Dallas Cooking Schools
While there may be at least five schools offering cooking classes or programs in the Dallas area, there are only three public schools near the city that offer such training. Read about the course topics and hands-on training experiences at those colleges. Look over a table of facts on each school to get additional info.
- El Centro College, located right in the downtown area, gives students the opportunity to earn a basic culinary skills certificate or culinary arts associate's degree. The curriculum in the degree program leaves some flexibility so students can choose courses that reflect their cooking interests.
- Collin College, part of the Collin County Community College District, has culinary arts certificate and associate's degree programs and gives students the option to attend day or evening classes. The campus is situated roughly 30 miles from central Dallas.
- Students at Tarrant County College can choose from two culinary arts certificates and one associate's degree program. Graduates are qualified to obtain industry certifications. The school's primary campus is about 32 miles from downtown Dallas while the Southeast campus, which houses the culinary arts programs, is 25 miles away.
Comparison of Schools
Since all of the profiled schools are local two-year colleges, their tuition rates are similar. There are differences among the colleges, however -- especially in areas like student enrollment and campus setting. Explore these and other stats in the table below.
|El Centro College||Collin College||Tarrant County College|
|School Type||Two-year; public||Two-year; public||Two-year; public|
|Total Enrollment (2014)||10,549*||27,991*||50,595*|
|Campus Setting||Large city||Midsize suburb||Large city|
|Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)||$1,770 in-district; $3,330 in-state; $5,220 out-of-state*||$1,174 in-district; $2,344 in-state; $4,144 out-of-state*||$1,320 in-district; $2,064 in-state; $4,920 out-of-state*|
|% of Full-Time Beginning Students Receiving Any Form of Financial Aid (2013-2014)||80%*||38%*||77%*|
|Acceptance Rate (2014)||N/A - open admissions*||N/A - open admissions*||N/A - open admissions*|
|Retention Rate (Fall 2013 to Fall 2014)||55% of full-time students*||66% of full-time students*||59% of full-time students*|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (students who started Fall 2011)||6%*||11%*||10%*|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.
El Centro College
El Centro College is one of several schools in the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD). However, El Centro College is the only college in the DCCCD to offer culinary arts training. The Food and Hospitality Institute at El Centro College offers programs in food and hospitality service, culinary arts and baking/pastry. In addition to the classroom and hands-on training offered, students get additional experience every Thursday by preparing four-course meals for the public.
Basic Culinary Skills Level I Certificate
This three-semester program requires students to complete at least 21 credit hours. The curriculum covers various topics from kitchen safety and sanitation to making specialty foods and garnishes with emphasis on design and presentation. Through classroom lectures and hands-on training, students learn to make sandwiches, dressings, soups, hors d'oeuvres, canapes, meats, seafood and poultry. The hospitality supervision course teaches students about leadership skill development, food service personnel training, work improvement and personnel regulations. As part of a cooperative education experience, students participate in supervised work experiences in their area of specialization during the last semester.
Culinary arts programs often require that students are able to stand for long periods of time and have the ability to lift up to 60 pounds. Students can use the credits they earn in this program towards the associate program if they wish to continue their studies.
Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts
The culinary arts program is designed to help a student enter the workforce or prepare for enrollment at a four-year university. It covers a variety of topics ranging from basic cooking skills to dining room service. The five-semester program starts with food preparation and then moves into more advanced cooking skills, such as baking and international cuisine. The catering course provides instruction about on-site and off-site catering. Students are able to choose which cooking skills they want to develop through elective options. The culinary arts program also covers business concepts, including business math and restaurant management, and even includes a field experience.
Collin College has seven campus locations and offers certificate and degree programs designed to prepare students for hands-on careers in the food service industry. Participants in the culinary arts programs must attend culinary arts orientation sessions and supply their own chef uniforms and kitchen tools.
Culinary Arts Certificate
The culinary arts certificate program takes two semesters to finish and requires students to complete 24-26 credit hours. Students learn about kitchen safety and sanitation, nutrition, menu planning and baking basics through lectures and lab classes. Regional and international cuisines are also topics of study. The capstone course has students create breakfast foods, canapés and hors d'oeuvres. Completing this program can help students prepare for ServSafe and Food Protection Management certification.
Advanced Culinary Arts Certificate
This 12 credit program is for those who have already completed a certificate or AAS in Culinary Arts. Over 2 semesters, students take a total of fours classes including sauces, meats, and healthy cuisine.
Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts
The associate degree program requires the completion of 71-72 credit hours. The curriculum combines classroom lectures with lab courses, allowing students to obtain practical experience working in the kitchen. The program begins with culinary basics such as food preparation and sanitation and continues with courses covering international cuisine, advanced food preparation and a la carte cooking. During the last semester, the student participates in supervised cooperative education to obtain real experience.
Tarrant County College
Tarrant County College (TCC) is a public school that offers more than 70 programs of study across six campuses and several learning centers. All of the following programs are only available at the school's Southeast Campus.
Culinary Arts I Certificate of Completion
The culinary arts I certificate can be completed in one semester and requires 15 semester hours. Students learn the basics of food preparation and kitchen safety. The fundamental baking course teaches students about working with flours and fillings and making breads, pies, tarts and doughnuts. They also learn about baking terminology, measurement conversion, equipment use, professional table service and inventory management.
Culinary Arts II Certificate of Completion
The culinary arts II certificate program consists of two semesters. The first semester has the same courses as the culinary arts I program. Students advance their studies in the second semester with an intermediate food preparation course. The garde manger course provides instruction on specialty foods, with a focus on design and presentation. Students also learn about international and regional cuisines found throughout the United States, and graduates can obtain certification through the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts
The culinary arts associate degree program prepares students for food preparation work or transfer to a four-year school. Graduates are prepared to be chefs and cooks but also have the training necessary for management and supervisory positions. In addition to cooking courses and labs, students must complete general education courses to earn the degree. During the final semester, the student must complete a capstone course, which requires a supervised workplace experience. Graduates can pursue ACF certification.