Austin, TX, is known as the live music capital of the world. On Willie Nelson Blvd., the Moody Theater holds PBS's celebrated Austin City Limits (ACL) live concerts. The ACL Music Festival brings the fun to Zilker Park every year. On Sixth Street, seven blocks of live music spill onto the streets, with notes that are soothing, loud, dynamic, jarring and everything in between. But great music is not the only thing that makes Austin rock: The city's culinary world creates spectacular rhythms and beats of its own.
Austin has a rich food history woven with influences from Native Americans, Mexicans and early European settlers. Today, the city's food scene is steeped in every kind of food imaginable. While an Austin breakfast taco can always be found, one can also stumble upon grilled sweetbreads, gourmet donuts, ox tongue sliders and, of course, killer barbecue. Splashy-but-accurate news stories have helped the city snowball its reputation as a culinary gem. These include celebrity restaurant startups, such as Sandra Bullock's Bess Bistro; a Top Chef: Texas win by Paul Qui of Uchiko; and Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern: Austin," which included a segment on the pigeons of Sebastian Bonneau's Countryside Farm.
The city's food bragging rights hardly stop there. Austin is home to Amy's Ice Creams, the first Whole Foods Market, and even a celebrated Soup Peddler, who, with his dog, delivers soup via bicycle. Robb Walsh -- the James Beard award winner, founder of the annual Austin Hot Sauce Festival, and author of six acclaimed Texas cookbooks -- has been referred to as "the Indiana Jones of food writers." But there is plenty of room for new culinary genius in Austin and throughout Texas. According to a National Restaurant Association study, Texas is one of three states anticipated to lead the nation in restaurant sales growth in 2013 (NRA, 2012). Specifically, in 2013, Texas restaurants are projected to bring in $40.8 billion in sales, with Austin expected to be a notable contributor to this amount (NRA, 2011).
A major reason to attend culinary schools in Austin is the city's nurturing of new talent. In February 2013, Le Bistrette opened its doors, offering American cuisine prepared entirely by Austin culinary students (Statesman, 2013). The city's farmers' markets offer additional opportunities, as Sam Addison can attest: While attending culinary school in Austin, Addison jarred pickles and set up a stand at the market, unsure if his 20 jars would sell. Within the first hour he had sold out. By 2013, he was jarring 250 jars a week. These are no ordinary pickles: Addison won a San Francisco-based Good Food Award for his Jalapeno Mint Pickles a month after graduating from culinary school (The Burg, 2013).
In Austin, local foods like Addison's Pogue Mahone Pickles are found well beyond farmers' markets. It is a city that remembers the culinary arts when it celebrates the arts. Art Alliance Austin, for instance, exhibits (until they are eaten!) delectable culinary art displays alongside paintings, sculptures and photography for its Art Night Austin event. A focus on local food and the "art" in the culinary arts further establishes Austin as a food haven. With a backdrop of incredible music, sunny skies and funky, distinctive neighborhoods, Austin truly is a culinary student's dream come true.
The Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau: "Even Our Chefs are Rock Stars" http://www.austintexas.org/visit/eat/
The Burg: "Amherst native wins Good Food Award for pickles," February 13, 2013, Casey Gillis http://www.newsadvance.com/the_burg/food/local_flavor/article_44f75a70-75e5-11e2-8a77-001a4bcf6878.html
NRA: News & Research http://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/News/Economist%E2%80%99s-Notebook-Texas,-North-Dakota-and-Flori
NRA: Texas Restaurant Industry at a Glance http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/texas
Statesman: "Austin Community College restaurant is a hands-on classroom for students," February 19, 2013, Addie Broyles http://www.statesman.com/news/lifestyles/food-cooking/austin-community-college-restaurant-is-a-hands-on-/nWRtr/
Art Alliance Austin: Art Night Austin, 2013http://www.artallianceaustin.org/main-events/art-night-austin
For information on Culinary Schools in Austin, please visit any school below and request more information.
Get hands-on training with Le Cordon Bleu Schools of North America.
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