Chef Colleges and Education in Austin, TX

Texas has a thriving culinary tradition, and aspiring chefs can find ample inspiration to experiment with new dishes. Dishes can range from traditional meat and potatoes to Southwestern-influenced beans and rice to those that push boundaries and create new trends. In Austin, there are a number of programs to train new chefs. Since it’s the fourth-largest city in the state, there should be plenty of opportunity to find positions in kitchens from hotels to the top restaurants.

Putting Your School to the Test

Not all culinary schools are created equal. You should know what to look for to make sure that the program you choose will provide the best training to start your career. Experienced chefs should be teaching the courses, and the training kitchen should have everything that students will need to learn all the best techniques in the kitchen. Preferably, there should also be a student-run restaurant, bakery or café. It will be the first “on-the-job” training that most students get, and it will prove invaluable to your later job search. Also make sure that the school has partnerships or opportunities for internships or apprenticeships outside of the school. The more experience you can get, the better.

To get into a culinary school, you will usually only be asked to show that you have met basic academic requirements, such as finishing your high-school diploma. But if you do have to put together a more competitive application, expect to undergo entrance testing or to show proof that you’ve worked in a kitchen or have had other training.

Beyond the 9 to 5

Life in the kitchen is fast-paced, and your degree will be, too. You’ll have options to take classes at night, on the weekends, or even online in some cases. Intensive programs can let students finish their degrees in under a year. Typically, full-time degrees take about two years to finish. If you’re interested in management, it can take up to four. Online classes allow some flexibility for your schedule, even letting you continue to work if you desire to do so. Typically, classes are meant to supplement work you’ve already done in the kitchen. But if you’re still looking to learn hands-on techniques, some programs offer video instruction. Those interested in management have even more options, as online programs are more common.

What to Expect After Graduation

Your personality and charm alone won’t be enough to get you to the top. Well, maybe it did help Emeril land his show and cultivate his celebrity … but you’re no Emeril yet. Remember that it will take time to build experience and move up the kitchen ranks, both of which are crucial to your salary. Where you work will also be significant: Expect to make more at upscale restaurants, hotels, resorts, spas and even some personal-chef services. You’ll start from the bottom – line cook – and move your way up to the top – head chef. And then, who knows? Maybe a starring role?

Improve your chances to move up faster by networking and meeting as many restaurant professionals as you can. Groups such as the Texas Restaurant Association are great tools for networking, and they’ll give you access to job posting, conferences and more. Food festivals are also fertile ground for networking, and they’ll give you a chance to enter cooking competitions and start cultivating your celebrity status.

Downtown Austin.

Campus-Based Programs

Austin Community College
5930 Middle Fiskville Road
Austin, TX 78752
Culinary Arts
Hospitality Management
CCSACS accredited

Le Cordon Bleu at the Texas Culinary Academy
11400 Burnet Road, Suite 2100
Austin, TX 78758
Culinary Arts

Patisserie and Baking
ACICS accredited

Natural Epicurean Culinary Arts Academy
4709 Sagebrush Trail
Austin, TX 78745
No accreditation

The Art Institute of Austin
101 W. Louis Henna Blvd., # 100
Austin, TX 78728-1260
Culinary Arts
Culinary Management
CCSACS accredited

Online-Based Programs

The Art Institutes of Pittsburgh – Online Division
Hotel and Restaurant Management
MSCHE accredited

Ashworth College
Hotel and Restaurant Management
DETC accredited

The Culinary Institute of America – CIA Pro Chef
Culinary Arts
CHEMSACS accredited

Johnson and Wales University
Baking & Pastry Arts and Food Service Management
Culinary Arts & Food Service Management
NEASC accredited

Le Cordon Bleu – Online Division
Culinary Management
ACCSC & ACICS accredited

Penn Foster Career School
Hotel and Restaurant Management
DETC & CHEA accredited

SITE Academy
No regional accreditation
AHLA association

Sullivan College
Beverage Management
CCSACS & ACF accredited

Stratford Career Institute
Hotel/Restaurant Management
Travel and Tourism
DlA member, no regional accreditation

Virginia College Online
Culinary Arts
ACICS accredited

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