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Career and Education Opportunities for Chefs in Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fort Smith, Arkansas provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for chefs. There are currently 380 working chefs in Arkansas; this should grow 16% to 440 working chefs in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for chefs, which sees this job pool growing by about 0.2% over the next eight years. Chefs generally direct the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, or other foods.

Chefs earn about $15 per hour or $32,820 annually on average in Arkansas and about $18 per hour or $38,770 annually on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Cooking, people working as chefs in Arkansas earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Cooking nationally. Jobs in this field include: cake mixer, garde manger chef, and culinary artist.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Fort Smith where you can study to be a chef, among nine schools of higher education total in the Fort Smith area. The most common level of education for chefs is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a chef if you already have a high school diploma.


Chef video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, chefs direct the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, or other foods. They also may plan and price menu items, order supplies, and keep records and accounts.

Chefs order or requisition food and other supplies needed to insure efficient operation. They also instruct cooks and other staff in the preparation and presentation of food. Equally important, chefs have to check the quantity and quality of received products. They are often called upon to check the quality of raw and cooked food products to insure that standards are met. They are expected to inspect supplies and work areas to insure conformance to established standards. Finally, chefs monitor sanitation practices to insure that employees follow standards and regulations.

Every day, chefs are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for chefs to analyze recipes to assign prices to menu items, on the basis of food and overhead costs. They are often called upon to meet with sales representatives so as to negotiate prices and order supplies. They also manage equipment purchases and repairs. They are sometimes expected to recruit and hire staff, including cooks and other kitchen staff. Somewhat less frequently, chefs are also expected to formulate and supervise the food preparation and cooking efforts of multiple kitchens or restaurants in an establishment such as a restaurant chain or hotel.

Chefs sometimes are asked to record production and operational data on specified forms. and meet with patrons to consider menus for special occasions such as weddings and banquets. And finally, they sometimes have to supervise and direct efforts of cooks and staff working on food preparation.

Like many other jobs, chefs must be reliable and be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Fort Smith include:

  • Food and Beverage Supervisor. Supervise workers engaged in preparing and serving food.
  • Institutional Cook. Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.
  • Restaurant Chef. Prepare, season, and cook soups, meats, or other foodstuffs in restaurants. May order supplies, keep records and accounts, price items on menu, or plan menu.


Kiamichi Technology Center-Poteau - Poteau, OK

Kiamichi Technology Center-Poteau, 1509 S McKenna, Poteau, OK 74953. Kiamichi Technology Center-Poteau is a small school located in Poteau, Oklahoma. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 577 students. Kiamichi Technology Center-Poteau has a two to four year program in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts.


Certified Correctional Foodservice Professional: A key purpose of the Certified Correctional Foodservice Professional certification is to develop the highest standards in.

For more information, see the American Correctional Food Service Association website.

Preventing Disease Transmission: A two-hour training module for employers and employees who, while on the job, may be exposed to blood or other body fluids that could cause infection.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.

Quality Coffee Certification Program: The purpose of QCCP is to provide operators with sales tools and knowledge that will help them begin or enhance their own quality coffee program for their customers.

For more information, see the National Automatic Merchandising Association website.


Fort Smith, Arkansas
Fort Smith, Arkansas photo by Infrogmation

Fort Smith is located in Sebastian County, Arkansas. It has a population of over 84,716, which has grown by 5.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Fort Smith, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Fort Smith are priced at $151,400 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, two hundred one new homes were constructed in Fort Smith, down from two hundred ninety-four the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Fort Smith are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is food, construction, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 17 minutes. More than 18.6% of Fort Smith residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.7%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fort Smith is 8.1%, which is greater than Arkansas's average of 6.9%.

The percentage of Fort Smith residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 68.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Mallalieu United Methodist Church, Loves Chapel Seventh Day Adventist Church and King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church are among the churches located in Fort Smith. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Fort Smith is home to the Fort Smith Trolly Museum and the Fort Smith Inter-Faith Community Center as well as Riverfront Park and Kay Rodgers Park. Shopping centers in the area include Laville Shopping Center, Maybranch Shopping Center and Midland Mall Shopping Center. Visitors to Fort Smith can choose from Patel P L, Westark Inn Motel and Stonewall Jackson Inn for temporary stays in the area.