How to Become a Chef Connecticut

If you’re looking at becoming a chef or any other type of culinary arts specialist, Connecticut is a great state to be. According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurant and food service jobs in Connecticut make up 9 percent of employment in the state, in about 8,000 food and drink establishments. [En Español]

Jobs are always in demand in the culinary arts sector, and for creative, driven individuals with natural leadership skills and a serious commitment to excellence in food preparation and service, a career as a chef could be an ideal goal.

Chefs typically take on the role as leader for almost all aspects of restaurant kitchens, and sometimes even manage the restaurant itself. From menu planning to marketing to stocking supplies, chefs have one of the most well-paying and dynamic jobs in the culinary arts

Requirements for Becoming a Chef in Connecticut

Those pursuing careers in culinary arts—which include baking, cooking, food preparation and administration—typically are required to get at least a minimum of training and certification, which can be acquired at various training institutions.

While each field is different, in-depth, hands-on training is essential in all cases. Professional chefs, though not necessarily formally certified, typically have years of experience working in various environments as cooks, as well as some business and managerial experience.

Culinary Arts Training and Educational Programs in Connecticut

There are several reputable culinary arts schools in Connecticut. Two include:

  • Lincoln Culinary Institute.The Lincoln Culinary Institute in Shelton, CT, offers culinary programs, including chef training, and is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC). Students study a range of cultural cooking traditions and learn knife skills, presentation, food science and menu planning as well as business skills.
  • Bristol Technical Education Center.Bristol Technical Education Center offers training in a variety of culinary arts focus areas leading to a two- or four-year degree. Students learn about everything from food safety to ordering, management and customer service. Paid work placements both during and after the program are available

Certification for Becoming a Chef in Connecticut

Though certification is not required to become a chef in Connecticut, a combination of formal education and hands-on restaurant experience is typically required to remain competitive in the job market. Most professional chefs have several years of cooking and managerial experience in restaurant settings. Career-oriented cooks and chefs will also want to consider getting certified by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) to ensure respect in the industry as well as advance their careers.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations for Chefs and Culinary Artists in Connecticut

As of 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 2,870 chefs and head cooks in the state of Connecticut, and this number is expected to increase by 7.2 percent to 3,080 by 2026. There will likely be around 390 annual job openings in this field. Most of the culinary sector job growth in this state will be centered around restaurant cooks.

In 2017, chefs in the state of Connecticut earned an average of $26.40 per hour, which is approximately $54,910.00 per year. This is the second-highest paying job in the culinary sector, second only to food service managers.

Working as a Chef in Connecticut

Throughout the U.S., there will be a continued demand for cooks and chefs at various levels. Connecticut is expected to be on par with many states in the sense that it will see steady growth in the restaurant and hospitality sector. Students looking to gain experience in well-respected establishments should consider working and training in urban centers such as Hartford, Bridgeport and Stamford, Connecticut, where there is likely to be an abundance of work for those in early or mid-level career phases.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT Area

Gateway Community College

20 Church Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06510
(203) 285-2000
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Gateway Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of New Haven. This public college has about 7,980 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually in the order of $4,168 and for students from outside the state in the order of $12,504 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,200, although this will vary with the program.

Lincoln Technical Institute-Shelton

8 Progress Drive, Shelton, Connecticut 06484
(203) 929-0592 x45800
Professional Baking & Pastry Chef Training – Certificate Program

Lincoln Technical Institute offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are taught at their Shelton campus in Shelton in Fairfield County, CT. The college has in the order of 577 students in total, with most students on programs that last under 2 years. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Tuition fees are around $28,057 yearly. Study materials can cost about $1,207, depending on the program chosen.

Naugatuck Valley Community College

750 Chase Parkway, Waterbury, Connecticut 06708-3089
(203) 575-8040
Culinary – Certificate Program

Naugatuck Valley Community College’s Certificate-level Culinary program is taught at their campus in Waterbury in New Haven County. Most of the school’s 6,976 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually in the order of $4,208 and for students from outside the state in the order of $12,544 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,200, although this will vary with the program.

Norwalk Community College

188 Richards Avenue, Norwalk, Connecticut 06854
(203) 857-7060
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Culinary Arts at Norwalk Community College can be taken at their campus in the city of Norwalk, CT. The college has about 6,054 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Fees for tuition for in-state students are around $4,188 and for out-of-state students likely to be about $12,524 yearly. Study materials can cost about $1,200, depending on the program chosen.

Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT Area

Bristol Technical Education Center

431 Minor Street, Bristol, Connecticut 06010
(860) 584-8433 x304
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Bristol Technical Education Center’s Certificate program in Culinary Arts is offered at their campus in Bristol in Hartford County, CT. Most of the school’s 46 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The college is institutionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Technical and Career Institutions. The cost of tuition is likely to be in the order of $3,760 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $500, although this will vary with the program.

Manchester Community College

Great Path, Manchester, Connecticut 06040
(860) 512-3000
Professional Baker – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Manchester Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in Manchester in Hartford County. The college has approximately 6,891 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-state students is in the order of $4,168 and for students from outside the state in the order of $12,504 annually, while study materials may cost around $1,200, depending on the program.

* Tuition fees and accredition status are correct at the time of writing, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm with college before applying.

Neighbor States

See options in New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island.