Few states have such a strong culinary tradition as Alabama culinary arts. In large part, this is a result of Southerners’ love of good food and the tradition of handing down recipes from parent to child. With a long tradition of rich southern foods and spectacular regional recipes, Alabama’s food heritage is well known. It isn’t surprising that it has given rise to renowned regional specialists such as Frank Stitt, owner of the Bottega, Chez Fonfon and the Highlands Bar and Grill, and renowned Chef George Panayiotou.
For Alabama residents with a love of cooking in their hearts, there are many ways to pursue a career in cooking. Because there are so many family owned restaurants that specialize in local cuisine and traditional recipes, some aspiring cooks apprentice themselves at well-known restaurants. Working their way up from waiting tables to food prep, they learn on the job and may become part of the cooking staff as they learn cherished secret recipes.
For the most versatile education, however, those interested in Alabama culinary arts should invest in a well-rounded education at a regional culinary school. By attending a culinary institute, students can learn all of the many secrets of fine cuisine and put their own special regional stamp on them as well. This will make them more marketable and give them the opportunity to vary their approach and broaden their skills.
There is a heightened interest in regional flavors and tradition southern cooking, due in part to such southern cooking shows as Paula’s Home Cooking, featuring southern cook Paula Deen. Today more and more people are interested in eating and preparing foods with Alabama staple ingredients such as sweet potatoes, peanuts, pecans, shrimp, watermelon, honey, grits and blackberries.
Today you can find exquisite southern flavors being served in the country’s finest restaurants. Nothing says “comfort” like southern dishes such as pecan pie and sweet potatoes. Alabama culinary arts today go far beyond traditional southern cooking by adding unique twists on these old favorites. Exotic ingredients and new methods of preparation elevate home cooking to art.
If you love southern cuisine and would like to market yourself as a regional chef, consider attending one of the fine culinary schools in the south and enrolling in a complete Culinary Arts course. These programs give you a complete education in preparing everything from main courses to pastries and salads. Today’s culinary schools also give more attention to regional cooking styles, which will give you even more expertise in southern cooking along with some new twists.
There are several key features to look for in a good culinary arts program, including:
Certification and accreditation by a governing board
Affiliation with a known and respected chef’s organization such as the American Culinary Federation
Staff that includes nutrition experts, professional chefs and pastry experts
A state-of-the-art kitchen
Coursework that includes food sciences, hospitality services management, food and nutrition studies and even pastry preparation
Selected classes that focus on a variety of regional and ethnic cuisines
Today there are many culinary arts schools in the south that will give you an excellent, well-rounded education. Be sure to look at a number of culinary schools in your region and choose the one that is best for you and your dream of having an Alabama culinary arts career.