Sarasota and its 55,000 inhabitants is best defined by its culture, ocean front climate and is increasingly being hailed as a center of culinary creativity and excellence. Locals and tourists enjoy fresh produce and plentiful seafood, and perhaps interestingly, within a 20-mile radius of downtown Sarasota, there are more Zagat top-scoring restaurants than any other place in the state. But this is still a small community and competition is tight. The median annual executive chef salary in Sarasota is a surprising $56,000, however line cooks can expect a much lower $21,000 annual salary.
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While Jacksonville still has much to prove in the food world, it has a few key elements on its side: in addition to a passionate community and increasingly widespread attention, the city also boasts great local produce for ten months out of the year, as well as fresh oysters, shrimp and snapper and has the population density, about 900,000 people, to help support it.
Including Kissimmee and Sanford areas, sunny Orlando with its year-round perfect weather and abundant theme parks, just might be one of the happiest places on earth. And when it comes to food, Orlando delivers. Millions of tourists flock to Florida's coasts and cities every year, so it's no surprise that Orlando caters to a wide variety of tastes, from tapas to molecular gastronomy, the city has more to offer in terms of foodie culture than initially meets the eye. Vietnamese cuisine, Irish pubs, Spanish tapas and food trucks, it's all here.
Tampa Bay is undergoing a gastronomic revolution. An area long known for basic franchise and fast food fare, Tampa Bay is now also garnering culinary investments, bringing in a new generation of establishments and a renewed focus on local and sustainable food production. Tampa's culinary scene is both traditional and evolved - there are strong roots of Spanish, German, Greek, Italian and Cuban flavors, refined by major trends like local sourcing and the farm-to-table movement.
Miami is the undisputed leader in the culinary scene in all of Florida, and is home to numerous award-winning restaurants. Overall 15 restaurants have received recognition from Forbes Travel Guide's annual star award rankings, including 5- and 4-star recommendations, more than any other county in the state. With near perfect weather, diverse ethnic food options, and one of the best culinary destinations in Florida, Miami just may be the most attractive option for students considering a culinary education.
The state of Florida is known around the world for its white sandy beaches, crystal blue waters, endless sunshine and is home to more attractions than anywhere else in the U.S. The Sunshine State is also known for its diversity of food; from the Cuban-influenced cuisines of Miami to the copious seafood that is readily available throughout the state, the culinary industry is growing in Florida and when you add in major attractions like Disney World and the Florida Keys, the state is a prime location for those interested in hospitality management.