How to Become a Chef Minnesota

Minnesota residents who enjoy working with food and want careers in fast-paced, exciting environments might want to consider a career in the culinary arts field. In Minnesota, restaurant, institution and cafeteria cooks are paid well and jobs are predicted to increase over the next decade. While cooks generally prepare food, receive instructions from a superior and help with kitchen prep and cleanup, chefs and head cooks direct and manage cooking activity and meal plans. Those who work in the culinary arts can achieve prominent career status with experience and education. [En Español]

Requirements for Becoming a Chef in Minnesota

There are no Minnesota state requirements to be employed in the culinary arts, besides basic food and kitchen safety knowledge. A high school degree or GED is recommended before beginning one’s career. All food-serving establishments in Minnesota are required to have one Certified Food Manager (CMF) on staff, as ordered by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). This certification must be renewed every three years.

Culinary Arts Training and Educational Programs in Minnesota

With an abundance of culinary arts programs in the area, Minnesota cooks and chefs have a wide range of options for furthering their education. The American Culinary Federation (ACF) offers scholarships and career help to hard-working and talented students. Here are a few of the top culinary arts schools in Minnesota:

  • Hennepin Technical College. Located in Twin Cities’ suburbs Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie, this school offers a Culinary Arts Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree, diploma, occupational certificate and additional technical certificates in the culinary arts field.
  • Saint Paul College. Those who graduate from this school’s A.A.S. program will be eligible to receive ACF Certified Culinarian certification. Other programs offered by this school are the Culinary Arts Diploma, which prepares cooks for work in industrial and restaurant settings, and post-graduate Culinary Arts study.

Certification for Becoming a Chef in Minnesota

The most widely recognized certification in the culinary arts is that granted by the ACF. There are a total of 16 levels and specialties within the culinary arts field that can be achieved through work in the kitchen and the classroom. By gaining work experience and studying in culinary arts programs, cooks and chefs can earn higher certifications and enhance their culinary reputations.

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

Cooks in Minnesota are paid well compared to national standards. In 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that institution and cafeteria cooks earned a mean income of $15.19 per hour. Minnesota chefs and head cooks earned a mean income of $23.22 per hour, while “other cooks in Minnesota were paid, on average, $12-14 per hour. Food service managers in Minnesota were paid the highest, with a mean income of $27.31 per hour.

By far, the highest number of employed culinary artists in 2016 were restaurant cooks, with 25,610 employed in Minnesota. According to the BLS, that number is expected to increase by 7.2 percent by 2026.

Working as a Chef in Minnesota

In 2017, chefs and head cooks in Minnesota were mostly working in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, with 1,750 employed in the Twin Cities. Most of Minnesota’s restaurant cooks were employed in the Twin Cities as well, with 19,190 employed that year. The numbers show that job prospects are looking good for chefs, cooks and food service managers right now and into the future. Becoming a culinary artist is a rewarding career path with plenty of job opportunities available in Minnesota.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

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Duluth, MN-WI Area

Hibbing Community College

1515 E 25th St, Hibbing, Minnesota 55746
(218) 262-7200
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Culinary Arts at Hibbing Community College is based at their campus in the town of Hibbing. The college has in the region of 1,344 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-state students is likely to be around $5,262 and for out-of-state students likely to be about $6,433 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,050, although this varies from program to program.

Mankato-North Mankato, MN Area

South Central College

1920 Lee Blvd, North Mankato, Minnesota 56003-1920
(507) 389-7200
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

South Central College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of North Mankato, Minnesota. This public college has around 2,960 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees are usually around $5,369 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,250, depending on the program chosen.

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Area

Hennepin Technical College

9000 Brooklyn Blvd, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota 55445
(952) 995-1300
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Hennepin Technical College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are based at their campus in Brooklyn Park in Hennepin County, Minnesota. This public college has about 5,676 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition is likely to be in the order of $5,130 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $2,000, although this will vary with the program.

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-Minneapolis

1315 Mendota Heights Road, Mendota Heights, Minnesota 55120-9914
(651) 675-4700
Pâtisserie And Baking – Certificate Program, Pâtisserie And Baking – Associate Program

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are imparted at their Minneapolis campus in Mendota Heights in Dakota County. This private, for-profit college has in the region of 403 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Fees for tuition are likely to be about $13,567 for each academic year.

Saint Paul College

235 Marshall Ave, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102-9808
(651) 846-1600
Pastry and Baking – Certificate Program

Saint Paul College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are offered at their campus in the city of Saint Paul. Most of the school’s 6,428 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees are around $5,458 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,200, although this will depend on the program.

Northwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area Area

Minnesota State Community and Technical College

1414 College Way, Fergus Falls, Minnesota 56537-1000
(218) 736-1500
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Minnesota State Community and Technical College’s Certificate program is offered at their campus in the town of Fergus Falls. The majority of of the school’s 6,391 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition are likely to be about $5,338 for each academic year. Learning materials may cost roughly $1,960, although this will vary with the program.

St. Cloud, MN Area

St Cloud Technical and Community College

1540 Northway Drive, Saint Cloud, Minnesota 56303-1240
(320) 308-5000
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

St Cloud Technical and Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Saint Cloud. This public college has about 4,701 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees are broadly around $5,295 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $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

Residents of Minnesota may also wish to review their options in Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.