Best Culinary – Baking & Pastry – Hospitality Schools in California
California offers one of the largest selections of culinary schools, baking schools and hospitality management programs in the country.
If you are living in California and thinking of training to become a culinary chef, pastry chef or enter the field of restaurant management, there are a number of good choices for you to consider. From the redwood forests to the Golden Gate Bridge, the state of California is a magnificent and exciting place to live.
If you’re considering a career in the culinary arts, the Napa Valley and famous wine country offer a variety of culinary opportunity. Likewise, the booming tourism industry in California could mean that it is an ideal location for those interested in hospitality management.
I’ve listed several of the best California culinary institutes below, in addition to detailed information about Sacramento and San Francisco culinary schools. The schools listed below represent some of the best in the state of California based on accreditation, reputations and student reviews. The right one for you will depend on location, courses, tuition and scholarship availability.
Read, Read and Read Some MoreOne of the best suggestions I have for anyone thinking of going to culinary school or just getting into the restaurant industry is to read everything you can get your hands on. Learn from professional chefs who have worked in the industry and those who have taught in culinary schools.
There are many great books available to get you started in your culinary education and I suggest you read as much as possible before making that big decision to make sure this is the right move for you. Below is just a sample of books you might be interested in checking out.
For a much more comprehensive list of books for aspiring culinary, baking and restaurant management students, I suggest checking out my post on books for future culinary students and chefs.
Institute of Technology
The Institute of Technology has two campuses in California, Clovis and Modesto. Since 2004, The Institute of Technology has been a provider of post-secondary education in the western United States. Courses are designed to prepare students for an entry-level career. Students can learn by doing in this professional atmosphere.
Clovis Campus – 564 W. Herndon Ave – Clovis, also called called the “Gateway to the Sierras,” and within short driving distances are both the Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.
Modesto Campus – 5601 Stoddard Road – Modesto, in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley and the largest city and the seat of Stanislaus County
New School of Cooking
The New School of Cooking base their teaching on a combination of classical and modern cooking through contemporary concepts in a technique-based approach. Recipes are important but mastering skills involves hands-on learning. Their graduates can walk into any kitchen and feel right at home with the training they have received.
Pasadena Campus – 525 East Colorado Blvd – Pasadena, CA 91101
Culver City Campus – 8690 Washington Blvd – Culver City, CA 90232
San Francisco Cooking School
The San Francisco Cooking School certificate programs are designed to maximize education value and propel you into your optimal new food career. Based in the culinary epicenter of San Francisco, your academic foundation will be supplemented with industry access. From connecting with food insiders through class field trips to in-class workshops taught by award-winning chefs, you’ll be exposed to a wide diversity of food careers that only a teaching campus like the Bay Area can provide.
San Francisco Campus – 690 Van Ness Avenue San Francisco, CA 94102
The Institute of Culinary Education
After 42 years in New York City, in January 2018 the Institute of Culinary Education opened the doors to a second location in Los Angeles — an urban oasis for food and restaurant lovers and without a doubt one of the most exciting food cities in America. ICE Los Angeles features 38,000 square feet of educational and administrative space, with seven fully equipped teaching kitchens filled with cutting edge kitchen equipment.
Los Angeles Campus – 521 East Green Street Pasadena, CA 91101
Culinary Institute of America at Graystone
The Culinary Institute of America has a history that spans over 60 years, the Culinary Institute of America has been a leader in culinary education and training for decades.
St. Helena Campus – 2555 Main Street – St. Helena, CA 94574
American River College
American River College is among the most respected culinary arts programs in northern California. The program emphasizes business theory and hands on cooking. Classes focus on job skills and professional fine dining cuisine. The program can be completed in 18 months, including a semester working in the kitchen of The Oak Café, the college’s 4-star restaurant.
Sacramento Campus – 4700 College Oak Drive, Sacramento, Calif. 95841
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Culinary, Baking & Hospitality Career Outlook in California
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for jobs in the restaurant, food service and hospitality industries is good with projected growth rates. The table below demonstrates some important information you may want to consider when deciding if going to culinary school and then working in California is right for you.
|Occupation||Total Employment in California (2014)||Average Salary in California (2014)||Annual Hourly Wage|
|Butchers & Meat Cutters||20,840||$29,740||$14.30|
|Chefs & Head Cooks||15,840||$45,340||$21.80|
|Cooks, Fast Food||109,620||$20,060||$9.64|
|Cooks, Short Order||19,080||$23,950||$11.52|
|Food Service Managers||34,600||$52,010||$25.01|
|Hosts and Hostesses||43,200||$20,650||$9.93|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
Culinary & Hospitality Industry in California Statistics
- SalarybyState.org – the average culinary salary for job posting in California are 10% higher than the average nationwide in March of 2013.
- BLS* – In May of 2014, there were 15,840 Chefs & Head Cooks in the state of California
- BLS *- the average salary for these Chefs & Head Cooks was $45,340
- BLS* – Average Hourly Wage for Chefs & Head Cooks is $21.80
The Restaurant Industry in California
The restaurant industry in California is a huge part of their economy and generate jobs for thousands of California residents plus important tax revenues to the state. For every dollar spent in California restaurants, an additional 61 cents is generated in the state’s economy.
According to restaurant.org:
- There were 68,144 eating and drinking places in California in 2014
- $72.3 billion in restaurant sales projected 2015
- Restaurants will account for 1,605,300 (10%) jobs in California in 2015
- By 2025 the projections are 1,781,300 jobs, a 11% job growth
- National Restaurant Association – http://www.restaurant.org
- Bureau of Labor Statistics – http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes351011.htm