Train to Become a Chef in Oregon's Dynamic Food Scene
Talk about one of the most dynamic and inventive spots on the map for budding culinary pros—Oregon and the Pacific Northwest area offer untapped agricultural sources and up close and personal access to farm-fresh, organic and exotic produce, meats and seafood. A complete culinary palette for a new chef.
Portland Oregon is fertile ground for innovative chefs and is dotted with small to large interesting eateries featuring versatile and eclectic menus, most designed in concert with the local seasons. Add to this the obsession for coffee and a thriving wine country and you have everything you need for a complete and self-sustaining culinary culture.
Education in the Oregon Food Scene
Make the local food scene an absolute priority part of your Oregon culinary education. Sample the fine restaurants, as well as the best-reviewed burger and pizza joints. Learn what hot chefs make and break the Portland, Eugene, and Bend food scenes, what key ingredients they use in their best dishes and discover the nuances of flavor unique to each location.
Top food festivals offer condensed samples of local fare, “best of” restaurants, delicacies, and even some exciting competitions:
- Bite of Oregon, Portland
- Hood River Valley Harvest Fest, Hood River
- Northwest Food and Wine Festival, Portland
- Northwest Food Service Show, Portland
- Oregon Truffle Festival, Eugene
Superior culinary arts programs stand out in downtown Portland where you’ll learn everything you need to fuel a potentially great career: student-run kitchens that cater to a discerning cosmopolitan audience, the opportunity to intern/apprentice with a few of the very best local restaurants, instruction and guidance from well-connected industry pro chefs, and near immediate job placement. You will find among the degrees and schools a variety of degree options: Bachelors, Associates and Diploma and certificate.
Compete for a Chef or Pastry Chef Job in Oregon
Increase your resume cred with membership in a local chapter of a professional food service industry association, such as the American Culinary Federation—chapters in Portland, Medford, Coos Bay, and Bend. Groups like these give you immediate access to hundreds of likeminded industry professionals for networking, socializing, and educational enrichment. Also get in on private job listings and national and regional conferences.
Salaries for Oregon chefs vary most markedly between new chefs and experienced, or line cooks and executive chefs. Average salary for a sous chef in Portland is $41,000. Factors that may drive salary up or down include: your level of education, professional experience, specialty and type of establishment, and even reputation in the local industry. Good news is that many of the best job postings prefer chef applicants with culinary school degrees.
List of Oregon Cooking Schools
Western Culinary Institute in downtown Portland delivers the world-class Le Cordon Bleu culinary and bakery arts curriculum. This is nearly the same as that offered in the founding Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France. Learn the details of classic French cuisine, cooking methods and traditional Western culinary skills. Get work/learning experience in busy student-run restaurants and then land a superior job. Degrees include: Associates Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts, Associates Le Cordon Bleu Patisserie and Baking, Diploma Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts, and Diploma Le Cordon Bleu Patisserie and Baking.
Oregon Culinary Institute features yet another world-class curriculum in downtown Portland. Affiliated with Pioneer Pacific College here are intensive, accelerated, and no-holds-barred culinary programs designed to propel you immediately into a job with plenty of room for career growth and all the tools with which to be inspired. Programs include: Associates Culinary Arts, Culinary Arts Diploma, and Certificate in Baking and Pastry.
Cascade Culinary Institute at Central Oregon Community College in Bend is an accredited and well-respected academy for new and professional chefs. Learn consummate kitchen skills and cooking methods in small sessions under the guidance of professional chef/instructors and prove your mettle in a student-run restaurant. Programs include: CCI Culinary Certificate, and Dietary Manager Certificate.
Oregon Coast Culinary Institute is part of the Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay. This top-notch school caters to serious students seeking pastoral surroundings as well as a superior culinary educational experience. Program provides state of the art teaching kitchens, working demo kitchen, and required industry externships. Chef’s Table and La Patisserie are the on-site student-run kitchens. Programs include: Associates Culinary Arts Management and Associates Baking and Pastry.
Oregon State Colleges, Community and Technical Colleges Offering Culinary, Restaurant Management, and/or Hospitality Degrees
- Central Oregon Community College – Bend
- Chemeketa Community College – Salem
- Institute for Culinary Awakening – Portland
- Lane Community College – Eugene
- Linn-Benton Community College – Albany
- Mt Hood Community College – Gresham
- Oregon State University – Corvallis
- Portland Community College – Portland