Cooking Classes in New York City with Program Overviews

Jan 18, 2019

New York City Schools with Cooking Classes

The New York City area has two community colleges and one 4-year school that offer formal programs in the culinary arts or hospitality management, and all three are easily accessible by public or private transportation. In addition to cooking courses, these programs provide aspiring food service supervisors with the training needed to obtain a food protection certificate (as required by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene). Find more details about the schools' programs below, as well as a comparison table with key statistical information and a paragraph about other colleges in the extended area that offer cooking classes.

  • The American Culinary Federation Accrediting Commission (ACFAC) has accredited the culinary arts program at Hudson County Community College, located a little less than five miles from downtown Manhattan in Jersey City, NJ. This is one of just a few schools in the area to have earned this distinction, and the school's conference center has been featured on Cake Boss.
  • At nearly 18 miles away, Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn is the furthest away from Manhattan's downtown. The school is part of the City University of New York (CUNY) and features a student-run catering firm.
  • The Hospitality Management Department at the New York City College of Technology is over 60 years old. This Brooklyn-based school is also part of CUNY and is located just a little over three miles from downtown Manhattan.

Comparison of Schools

Aspiring chefs can use the table below to find valuable information about acceptance, graduation and retention rates, financial aid and tuition. Although two of the colleges have open admission policies, first-time students at all three schools must take college placement tests.

Hudson County Community College CUNY Kingsborough Community College CUNY New York City College of Technology
School Type 2-year; public 2-year; public 4-year, primarily associate's; public
Total Enrollment (2017)* 8,864 15,034 17,279
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2017-2018)* $5,508 in-district; $9,558 in-state; $13,428 out-of-state $5,252 in-state; $8,132 out-of-state $6,920 in-state; $14,310 out-of-state
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017)* 81% 79% 82%
Acceptance Rate (2017)* N/A (open admission policy) N/A (open admission policy) 77%
Retention Rate (2016-2017)* 58% for full-time students; 42% for part-time students 70% for full-time students; 45% for part-time students 78% for full-time students; 60% for part-time students
Graduation Rate* 10% (for students who started in 2014) 28% (for students who started in 2014) 18% (for students who started in 2011)

Source: NCES College Navigator

Hudson County Community College

These accredited programs can help students acquire the training they need to pursue careers as restaurant chefs, managers, bakers or fast food cooks.

Culinary Arts Proficiency Certificate in Baking

This is one of three 12-credit proficiency certificates; each program requires two courses in food sanitation and storeroom operations. Through introductory courses in baking, students learn to prepare a variety of breads and desserts, including cakes, cookies and pies. In advanced courses, they learn to make chocolates and mousses, organize a dessert buffet and create pastillage (edible decorations).

Culinary Arts Proficiency Certificate in Cold Food

The cold food certificate program teaches students to prepare the kinds of foods that are typically served for brunch, buffets and lunch. In addition to pantry cooking, the curriculum includes two progressive courses in garde manger, and future professionals are provided with information about food shows and off-site catering. Students learn to prepare hors d'oeuvres, plan a salad bar and create more sophisticated items like sausages, sashimi and sushi.

Culinary Arts Proficiency Certificate in Hot Food

This is a mini version of the culinary arts certificate program that, along with the commercial cooking sequence, requires one course each in classical and global cuisine. Through the course in classical cooking, aspiring chefs learn to prepare entrees, soups and sauces and study the relationship between French and contemporary cuisine. Students also become acquainted with ingredients, tools and techniques used by international chefs and learn about regional dietary guidelines.

Culinary Arts Certificate

This is a 31-credit course of study that includes courses in breakfast and cold food preparation, baking, commercial cooking, food sanitation and nutrition. Students must also complete general education courses in English composition, computer technology and mathematics.

In the school's commercial cooking labs, students learn to use and maintain kitchen equipment and acquire the skills they need to prepare a variety of meats, soups and vegetables. Beginning in the first semester, aspiring chefs also participate in a 600-hour externship in an upscale restaurant or hotel.

Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts

The 2-year program incorporates the same courses found in the culinary arts certificate and proficiency programs, and students also participate in the 600-hour externship. This program requires a total of 68 credits to complete, and the curriculum emphasizes customer service and operational aspects of restaurant work. General education requirements cover topics in food culture, public speaking and technical writing. Along with learning about American and French cuisine, aspiring chefs have the chance to study wine making and learn about banquet and family-style dining.

Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts: Baking and Pastry Option

Students who pursue the 66-credit baking and pastry option must fulfill the same introductory, general education and externship requirements found in the general culinary arts program, and most of the classes take place in the institute's training labs. During the first year, aspiring pastry chefs receive an introduction to professional baking and learn to prepare pastries, tarts and multi-layered cakes. They also complete the professional baking courses found in the proficiency program. Additional training topics include preparation of retail and restaurant-style desserts, candies, petit fours and soufflés.

CUNY Kingsborough Community College

These programs are designed to provide students with the training they need to become Certified Culinarians (American Culinary Foundation) or Certified Food Handlers (New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene) and obtain their ServSafe and ManageFirst certifications from the National Restaurant Association.

Certificate in Culinary Arts and Food Management

In this program, students who hold degrees in other fields of study can obtain the professional training they need to work in the restaurant business. The 28-credit curriculum includes topics in baking, cooking technology, food safety and garde manger. To fulfill the elective requirements, students can learn to prepare charcuterie (meat products) or patisserie (Belgian and French baked goods). Aspiring professionals also have the opportunity to participate in a 3-credit internship.

Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts

In addition to courses in the liberal arts, this 60-credit program requires departmental electives in business, business law, accounting and marketing. The curriculum covers many of the same topics found in the certificate program, and students also learn to manage a dining room and plan a menu. Outside of the classroom, students can watch guest chefs at work and develop their own products in the department's food incubator. Internships take place at a number of area businesses, including Fette Sau, Le Cirque and Parilla.

CUNY New York City College of Technology

The Hospitality Management Department (School of Professional Studies) offers 2- and 4-year degree programs that include courses in baking and cooking.

Associate in Applied Science in Hospitality Management

This 60-credit program requires courses in general education, accounting, management and marketing. Students can also take two courses in culinary and pastry arts and pursue related topics in food and beverage management, cost control, restaurant operations and wine management. Through a summer exchange and international work program, students may be able to spend a summer in Paris or work in a restaurant in Western Europe. Co-curricular and community service activities include the American Culinary Federation's Big Apple Chapter, the Food and Wine Club and Spoons across America.

Bachelor of Technology in Hospitality Management

The Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration has approved the 4-year program in hospitality. The curriculum covers topics in finance, human resources and law. Students who continue their studies at this level have the opportunity to participate in an internship and pursue a 12-credit concentration in food and beverage management, hotel management, cooking, education or tourism. The specialization in culinary and pastry arts includes courses in contemporary and global cuisine, garde manger and improvisational cooking. Aspiring professionals also have the chance to create a recipe for artisan bread or work as a production chef in a simulated bakeshop.

Other School Options

In addition to the schools described above, there are three community colleges within 40 miles of New York City that offer culinary arts and food service programs. These include Nassau Community College and Rockland County Community College in New York and Bergen Community College in New Jersey. Attending any of these colleges requires less than an hour of travel time from the city's center.

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