Fast Recipes Feature: Culinary Arts & Hospitality Studies in San Francisco

Culinary Arts and Hospitality programs at CCSF The City College of San Francisco offers a Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Program with a strong emphasis on hands on experience.  The program boasts low tuition costs and a strong presence of graduates in the San Francisco culinary arts and hospitality industry.  We interviewed the Department Chair, Tannis Reinhertz, about the advantages of the program.

What makes the Culinary Arts and Hospitality program at CCSF special?

The Culinary Arts and Hospitality program at City College is unique in that we offer students both significant hands on experience and an Associate Degree in either Culinary Arts; Foodservice Management; or Hotel Management.  Our culinary arts students spend the first two semesters working in the kitchen 6 hours/day, five days per week, while management students spend their first semester in the kitchen, then the next three working in front-of-the-house restaurant operations. Students also operate four foodservice outlets: our main cafeteria which serves over 400 meals a day; The No Name Noodle Bar, serving Asian inspired grab-and-go meals; the Pierre Coste Dining Room, one of two white table cloth restaurants, and the Educated Palate, located on one of the busiest corners in downtown San Francisco, also serving lunch in a white table cloth setting.

The program also enjoys strong industry support in a number of areas such as providing externships for all our students in their final semester; an active industry advisory board and a strong network of past graduates always willing to support students from the department.

What kind of courses/programs do you offer?

We offer two courses of structured study:

Associate in Science Degree in General Studies, and an Award of Achievement from the CAHS Department in: Culinary Arts, Food Service Management, or Hotel Management.

Noncredit Certificate in either Baking and Pastry or Culinary and Service Skills.

We also offer a limited number of consumer classes in areas such as Food and Fitness, Food and Cultural and Special Occasion cooking.

Lastly, we offer a variety of industry classes such as Marketing, Hospitality Accounting, Wine Appreciation, Human Resources and Nutrition, some of which are open to the general public on a first come bases.

What are classes like?

All degree and certificate classes have an extensive hands-on lab-lecture component offered in our kitchens or restaurants.  These classes are small, generally 20 students or less. Every six weeks, students rotate through different “stations” such as baking and pastry, meat fabrication, breakfast, savory, etc.  In the degree program, semesters build upon each other, culminating with an industry externship.

Traditional lecture classes tend to be larger, 40 plus students and are taught by instructors who specialized in the subject matter.

Could you tell us about the teaching facilities?

Currently, we are located on two campuses; the Ocean Campus (known as the main campus) and the Downtown Campus. In 2012 we will also have a program at our Chinatown Campus.

The Ocean Campus houses our degree program which has four kitchens, three food outlets and numerous lecture classrooms. In addition, the Ocean Campus has the Alice Statler Library, one of the most extensive and largest culinary and hospitality libraries in the country.

The Downtown Campus houses the non-credit program which has two kitchens and one foodservice outlet, the Educated Palate.

The Chinatown Campus will have one large kitchen with multiple cooking stations, a café and banquet facilities, in addition to lecture classrooms. 

What is the admissions process like?

The admissions process is simple.  Prospective students need to do the following:

1. Complete 2 applications: the CCSF application; and the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Studies application
2. Attend the CAHS Department Orientation
3. Place into English 92 or higher on the CCSF English placement test, or complete ESL 140 or place into ESL 150 or higher on the CCSF ESL placement test.

What responses have you received from your students?

Our program was started in 1936 by two Cornell graduates.  Since that time we have trained thousands of students and it is rare to go into any restaurant or hotel in San Francisco and not find a graduate from our program. This has given our graduates a sense of history and connection.  As a result of that connection we have a strong advisory board and alumni network.

Lastly, our students consider the program a great value, (it is less than $4000.00 including tools, books, and other material) for two years and the non-credit program is free.

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

Education never tasted so good.

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