Pasadena might not jump out from the map of Southern California as an epicurean destination, but this city of about 137,000 in North Los Angeles County has some significant culinary cred. Not only is a campus of one of the most prestigious cooking academies in the country among the culinary schools in Pasadena, but it lays claim to being both the birthplace of gastronomic icon Julia Child and the origin of the See's Candies company that satisfies sweet teeth from Illinois to Hong Kong. With credentials like that, one might imagine that eateries in the home of the Rose Bowl would have something for every taste.
Food served locally in Pasadena runs the gamut from burgers to blintzes, from eastern and southern Asian to coastal and continental Mexican. Residents have a host of tried-and-true options for any meal of the day -- breakfast, brunch, lunch, supper, and whatever you prefer to call the pizza, tacos or fried eggs that get consumed between midnight and 4 a.m.
Pasadena's culinary roots are buried firmly in the soil of traditional California cuisine, which is sometimes more about fresh, natural, seasonal ingredients than it is about particular dishes or sauces. Prominent ingredients in California-style dishes include avocado, tomato, figs, grilled fish or chicken, artichokes, lettuces, strawberries, eggs and dairy -- all things available from the rich agricultural potential of the state's temperate climate and long growing seasons.
California cuisine borrows a great deal of its methods from French cooking, but another culture's methods and dishes are easily as prominent as those imported from across the Atlantic. California was once a part of Mexico, after all, and the ubiquity of panaderias, carnicerias and taquerias in Pasadena and throughout Southern California makes no secret of that bit of history.
In fact, contemporary wisdom suggests that the whole nation was introduced to tacos, taquitos, burritos and the like while Southern California served as the main portal between the United States of Mexico and the United States of America. Whether students at Pasadena culinary schools intend to study French, Mexican, Californian, continental American or another style of cooking, they'll have an environment that can provide experience in it from both sides of the counter.
Pasadena's rich history and diverse culinary environment make for a promising combination in terms of launching the careers of new chefs. For one thing, the surge in mobile-kitchen establishments has caught on in the Crown City, and graduates of Pasadena culinary schools can get in the food-truck game with little more than a hot idea and a relatively small amount of startup capital.
With a high-profile culinary academy maintaining a campus here, the customary linkages between culinary school and traditional kitchens still exist. After graduation, new chefs may have the opportunity to study under the minds behind the menus at upscale dining rooms such as the Royce and the Raymond or keep it casual, fresh and organic at California-style spots like Green Street Restaurant.
The restaurant scene is growing and changing all over California, and Pasadena is no exception. Pasadena culinary schools can help aspiring chefs, restaurateurs and other kitchen maestros be a part of the change as it happens.
"Pasadena (city), California, "State & County QuickFacts," U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce, January 10, 2013, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/0656000.html
"Restaurants," Pasadena, The Official Visitors Site for Pasadena, Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau, http://www.pasadenacal.com/visitors/restaurants
"What is California Cuisine?," wiseGEEK, 2013, http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-california-cuisine.htm
"The California Taco Trail: 'How Mexican Food Conquered America'," The Salt, National Public Radio, Carolina Miranda, April 23, 2012, http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/04/23/150886690/the-california-taco-trail-how-mexican-food-conquered-america
"A Tribute to the Pillars of the Pasadena Restaurant Scene," Mr. Pasadena, October 6, 2011, http://mrpasadena.net/2011/10/06/a-tribute-to-the-pillars-of-the-pasadena-restaurant-scene/
For information on Culinary Schools in Pasadena, please visit any school below and request more information.
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