is the birthplace of Motown and the home of the Detroit Lions, Michigan also means delicious and interesting regional cuisine. Although the state doesn't boast any Michelin-ranked restaurants, it has just as sophisticated and diverse assortment of restaurant and restauranteurs exploring traditional and modern food trends. From the red velvet pancakes at Anna's House in Grand Rapids to the eggs Sardou at La Dolce Vida in Palmer Park, Michigan's culinary scene has something for every foodie.

Unlike a San Francisco or New York City, the food scene in Michigan isn't dominated by nationally renowned or globally vaunted restaurants. Instead, the state -- Detroit in particular -- is a place of local hideouts and favorites. In fact, Detroit is at the forefront of a food renaissance, a rebirth, that's mirroring the city and state's economic recovery.

Restaurants are finding their way into empty buildings throughout the city, attracting investments from investors eager to help rebuild the region. In 2014, approximately twelve new restaurants have opened in Detroit, expanding the palette of the local eating scene past traditional ribs and ethnic food.

The culinary industry in Michigan is a driving force in the economy, employing nearly 400,000 individuals across the state, according to the National Restaurant Association. More than 15,900 restaurants are in Michigan, restaurants that produce $13.5 billion in sales annually.

Famous Michigan restaurants

Indeed, Detroit is the heartbeat of Michigan's culinary world, attracting attention from new restauranteurs, food bloggers, patrons and critics from around the world. In 2014 one of the brightest shining restaurants was The Rugby Grille, located in the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, a suburb of Detroit. The restaurant was ranked as a travel destination by Forbes and recently underwent an interior redesign in 2013. Executive chef Drew Sayes has brought a new menu to the restaurant, focusing on both local and sustainable foods.

Outside of The Rugby Grille, other restaurants in Detroit include the following:

  • Grille Midtown - A renovated theater on Woodward Avenue, the Grille Midtown has an eclectic menu that includes everything from Mahi Mahi tacos to jambalaya, smokehouse burgers to swordfish.
  • Guns & Butter - A "pop-up" dining experience launched in 2012 has now become a national sensation, traveling to neighborhoods in New York City and is currently preparing to open a brick and mortar location in Detroit.
  • La Feria - A Spanish Tapas restaurant, La Feria is located on Cass Street in downtown Detroit and the owners launched the venture after winning $50,000 prize from Hatch Detroit, a start-up business competition.
  • Wright & Company - Another new fixture in downtown Detroit's food district, Wright & Company, located in a nondescript, late nineteenth-century brick building, includes a long bar and a diverse menu.
  • Detroit Vegan Soul - Owners Erika Boyd and Kirsten Ussery created Detroit Vegan Soul, a 100 percent vegan establishment, after being finalists in Hatch Detroit in 2012.

Michigan culinary schools & career outlook

There are multiple avenues to becoming a chef, from pilgrimaging to France to apprentice under culinary masters to attending a culinary school in Michigan. Other prospective chefs and restauranteurs, like Erika Boyd and Kirsten Ussery of Detroit Vegan Soul, simply roll up their sleeves and place out a shingle.

For those seeking a culinary degree in Michigan can traditionally select from one of four subject paths at Michigan culinary schools:

  1. Culinary arts
  2. Baking & pastry arts
  3. Culinary management
  4. Hospitality management

Training at a culinary institute can prepare graduates to pursue a variety of careers, including chefs, private chefs, caterers, restaurant managers, pastry chefs, sous chefs and more.

According to the National Restaurant Association, the culinary industry in Michigan is still recovering from the economic downturn, meaning the state experienced only 5.8 percent job growth in 2014. Overall, individual career growth is expected to be muted, especially for chefs and head cooks between 2012 and 2022. One of the careers projected to have the largest increase (7.3 percent), according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, is food service managers.

Below is a table of state-wide average salaries for three central culinary careers: bakers, chefs, and food service managers:

RegionCareerTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
MichiganFood Service Managers4,690$59,830
MichiganChefs and Head Cooks2,870$48,510
Source: 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2016-26 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Examining the employment situation in metropolitan areas in Michigan helps paint a clearer picture of potential culinary career opportunities within the state. Below is a table of employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) for metro areas in Michigan.

RegionCareerTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
Ann Arbor, MIBakers160$26,820
Ann Arbor, MIChefs and Head Cooks200$53,190
Ann Arbor, MIFood Service Managers210$67,710
Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, MI Metropolitan DivisionChefs and Head Cooks590$57,680
Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, MI Metropolitan DivisionBakers1,010$26,170
Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, MI Metropolitan DivisionFood Service Managers750$67,040
Flint, MIBakers290$22,840
Flint, MIFood Service Managers160$67,280
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MIBakers690$25,120
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MIFood Service Managers480$56,050
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MIChefs and Head Cooks260$46,020
Kalamazoo-Portage, MIFood Service Managers150$50,790
Kalamazoo-Portage, MIChefs and Head Cooks90$37,990
Kalamazoo-Portage, MIBakers320$23,000
Lansing-East Lansing, MIFood Service Managers300$59,030
Lansing-East Lansing, MIChefs and Head Cooks210$47,420
Lansing-East Lansing, MIBakers150$25,770
Niles-Benton Harbor, MIChefs and Head Cooks60$52,770
Niles-Benton Harbor, MIBakers80$25,910
Niles-Benton Harbor, MIFood Service Managers90$70,530
Saginaw, MIBakers170$25,950
Saginaw, MIFood Service Managers150$57,580
Saginaw, MIChefs and Head CooksN/AN/A
Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI Metropolitan DivisionFood Service Managers1,450$58,770
Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI Metropolitan DivisionBakers1,480$27,940
Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI Metropolitan DivisionChefs and Head Cooks820$42,940
Source: 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2016-26 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

With the economic recovery taking place in Detroit, coupled with an emerging food scene in the region, Michigan should be an attractive possibility for students considering a culinary education.

Michigan culinary schools offer a variety of degree programs in varying locations; browse these culinary schools in Michigan and nearby.


  • Grille Midtown, http://www.thegrillemidtown.com
  • Guns & Butter, http://gunsandbutter.com/
  • La Feria, http://laferiadetroit.com/
  • Wright & Company, http://www.wrightdetroit.com/
  • Detroit Vegan Soul, http://detroitvegansoul.com/
  • Forbes, Restaurant Rankings, http://www.forbestravelguide.com/restaurant
  • National Restaurant Association, Michigan, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2014/michigan
  • Projections Central, Michigan, projectionscentral.com
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, California, Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mi.htm
  • Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, Job Projections, http://milmi.org/admin/uploadedPublications/715_occ_g35.htm

Browse Culinary Schools in Michigan

This list also contains online schools that accept students from Michigan .

Other Michigan Culinary Schools

School Name City or Town Programs Offered
Henry Ford Community College Dearborn Associate in Applied Science Culinary Arts
Wayne County Community College District Detroit Hotel and Restaurant Management
Western Michigan University Kalamazoo Food Service Administration
Northern Michigan University Marquette Hospitality Management
Northwood University - Midland Midland Hospitality Services Management