Pennsylvania

There are a number of culinary schools in the state of Pennsylvania, many at community colleges. Naturally, your marketability will be determined on the type of culinary program you graduate from.

If you are going to talk about Pennsylvania specialties, you cannot pass by the Philadelphia cheesesteak. It probably is a mistake to think of the Hot Pockets version of it as the de facto standard, but they are served in many restaurants as a standard faire. Other culinary staples in the state pierogies, shoofly pie, and Stromboli.

Pierogies are made of a potato dough base and stuffed with any number of ingredients, including mashed potatoes, cheese, cabbage, sauerkraut, mushrooms, and spinach. They are a popular food with people who have Polish or Ukrainian descendants. Shoofly pie is a molasses filled, layered pie popular with the Pennsylvania Dutch peoples. Stromboli use an Italian bread wrapped around a variety of cheese and meat fillings.

As you can see, many of the foods in Pennsylvania have strong ethnic and cultural ties, so knowing about the different people’s in your area will help you specialize your culinary style and choose which school to attend.

After graduating from a culinary school, the next question as a Pennsylvania job seeker is where your job prospects are. There are three or four major areas where the population density will maximize your job opportunities: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, and Erie. Keep in mind that Pennsylvania is a very large state as measured in square miles, and the population is spread out over this large area. During your search you may find pockets where the demand is very high but generally these four areas are your safest bets for employment opportunities.

Once you have found the job of your choice, you should know what the expected salaries are so you can be a good negotiator. Salaries range from $22,000 a year to as much as $60,000 for head chefs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary is about $42,000 a year for the entire industry.

When deciding to apply your skills and work in Pennsylvania, keep in mind the location of the school you want to attend. Schools located in the major population centers will likely be able to train you to specialize in many of the local cuisines and situate you for immediate employment after graduation.