Culinary Schools in Florida

Education

If you are interested in training in a thriving food and restaurant industry, consider attending one of the many culinary schools in Florida to hone your craft. Students may choose to pursue a certificate, associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in the culinary field, with potential concentrations in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and culinary management. Typically culminating in an externship, the curriculum may cover topics, such as cooking fundamentals; soups and sauces; introduction to meat, fish, and poultry; international cuisine; cooking methods; desserts; and more.

Food Scene

Florida is a seaside paradise that vibrates with energy and culture and abounds with distinctive types of cuisine. Located in close proximity to Cuba and other island nations, Florida’s food scene has a strong Latin/Caribbean influence. Furthermore, Florida produces a number of important agricultural products that often star in its cuisine, including oranges, limes, and tomatoes.

Career

As a touristic stronghold, Florida offers many work opportunities to graduates. Some culinary jobs that you may qualify for with a degree under your belt include baker, pastry chef, private chef, sous chef, food and beverage manager, and food stylist. Cities where trained chefs might find work include Orlando, Miami, Tampa, and West Palm Beach.

Salary and Employment

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has gathered employment and wage estimates for a variety of culinary and hospitality careers across the state. According to the data, the median annual wage for chefs and head cook positions was $23.13, which amounts to an estimated median annual salary of $48,110 for a 40 hour work week. Although Florida has the fourth highest employment for chefs and head cooks out of all 50 states (Bureau of Labor Statistics), chef positions can still be competitive. In 2013, there was an estimate of 86,040 restaurant cook position in the state of Florida, but only 5,590 opportunities for chefs and head cooks.

2013 Florida Employment and Hourly Wage Estimates
Occupation Employment Mean Median Mean Entry-Level Mean Experienced
Cooks, Fast Food 13,100 $9.32 $9.06 $8.88 $16.91
Cooks, Short Order 4,260 $10.49 $9.99 $8.19 $9.89
Cooks, Restaurant 86,040 $11.55 $11.07 $9.25 $13.23
Cooks, Institution and Cafeteria 12,930 $11.90 $11.46 $8.31 $11.58
Cooks, All Other 670 $14.23 $12.73 $9.58 $13.98
Cooks, Private Household 10 $16.10 $14.98 $8.91 $13.37
Chefs and Head Cooks 5,590 $24.83 $23.13 $19.76 $34.64
Bakers 11,710 $11.88 $11.43 $8.89 $12.88
First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving Workers 55,020 $16.20 $14.78 $15.72 $29.39
Food Service Managers 8,120 $29.68 $27.11 $10.86 $18.87
Lodging Managers 1,940 $33.19 $25.46 $16.77 $41.41

Source: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Professional Organizations

In Florida, there are several professional organizations in the culinary and hospitality industry, including the American Culinary Federation (ACF) (for chefs and cooks), the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (for food service and hotel managers), the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA) (for personal chefs), and Les Dames d’Escoffier International (for women in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries).

Locations

The ACF is a national organization headquartered in Florida with individual chapters located all over country. The Florida chapters are as follows:

  • ACF Gulf to Lakes Chefs & Cooks Association, Inc.
  • ACF Gulf to Lakes Chefs & Cooks Association, Inc.
  • ACF Daytona Beach Chefs Association
  • Fort Lauderdale ACF, Inc.
  • Southwest Florida Chefs Association
  • ACF First Coast Chapter
  • ACF Space Coast Chapter
  • ACF Greater Miami Chapter Epicurean Club
  • ACF Caxambas Chapter of Naples & Marco Island
  • Central Florida Chefs Association
  • ACF Bay Culinarians
  • ACF Sarasota Bay Chefs Association
  • ACF Tallahassee Area Chefs Assn
  • ACF Tampa Bay Culinary Association, Inc.
  • ACF Treasure Coast Chapter
  • ACF Palm Beach County Chefs Association

The United States Personal Chef Association is also headquartered in Florida and has a South Florida Chapter, and Les Dames d’Escoffier International has a Florida chapter in Miami. The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association has 20 individual chapters across the state:

  • Bay Chapter
  • Broward
  • Central Florida
  • Escambia
  • First Coast
  • Forgotten Coast
  • Hillsborough
  • Manatee
  • Miami-Dade
  • Monroe
  • North Central Florida
  • Northwest Florida
  • Palm Beach
  • Pasco/Hernando
  • Pinellas
  • Polk
  • Sarasota
  • Southwest Florida
  • Space Coast
  • Tallahassee
Certifications

The American Culinary Federation offers 14 certifications depending on your experience, which range from Certified Sous Chef to Executive Pastry Chef, while the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association offers a Florida Food Manger Certification, as well as training in employee food handling and the service of alcohol. The USPCA offers food safety training and certification to become a personal chef.

Exploring Schools

What better place to pursue a culinary career than Florida? From the sizzling gourmet food scene in South Beach to the delectable seafood on the Gulf Coast, there are truly a large number of culinary delights to savor throughout the state. Inquire about FL culinary schools today to launch your culinary career!

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