Want a career in Culinary Arts?

I was excited to spend a little time at Dixie Technical College last week. There are so many programs available and the students I talked to were excited about their training and future employment in their chosen careers.

I spent most of my time this visit in the Culinary Arts Kitchen. This is where I feel most comfortable.  There is something about cooking or baking, then sitting back and watching everyone enjoy what you made. As a former Career and Technical Education teacher, I taught Culinary Arts to high-school students. We spent many hours in the kitchen together, serving lunch to the teachers in our school restaurant, catering, traveling, competing and learning from each other. As with other kitchens, I was graciously welcomed in and had a chance to visit with the teachers and students in the program. The students had been busy preparing different kinds of salads, and were taking a short break to taste some of their creations.

Chef Jessi Cox takes the lead in this kitchen.  She was positive with the students and took some time to patiently teach them skills even after the cooking was over. Chef Jessi wants everyone to know that there are great opportunities for Culinary Arts students in St. George. We have a great culinary school right here, the Dixie Technical College’s Culinary Academy. And we have Chef Jessi. Jessi attended the Culinary Institute of America and has her own business as a personal chef.  She shared with me that there are many Culinary jobs available in Southwest Utah, they are posted on a board she keeps in the kitchen. She has 5 times more job openings than she has students, the need is urgent. So, the time has never been better if you are interested in a career in Culinary Arts.

When talking with the students, many of them had opportunities in high school to get Culinary training. Starting in Junior High School students can start looking into career pathways that will allow them to be better prepared for higher education. For example, students interested in Culinary Arts could take a Foods class or two in 9th grade, then move onto Culinary Arts/ProStart courses which are widely available to interested students. Along with these courses, students could take Entrepreneurship along with other business courses, and Culinary Arts 3 or Baking and Pastry, two new classes coming this Fall.

I met Maria Campbell. She said she was the oldest student in the class, but is interested in starting her own bed and breakfast. She was attending the college to gain experience for this new venture. Opportunities can be had for all ages and stages at Dixie Tech. The Culinary Arts program is only a year long, and apprenticeship opportunities are available in the area.

Thanks Chef Jessi and Dixie Technical College for allowing me to visit your campus to see all that you have to offer students in Southern Utah. More information about other programs at Dixie Technical College are coming soon!

So, if you’re in high school, talk to your school counselor or Foods teacher about Culinary Arts courses in your school.

If you are looking for a new career path in Culinary Arts, check out Dixie Technical College’s Culinary Arts program with Chef Jessi.


Culinary Arts Career Pathway chart from the Utah State Board of Education for students in High School.

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