Many might know Ohio as the Buckeye State, home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and mile after mile of corn fields. But lesser-known delights can be found in a quick survey of Ohio's history, such as the invention of the first pop-top can, created by Ermal Fraze in Kettering, or the first hot dog introduced to the world in 1900 by Harry M. Stevens (50States.com). From Cincinnati-style chili to delectable barbecue, Ohio is home to more than a few culinary traditions that make this state a palate pleaser.
A taste of Ohio
Ohio has long been a major player in agriculture and foodstuffs. In the early 19th century, Cincinnati was home to a booming hog industry, one that was so large the city earned the nickname "Porkopolis," serving the nearby states of Kentucky and Indiana as well as the state's own hog farming operations. Given the popularity of the hog industry in Ohio, it is no wonder that eventually, barbecue would become a state staple (foodtimeline.org).
In 1965, tomato juice was so popular in the state that it was named the official state drink (foodtimeline.org). In fact, Paragon tomatoes were invented in 1870 by Alexander Livingston, an enterprising farmer who would eventually create seventeen different varieties of the cooking staple. But he didn't stop there: Some varieties of sweet corn and cabbage were also in his seed arsenal. Reynoldsburg, Ohio is now known as the "Home of the Tomato" (ci.reynoldsburg.oh.us).
In addition to the many fruits and vegetables that flourish in rich Ohio soil, its residents' kitchens have been known to be a great melting pot. The Germans brought their love of sauerkraut and sausages, pioneer women brought varieties of beans, and Czech immigrants introduced fish in delectable sauces. The Amish and the Shakers brought their simple meals, as well as treats that have become a local staple. John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, brought apple orchards to Ohio (foodtimeline.org).
Even in modern days, new flavors from around the world are finding a foothold in Ohio. Skyline Chili is a great example -- an establishment known for "Cincinnati-style chili," the famous restaurant was founded in 1949 by a family from Greece (skylinechili.com).
Learn how to cook in Ohio
The state of Ohio has a rich, delicious history of good food, and the restaurant industry reflects the diversity and popularity of state foods. The state of Ohio has well over 21,000 restaurants projected to bring in over $17.4 billion in revenue for the state in 2013. The good eats may only get bigger, as Ohio is expected to add over 31,900 new culinary jobs from 2013 to 2023. Today, a full ten percent of Ohio residents -- about 526,700 of them -- are employed in the food industry (restaurant.org, 2013).
Culinary schools in Ohio can help budding chefs go from learning about the frying pan to cooking over their own fire. From instruction on basic techniques to more advanced cooking tricks, culinary schools can be a great way for an aspiring cook to explore a possible new career path. No matter where a cook attends school, the skills learned in the classroom can continue to grow as new chefs work under the tutelage of master chefs and long-time restaurant owners. From barbecue to Buckeye Candy to the beloved tomato, culinary schools in Ohio can help cooks take a bite out of a state with a buffet of options for employment.
"Historical Reynoldsburg," Reynoldsburg: The City of Respect, 2008, http://www.ci.reynoldsburg.oh.us/historical-reynoldsburg.aspx
"Ohio," The Food Timeline, 2013, http://www.foodtimeline.org/statefoods.html#ohio
"Ohio Facts and Trivia," 50States.com, 2013, http://www.50states.com/facts/ohio.htm#.UUyrOVfwKoo
"Ohio Restaurant Industry at a Glance," National Restaurant Association, 2013, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/ohio
"The Story of Skyline Chili," Skyline, 2007, http://www.skylinechili.com/story.php
For information on Culinary Schools in Ohio, please visit any school below and request more information.