A Recipe for Success: The Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute at the AACC

Mary Ellen MasonThe Culinary arts and Tourism Institute at the Anne Arundel Community College of Hospitality offers a world-class curriculum and has been named an “Exemplary Program” by the American Culinary Federation Foundation.  We have had the honor to interview Director Mary Ellen Mason about the advantages of the Institute.

What makes the Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute special?

Our highly qualified, dedicated instructors; a world-class curriculum and our state-of-the-art facilities make HCAT special!

HCAT’s accreditations further separate us from other programs. The Hotel/Restaurant Management Associate degree program, culinary option, is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Foundation Accreditation Commission and is recognized as an “Exemplary Program,” one of only 22 in the country. Our Hotel/Lodging Management certificate is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration. HCAT is one of only 14 colleges in the country with both accreditations.

We also offer internship opportunities in Italy and Hawaii plus training and certification opportunities for culinary professionals.

What kind of courses/programs do you offer? 

HCAT offers degree and certificate programs in culinary, baking/pastry arts, hotel management, catering and event planning. Additionally, we offer an array of fun, avocational classes in food and wine for beginners as well as accomplished home cooks; business contract training scheduled either on or off site and professional, industry training and certification.

What are classes like? 

We offer credit degree and certificate classes during the day, evenings and weekends on a semester basis. Noncredit avocational classes are offered throughout the year in the evening and weekends. A typical lab production class is offered for five hours one day per week. Noncredit avocational classes are usually offered as one three-hour session.

Could you tell us about the teaching facilities?

HCAT has a 10,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art training facility in the Glen Burnie Town Center, which includes two commercial kitchens, a technology smart classroom, 24-unit computer classroom and two café style classrooms. This is in addition to the training facilities on the Arnold campus, which includes a baking/pastry lab, a culinary lab and a wine demonstration room.

What is the admissions process like?

Anne Arundel Community College is an open-door institution. Students submit a free application form to the Admissions and Enrollment Development office as early as possible and before the term when admission is desired. Simply visit www.aacc.edu/admissions to get started.

What responses have you received from your students?

Students consistently state that HCAT offers the highest quality education at an affordable cost. The accreditations attest to HCAT’s standards for excellence. As most of HCAT students work, class schedules are flexible and convenient.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the Institute?

We have a team of dedicated, business and industry partners who volunteer their time and expertise to help us keep our curriculum and facilities and equipment current and state-of-the art. This HCAT Advisory Board is instrumental to HCAT’s continued success.

One of our green initiatives is beekeeping. As part of our Food Science curriculum, HCAT maintains two active beehives. Our first extraction occurred last July when we captured over 50 pounds of honey for use in our lab production. 


If you had to pick the most important feature of a recipe, what would it be?