Culinary Schools in New York

Education

Aspiring chefs in the Empire State are in luck, because there are a multitude of prestigious culinary schools in New York, which can help pave the way to an exciting career in the food world. Students learn foundational food preparation skills in addition to acquiring knowledge in specific culinary disciplines, like beverage management, catering, pastry arts and baking, and hospitality. Off-campus learning opportunities are also expansive—especially for culinary schools in the NYC area. Programs may culminate in a certificate, two-year associate’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree.

Food Scene

When it comes to food, New York is on the cutting edge, with a world-class fine dining scene from the bustling bistros of the Big Apple to the vibrant food in the Finger Lakes Wine Country. Although the state as a whole is home to countless chef-driven restaurants and creative, contemporary food, it is largely dominated by the influence of New York City.

NYC is comprised of a variety of ethnic neighborhoods, and as a result, its cuisine is a fusion of cultures from across the world, including Italian, Mexican, Greek, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Polish, Jewish, Irish, Jamaican, Indian, and Filipino influences, among many others. Food that NYC is known for include pizza, bagels, pastrami, black and white cookies, knishes, cheesecake, and Manhattan clam chowder. The city also has a strong street food presence, which traditionally includes the sale of souvlaki, falafel, hot dogs, soft pretzels, dumplings, and honey-roasted nuts.

Careers

From restaurants to resorts, New York boasts a number of job opportunities for culinary arts degree holders. You could pursue roles as a cook, chef, caterer, food service manager, food stylist, and more. Areas where you might seek employment include New York City, Long Island, Rochester, Albany, Syracuse, Westchester, and the Catskills.

Salary and Employment Overview

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York was the fourth top paying state in the US for chef and head cook positions in 2013 and was the 5th top paying state for food service manager positions. The median annual salary for chef and head cook positions was $56,130 in the first quarter of 2013 (New York State Department of Labor). Entry-level chefs and head cooks earned a mean salary of $36,380, and experienced chefs earned $72,490. Food service mangers earned a median annual salary of $63,050, with entry-level mangers having earned $46,690, and experienced manager garnering $78,080.

Compared to other states, New York also ranks high in the number of available positions for both chefs and head cooks and food service managers, but top positions in New York’s food service industry remain competitive. From 2010 to 2020, job for chefs and head cooks in New yYrk are expected to only increase by 1%, while jobs for food service managers should decline 4%, resulting in the loss of 550 positions.

2013 1st Qtr New York Employment and Annual Wages
Occupation Employment Mean Median Mean Entry-Level Mean Experienced
Chefs and Head Cooks 7,060 $60,450 $56,130 $36,380 $72,490
First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving Workers 41,980 $36,670 $33,950 $24,860 $42,570
Cooks, Fast Food 12,970 $20,940 $20,270 $16,880 $22,970
Cooks, Institution and Cafeteria 16,680 $31,290 $29,890 $21,910 $35,980
Cooks, Restaurant 55,260 $27,480 $25,060 $19,760 $31,340
Cooks, Short Order 9,660 $23,840 $22,910 $17,580 $26,970
Cooks, All Other 990 $28,370 $27,230 $19,650 $32,730
Bakers 9,050 $27,600 $25,440 $18,290 $32,260
Lodging Managers 490 $81,630 $80,300 $49,050 $97,920
Food Service Managers 8,260 $67,620 $63,050 $46,690 $78,080

Source: New York State Department of Labor

Professional Organizations

New York has several professional associations in the hospitality and culinary industries including the American Culinary Federation (ACF), the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), James Beard Foundation (JBF), Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI), the New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA), the American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF), the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association (ESRTA), and the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association (NYSH&TA).

The American Culinary Federation
One of the premier culinary professional associations in the country, the ACF provides its members a variety of benefits including certification in 14 different culinary areas. There are 11 New York Chapters:

  • ACF Capital District – Central New York (Albany)
  • ACF of Greater Buffalo New York
  • ACF New York Wine Country Chefs (Corning)
  • ACF Chefs and Cooks of the Catskill Mountains (Delhi)
  • ACF of Glens Falls New York
  • ACF Long Island Chapter
  • ICA – ACF Big Apple Chapter (New York City)
  • Mid Hudson Culinary Association (Rhinebeck)
  • ACF Eastern Long Island Chefs Chapter (Riverhead)
  • ACF Professional Chefs / Cooks Assn of Rochester
  • ACF Syracuse New York Chapter

The International Association of Culinary Professionals
Headquartered in New York City, the International Association of Culinary Professionals was founded by well-known chefs, such as Jacques Pepin and Julia Childs, and is comprised of food and beverage professionals spanning more than 32 countries. The IACP offers the Certified Culinary Professional Certification, which is the only multidisciplinary certification available to culinary professionals.

James Beard Foundation
Offering the prestigious James Beard Award as well culinary scholarships, JBF creates programs and events to educate and honor the culinary community. Membership is open to  food and wine enthusiasts, industry professionals, and corporations. Benefits include a newsletter subscription and invitations to JBF events.

Les Dames d’Escoffier International
Promoting female leaders in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries, the Les Dames d’Escoffier International has chapters around the country, including one in New York. The organization participates in a variety of educational and philanthropic initiatives, including an annual scholarship program.

New York State Restaurant Association
Welcoming restaurant owners, the New York State Restaurant Association provides members with ServeSafe industry training, discounts on marketing services with a selection of partners, and a number of insurance options. Individual chapters are listed below:

  • Central NY
  • Greater Capital District
  • Greater NYC
  • Long Island
  • Rochester
  • Southern Tier
  • Westchester Rockland
  • Western NY

The American Institute of Wine and Food
The American Institute of Wine and Food is an organization of food and wine professionals and connoisseurs. They have a New York chapter where members enjoy a variety of benefits, including discounted kitchen merchandise and invitations to exclusive events.

Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association
The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association advocates for the on-premise beverage alcohol industry. It provides members with money saving benefits for disability insurance, credit card processing, security, and payroll licensing, as well as online training in areas such as tobacco selling and alcohol serving.

New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association
The oldest state lodging association in the country, the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association is made up of members from nearly all facets of the tourism industry. They offer members continuing education resources, networking opportunities, and discounted services from preferred partners.

Exploring Schools

Whatever your culinary interests are, the state has a variety of options to help propel you down your chosen career track. If you are ready to transform your love of food into a viable career, start looking at New York culinary schools today!

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