Fast Recipes Presents the PTC Arkansas Culinary School

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Fast Recipes Presents the PTC Arkansas Culinary School
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Student Angela HickmanThe Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School is a leader in culinary arts education in Arkansas.  With low tuition costs and hands-on training, the ACS offers both degree and certificate programs.

What sets the PTC Culinary School apart from other schools? 

The Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School (ACS) is the only culinary school of its type in Arkansas and nearby states. The ACS began as an American Culinary Federation-Central Arkansas Chapter Apprenticeship Program in the 1990s and merged with Pulaski Technical College (PTC) in the fall of 2006. The ACS became a department of PTC and began offering courses for the spring 2007 semester. Enrollment for that semester was approximately 60 students. Four years later, enrollment is more than 300 students.

The ACS recently completed a self-study seeking accreditation for its Associate of Applied Science degrees from the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and the Accrediting Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA) and now awaits approval from both accreditation commissions. Once accredited, PTC ACS will be the only college with ACF accreditation in the state and the only two-year college with ACPHA accreditation in Arkansas.

The ACS employs Chef Todd R. Gold, CEC, CCA, AAC, as its director of programs. Chef Gold was president of the Arkansas Culinary School, overseeing the apprenticeship program and negotiating the merger with PTC. Renee Smith, M.Ed., is the assistant director; Cynthia East (a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America) is lead instructor in culinary arts; Kenneth Lipsmeyer (master of wine from the London Wine and Spirits Education Trust—WSET) is the lead instructor in hospitality management and wine studies; and Antionette Robinson, administrative specialist.

Additionally, Chef Gold supervises the food service operations at Pulaski Tech’s two cafés:  the Big Rock Bistro on the main campus in North Little Rock and the Finish Line Café at the Little Rock-South site. Chef Will Hutchison, a former director of the apprenticeship program, is the general manager of food services and supervises the day-to-day operations. Chef Jason Knapp, CEC, an ACS apprenticeship graduate, is executive chef at the Big Rock Bistro and was formerly the personal chef for the Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe. Chef Brandon Douglas, an ACS apprenticeship graduate, is director of catering at the Big Rock Bistro. Ms. Terri Johnson, a graduate of the A.A.S. in culinary arts is sous chef at the Big Rock Bistro. The Finish Line Café on the Little Rock-South campus has Chef Brian Cochrane as its executive chef and Chef Jennifer Stoelting, CCC, an ACS apprenticeship and A.A.S. in culinary arts graduate as the sous chef. Most other Café employees are culinary students working on their degrees or working in the apprenticeship program.

The ACS employs approximately 25 part-time instructors in addition to its full-time teaching staff. The professional experiences of the faculty range from certified executive chefs, restaurant owners, general managers of hotels, bakers and professionals working in the hospitality and culinary industries. These instructors provide the 300-plus students studying culinary arts, baking and pastry, hospitality and wine studies with practical, hands-on learning opportunities.

The ACS is very closely associated with the Central Arkansas Chapter of the American Culinary Federation, giving students and instructors access to a vast pool of qualified, certified chefs and networking opportunities.

What programs do you offer?

A.A.S. in Culinary Arts
A.A.S. in Hospitality Management
Technical Certificate in Culinary Arts
Technical Certificate in Baking and Pastry
Technical Certificate in Wine and Spirits Studies
ACF-CAC Apprenticeship Program
Community education (short non-credit continuing/community education classes)


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