How to Become a Chef Louisiana

As one of America’s most historically multicultural states, with its rich heritage of French, Haitian, Spanish, Native American and African cultures, Louisiana has a food scene second to none. Becoming a chef, food service manager or baker in Louisiana means sharing your love of food and hospitality in a way that embraces the state’s joie de vivre. Louisiana is unique [En Español]

Requirements for Becoming a Chef in Louisiana

There are no formal educational requirements for becoming a chef in Louisiana, and some people follow the tried-and-true, on-the-job training path, working their way up from dishwasher or prep cook. In many ways this is a good approach, since you’ll be exposed to the rhythms of real restaurant life and can decide whether this is the career for you or not. But to jumpstart your career, attending culinary school after getting your high school diploma or GED is a good idea.

You can spend between one and four years studying to become a chef and graduate with a diploma, certificate, associate’s or bachelor’s degree. You can also choose to focus on a particular field, whether it’s culinary operations, patisserie or food service.

Culinary Arts Programs in Louisiana

There are numerous culinary schools throughout the state, including locations in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles and Grambling. Whether you decide to get a certificate, a diploma, an associate’s degree or a Bachelor of Science, formal education in culinary arts will help you prepare for a long and successful career.

  • Louisiana Culinary Institute, Baton Rouge. Considered the South’s premier culinary school, the Louisiana Culinary Institute offers associate degree programs that allow you to specialize in culinary arts, baking and pastry or hospitality culinary management. The premises include a huge facility with two baking labs, a full service restaurant kitchen and two project kitchens. You’ll get a low 1:16 instructor-to-student ratio, and students also have the opportunity to do community outreach with the American Culinary Foundation of Baton Rouge.
  • SOWELA Technical Community College, Lake Charles. Students can choose either a diploma/certificate or an associate’s degree option at this school. The diploma/certificate option includes a Baking and Pastries of the South course as part of its Entry-Level Baker designation. The associate’s degree program can be completed either on campus or online.
  • New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute, New Orleans. This school offers both Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Certificate programs that can be completed within 10 months. This new school is admitting students beginning in January 2019 and provides an industry-focused approach in a huge, five-story, 90,000-square-foot facility with a wine and spirits lab as well as teaching kitchens and conventional lecture classrooms and computer labs.

Certification and Licensing

There are no state licensing requirements for chefs in Louisiana, although American Culinary Federation certification may help you jump start your career and will provide networking opportunities and allow you to demonstrate your expertise to potential employers.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the more than 1,700 chefs and head cooks working in Louisiana as of 2017 earned an hourly average of $19.04, which translates to an average annual salary of $39,600. The number of culinary artists is expected to grow by 8 percent through 2026, so job prospects for these workers are good in this Delta State.

Working as a Chef in Louisiana

With well over 8,000 food and beverage operations in Louisiana, the industry is worth almost $9 billion annually. Chefs can choose to work in any part of the state, and while food historian and TV presenter Alton Brown praised New Orleans’ establishments, he also singled out the thousands of roadside and small-town restaurants, often run by third- and fourth-generation chef-owners, as providing some of the best food in a state renowned for its exciting mix of Cajun, Creole and many other cuisines.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

Baton Rouge, LA Area

Capital Area Technical College

3250 North Acadian Thruway East, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70805
(225) 359-9201
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Capital Area Technical College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of Baton Rouge, LA. This public college has about 785 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly about $4,221 and for students from other states around $8,299 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,220, depending on the program.

Louisiana Culinary Institute

10550 Airline Hwy, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70816
(225) 769-8820
Advanced Culinary Arts – Associate Program

The Advanced Culinary Arts Associate’s program in Advanced Culinary Arts at Louisiana Culinary Institute can be taken at their campus in Baton Rouge in East Baton Rouge County. Most of the school’s 207 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. Fees for tuition are likely to be about $14,575 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $3,000, although this will vary with the program.

Virginia College-Baton Rouge

9501 Cortana Place, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70815-8604
(225) 236-3900
Pastry Arts – Certificate Program

Virginia College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are imparted at their Baton Rouge campus in the city of Baton Rouge. Most of the school’s 435 students are on 2-year programs. The cost of tuition is usually in the order of $14,632 per year.

Hammond nonmetropolitan area Area

Northshore Technical Community College

1710 Sullivan Dr, Bogalusa, Louisiana 70427
(985) 732-6640 x100
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Northshore Technical Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Bogalusa in Washington County. The college has round 3,655 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. Tuition fees for in-state students are generally around $4,103 and for out-of-state students approximately $7,612 annually, while study materials may cost roughly $1,220, depending on the program.

Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, LA Area

Nicholls State University

University Station La Hwy 1, Thibodaux, Louisiana 70310
(877) 642-4655
Culinary Arts – Associate Program, Culinary Arts – Bachelor Program

Nicholls State University offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Bachelor program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Thibodaux, LA. Of the 6,158 students, about 11% are postgraduates. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly about $7,641 and for students from other states around $18,572 for each academic year. Books and supplies can cost roughly $1,220, although this will depend on the program.

Lafayette, LA Area

South Louisiana Community College

1101 Bertrand Drive, Lafayette, Louisiana 70506-4109
(337) 521-9000
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

South Louisiana Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are taught at their campus in the city of Lafayette, Louisiana. Most of the school’s 6,958 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-state students is likely to be around $4,205 and for out-of-state students likely to be about $8,680 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,220, although this varies from program to program.

Lake Charles, LA Area

SOWELA Technical Community College

3820 J Bennett Johnston Ave, Lake Charles, Louisiana 70615
(337) 421-6565
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

SOWELA Technical Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Lake Charles. This public college has about 3,722 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly in the order of $4,185 and for students from outside the state around $7,612 for each academic year. Learning materials may cost roughly $1,200, although this will vary with the program.

New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA Area

Crescent City Bartending School

209 N. Broad, New Orleans, Louisiana 70119
(504) 822-3362
Bartending – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Bartending at Crescent City Bartending School can be taken at their campus in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. Most of the school’s 373 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The Bartending program, with a duration of 30 credit hours, is the college’s largest program. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training. The cost of tuition is likely to be in the order of $8,500 per year.

Delgado Community College

615 City Park Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana 70119
(504) 671-5000
Pastry Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Management – Associate Program

Delgado Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. Most of the school’s 16,131 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually about $3,911 and for students from other states in the order of $8,200 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,200, depending on the program chosen.

Nunez Community College

3710 Paris Rd, Chalmette, Louisiana 70043
(504) 278-6200
Culinary Arts- Basic – Certificate Program, Culinary Entrepreneurship – Associate Program

Nunez Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are based at their campus in Chalmette in Saint Bernard County, Louisiana. This public college has in the region of 2,629 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly around $4,103 and for out-of-state students around $7,602 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,250, depending on the program.

Shreveport-Bossier City, LA Area

Bossier Parish Community College

6220 East Texas, Bossier City, Louisiana 71111-6922
(318) 678-6000
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Culinary Arts at Bossier Parish Community College is based at their campus in the city of Bossier City, LA. The majority of of the school’s 7,839 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly around $4,079 and for out-of-state students around $8,589 for each academic year, while books and supplies may cost roughly $1,200, although this varies from program to program.

Winnsboro nonmetropolitan area Area

Northwest Louisiana Technical College

9500 Industrial Drive, Minden, Louisiana 71055-0000
(318) 371-3035
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Northwest Louisiana Technical College offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are offered at their campus in Minden in Webster County. This public college has round 2,924 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly in the order of $2,976 and for students from outside the state around $7,481 for each academic year, while books and supplies may cost roughly $1,250, although this varies from program to 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

Residents of Louisiana may also wish to review their options in Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.