Blueberry pie, blueberry cobbler, blueberry scones . . . Maine is well known for delicious treats featuring its famous wild blueberries. Behind the scenes are the culinary professionals who have the education and training needed to produce these tasty dishes for our enjoyment. There are over 61,600 restaurant and food service workers in the state, with another 4,700 jobs expected to be added by 2026. The demand for professional culinary professionals is on the rise and earning a certificate, diploma, or degree in the culinary arts is a great way to move up the career ladder.
We created a list of the top 5 best culinary schools in Maine for 2016. A quality culinary school offers a variety of coursework, professional staff, individualized attention, a modern cooking lab, and professional development opportunities. Our list includes schools offering a variety of programs that have a positive reputation in the industry based on our research.
#5. York County Community College-Wells, Maine
Culinary Program: AAS Degree in Culinary Arts; AAS Degree in Baking and Pastry
York County Community College is a top culinary school offering an AAS Degree in Culinary Arts and a brand new AAS Degree in Baking and Pastry. Students are encouraged to be creative in the kitchen and learn the importance of flavor, aroma, and presentation in their work. A state-of-the-art cooking lab serves as a classroom, allowing students access to hands-on instruction on a daily basis. Both programs emphasize the use of fresh, local ingredients and students are taught principles of sustainable food sourcing. Management concepts are taught throughout the program, preparing students for leadership positions or bakery/restaurant ownership.
#4. Kennebec Valley Community College-Fairfield, Maine
Culinary Program: AAS Degree in Culinary Arts
Kennebec Valley Community College features an AAS Degree in Culinary Arts with a farm-to-table focus. Students learn farming production methods including the use of sustainable and ethical ingredients in their creations. Coursework also covers menu planning, sanitation practices, food purchasing, and meal serving. Most students can complete the program in just two years and are prepared to work as a cook in a professional kitchen.
#3. Central Maine Community College-Auburn, Maine
Culinary Program: AAS Degree in Restaurant Management; Culinary Arts Certificate
The Culinary Arts Certificate program from Central Maine Community College features a diverse curriculum with classroom instruction, dining room training, and hands-on learning in a state-of-the-art kitchen lab. Coursework covers areas such as menu planning, sanitation, food preparation, meal serving, and food storage. Students are able to gain professional experience while working toward their degree through experience in the dining room facilities. Graduates are prepared to work as cooks, assistant cooks, or assistant bakers in a variety of culinary settings including restaurants, schools, hospitals, and commercial kitchens.
#2. Eastern Maine Community College-Bangor, Maine
Culinary Program: AAS Degree in Culinary Arts; Food Service Specialist Certificate
Eastern Maine Community College is a top culinary school offering both an AAS in Culinary Arts and a Food Service Specialist Certificate. Students learn in a state-of-the-art commercial grade kitchen while receiving personalized training. The AAS degree program features instruction in a variety of cuisine including French, International, and American regional. Students also learn pastry arts, buffet catering, garde manger, and tableside cookery. Graduates have gone on to work in a variety of positions including entry and mid level cooking positions and those with management responsibility. The Certificate program features training in basic skills and cooking methods allowing students to be successful in entry level positions.
#1. Southern Maine Community College-Portland, Maine
Culinary Program: AAS Degree in Culinary Arts
Southern Maine Community College features an AAS Degree in Culinary Arts that provides students the opportunity for international study. Students may complete international study tours in either Austria or Italy that count toward their elective credits. The program curriculum covers inventory control, culinary math, business management, accounting principles, bookkeeping and food preparation. Coursework includes Buffet Preparation Techniques, Dining Room Service, Culinary Skills, and Basic/Advanced Pastry and Baking. A 400 clock hour externship experience gives students the chance to apply their skills and training in a real work setting before graduation.