Up against the likes of New York and Texas, Georgia may not seem like a famous ‘foodie state,’ but in recent years, culinary business in the Peach State has been booming. This incredible expansion is due to the fantastic variety of state-grown produce and the success of the culinary arts courses available. From Georgia-style barbecue to fine dining and comfort eats, this state has the right blend of top restaurants and independent eateries to attract those looking to build a career as a chef or restaurant manager.
Home-Grown Foods Make for the Best Local Dishes
Undeniably famous for its peaches, Georgia has an impressive agricultural heritage; it is the number one producer of pecans in the world, as well as being the self-proclaimed Poultry Capital and in the top five blueberry producers in the United States. Also growing and supplying over half of the country’s peanuts, Georgia demonstrates impressive agricultural variety, a huge draw for individuals wanting to work with a wide spread of ingredients that are locally sourced. Grits, made of ground corn or hominy, were declared the state dish in 2002.
Georgia’s Culinary Scene is Growing
As of 2017, there are over 18,000 eating and drinking locations in Georgia, with an incredible $19.6 billion worth of revenue for the state. At nearly half a million food-related jobs, with projected growth taking it to 550,000 over the next decade, there is no stopping the expansion of the food industry in the state.
Georgia is quickly becoming an impressive location for chefs and foodies, due in part to the remarkable starting salaries for food workers. An executive chef can make, on average, just over $55,500 per year, with restaurant managers earning around $51,000. With the predicted expansion of the market, those looking to build a career in the industry can expect chances for professional growth in the state.
Offering residents and visitors alike the chance to sample some of the highest quality food options, Georgia is also proud to provide culinary students some of the best courses and educational programs in the country.
Here are some of the best culinary schools in the famous Peach State and what they can offer prospective students.
Culinard – Savannah, Georgia
- Culinary Arts – Diploma
- Culinary Arts – Certificate
- Pastry Arts – Diploma
- Pastry Arts – Certificate
Culinard prides itself on being able to make their students’ dreams a reality – and at a pace that rivals many other culinary institutions in the country. With a program length of just 36 weeks, this intensive course of study offers students the ability to get into the kitchen quickly and immerse themselves. By creating this hands-on opportunity, course participants are able to master the fundamentals of the culinary arts with ease.
For Culinary Arts students, the program caters to those who are looking to develop a career as a head chef or restaurant chef. The course covers ingredients, flavors, and food pairings, as well as the intensity of working in a professional kitchen environment. Culinard encourages the creativity of their students, offering support to those wanting to learn new skills and techniques as well as studying the foundation principles of the culinary arts.
Pastry Arts students at the Culinard program should be ready to be surrounded by delicious desserts. Their highly-trained instructors are available to provide one-on-one mentoring to students, as well as passing on tips and techniques from both international and local industry experience. The Pastry Arts program is for individuals who wish to become chefs, head cooks, and bakers.
West Georgia Technical College – Douglas Campus, Douglasville
- Culinary Arts AAS Degree
- Culinary Arts Diploma
- Baking and Pastry Specialist – Technical Certificate
- Catering Specialist – Technical Certificate
- Food Production Worker – Technical Certificate
- Prep Cook – Technical Certificate
With a diverse range of courses for prospective students to choose from, West Georgia Technical College has something for everyone looking to build a career in the culinary industry. Both of their offered Culinary Arts courses cover fundamental kitchen knowledge, such as the principles of cooking and baking, safety and sanitation, and restaurant operation information.
Each of the Technical Certificate courses is shorter in length, making them easily accessible for both full- and part-time students. These courses offer credits that are specific to the certificate, as well as more generalized credits for a well-rounded education.
West Georgia Technical College aims to provide their culinary arts students with an education that will not only give them the knowledge they need to create exceptional dishes, but also allow them to become the exemplary food workers that employers are looking for. The combination of taught culinary theory and practical application ensures that students will have the potential to progress and grow in their chosen career path.
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College
- Culinary Arts – Degree
- Culinary Arts – Diploma
- Food Production Worker – Technical Certificate
- Fundamental Skills of Culinary Arts – Technical Certificate
Aiming to be as inclusive as possible, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College offers courses for students aged 16 and over, with their Technical Certificate programs available at high schools in the area. By getting a foot in the door as early as possible, younger students of Wiregrass are able to increase their chances of career progression and use the knowledge they have gained to further their education or their employment achievements.
Both the Culinary Arts degree and diploma encourage students to use both theory and practicality in order to blossom in the food industry. Their course programs are designed for those interested in forging careers as cooks or chefs, bakers, and as caterers and managerial roles in the culinary industry. Students may also have the opportunity to enjoy internships at particular food establishments associated with the college for a real, hands-on learning experience.
While many students may want to explore more senior-level employment, the Technical Certificates offered by Wiregrass allow individuals to get in at entry-level, providing the skills and knowledge they need to begin building their culinary career. The Food Production Worker Certificate is designed for those wanting to be prep cooks or banquet and service prep workers. The Fundamental Skills Certificate gives students the essential skills and information they need to successfully move into the food industry or onto further culinary education.
Savannah Technical College – Savannah
- Culinary Arts Associates Degree
- Culinary Baking and Pastry Arts Associates Degree
- Culinary Arts Diploma
- Culinary Baking and Pastry Arts Diploma
- Food Production Worker I Technical Certificate
- Prep Cook Technical Certificate
With a department run by Chef Jean Vendeville, who won the ACF Chef Educator of the Year in 2014, students know that their culinary education at Savannah Technical College will be of the highest quality. Many of the programs are available at several of the College’s campus locations, making these culinary arts programs much more accessible.
Both degrees and diplomas allow students the chance to work in a professional kitchen, developing hands-on techniques for a more immersive experience and giving participants the practical skills they will need when entering the workforce. The courses cover a breadth of foundational and specialized knowledge, from the fundamentals of culinary practice to safety and sanitation, and the science behind baking. Students who enroll in these Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts programs can expect to enter careers as chefs, cooks, bakers, and pastry chefs.
The Technical Certificates offered by Savannah Technical College provide comprehensive skills training for those looking to begin their career in an entry-level position, such as banquet service prep servers and prep cooks. These courses cover the fundamentals of the culinary arts, including safety and sanitation, and the principles of restaurant management. This allows students to further both their education and career into a broader range of industry professions – chefs, bakers, and senior managerial roles.
The Art Institute of Atlanta – Atlanta
- Associate of Arts in Culinary Arts
- Diploma in Culinary Arts
- Associate of Arts in Baking & Pastry
- Diploma in Baking & Pastry
- Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts Management
The Art Institute of Atlanta knows that only those with a genuine passion for food will be dedicated enough to pursue a career in the culinary arts. Their two specialized programs challenge students to think outside of the box, to work together creatively to produce new and exciting flavors and actively encourage each other to reach their goals. By working alongside the program’s talented and knowledgeable instructors, students are able to learn from the best in fully-equipped professional kitchens for the hands-on experience that future employers will be looking for.
Both students and instructors realize that the culinary world is becoming increasingly competitive. As cultural barriers are broken down, global cuisine is becoming more accessible to demanding and discerning customers. At The Art Institute, the courses offered are reviewed and constantly improved to keep up with the changing industry climate, ensuring that students have the newest knowledge and most applicable skills as they enter the expanding workforce.
With over 20 international cuisines explored in both Associate Degree and Diploma courses, students know that they are getting a broad yet intensive education that focuses on the fundamentals of the culinary arts. From learning how to prepare specific cuts of meat to sanitary requirements and the challenges that can come from working as a team in a professional kitchen, students can expect to experience and learn everything they need to enter a career in their chosen culinary field.